Poetry for Young Ones
Hi everyone! My name is Caitlin, and I’m interning at the Roselle Library this summer. For these past couple of weeks I’ve been working in Youth Services. The other day, I was getting some experience with weeding, which is the where I look at books that the library owns to see if they are old, in need of repair, are still meeting the needs of the community, etc. Then I decide if the books should be removed from the collection or not. I was going through the very beginning of the 800s (part of the non-fiction portion of the library), which contains lots of collections of stories and poetry. And as I was paging through some of these books, it really hit me.
Poetry is underrated.
It gets a bad rap a lot of the time for being confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. Poetry can be simple and lovely and just right. These books had collected poems from all over, often about a certain topic or theme; for example, poems and excerpts all about sleep, nighttime, and dreams. It wasn’t confusing or traumatic poetry. It was just poetry. It occurred to me that if more kids were exposed to poetry in a comfortable setting at a younger age, it wouldn’t be so terrible later on. Poetry could be something that could be remembered happily, because kids would have positive memories of it to draw upon later when they were being presented with poetry in a not-so-comforting way. Contemporary poet Billy Collins talks about poetry this way in his book entitled Sailing Alone Around the Room:
Introduction to Poetry
I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide
or press an ear against its hive.
I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem's room
and feel the walls for a light switch.
I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author's name on the shore.
But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.
They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.
While you may encounter people who “beat [poetry] with a hose/to find out what it really means”, that doesn’t mean poetry is ruined for everyone. Poetry can be discovered and enjoyed, the way Billy Collins describes.
Bottom line? Go check out some poetry. Even if it’s seemed scary to you before, give it another shot. If you’ve never tried out poetry, you’re in luck! Your very own public library happens to have some great books in their collection just for you. Experience the poetry. Its rhythm and rhyme are things you can carry with you in your mind long after you’ve returned the book they came from.
Some books to try:
Rainbow Soup: Adventures in Poetry
-by Brian P. Cleary
J 808.1 CLE
The Goodnight Book For Moms and Little Ones
- edited by Alice Wong and Lena Tabori
J 808.803 GOO
Wiggle Waggle Fun: Stories and Rhymes For the Very, Very Young
-collected by Margaret Mayo
J 808.8 WIG
Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals
Eric Carle’s Dragons, Dragons and Other Creatures That Never Were
-collected by Eric Carle
J 808.81 CAR
Sea Dream: Poems From Under the Waves
-collected by Nikki Siegen-Smith
J 808.81 SEA
Or, just type "Poetry" into our catalog and see what you can find!