Last week I wrote about a book with very different types of acrostic poems, after which students can mentor themselves. Since National Poetry Month is rapidly approaching, I thought I’d stick with poetry for the next few Thursdays.
Ever since I learned about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, UT, I’ve been hooked on stories that deal with rescuing or caring for animals in need. Therefore, when I received a copy of Maya Gottfried and Robert Rahway Zakanitch’s new book OUR FARM: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary I was immediately captivated (Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2010). Gottfried brings the animals of Farm Sanctuary, which is located in Watkins Glen, NY, to life by writing poems in the animal’s voices. This is no easy task, but thanks to the time Gottfried spent volunteering at Farm Sanctuary, it’s clear she truly got to know the animals. She truly captured their spirit in the poetry that appears in this text, which is complete with Zakanitch’s gorgeous illustrations, done in watercolor, pencil, and ink, which make the animals completely life-like.
As a pet-less teacher, I have found that students love to write poems about their pets. Few children write poems as if they were their pets. Therefore, a book like OUR FARM: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary can inspire your students to craft poems as if they were their pet.
Random House has authorized me to share two of Gottfried’s poems from OUR FARM: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary in this forum. However, the book is worth purchasing for your classroom library. Here’s a little taste of what’s inside:
Follow My Lead!
by Diego, a duck
Are you ready?
Come along with me now.
Join my parade!
Everyone into the water.
Flap, flap go our feet.
Keep an eye on my tail feathers.
Follow my lead!
Right, next up the bank!
Let’s march, my friends.
by Ramsey, a sheep
Don’t make a move.
I haven’t decided whether you are to be trusted.
You don’t look like my other sheep friends.
I’ll have to think this over.
Nice and gentle. Not too pushy.
Yes, I think you pass inspection.
Just mind your manners, kiddo.
Now that we’ve come to an understanding,
I suppose you could rub my nose.
And if you happen to have a carrot,
I might even call you pal.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).