I've got quite a busy week ahead, full of all kinds of wonderment, so I thought I would leave you with a pair of books! And if you haven't already signed up, there are just a few spots left for this year's Progressive Poem! Sign up here. Now, the books:
MEET MY FAMILY! Animal Babies and Their Families by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman (Millbrook/Lerner)
A PLACE TO START A FAMILY: Poems About Creatures that Build by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Giles Laroche (Charlesbridge)
I love MEET MY FAMILY! for the way it includes a ton of nonfiction info -- and yet ultimately is about celebrating ALL families, whatever they look like. A variety of animal babies tell us something about their families, like "My parents both take care of me" (tundra swan cygnets) and "I've never met my dad" (raccoon kits). Even adopted kids are represented, which pleases me, as the big sister of three adopted siblings.
This book is a great example of "layers" -- rhyming text! additional nonfiction prose! animal baby names! global! words in different languages! inclusivity/acceptance! If you are looking to write nonfiction picture books, this is a great mentor. Plus it's just plain adorable and will leave you smarter -- and happier about the world.
A PLACE TO START A FAMILY contains poems about animal architects and is divided into sections: Builders Underground, On Land, In Water, In Air -- plus a bonus poem about "A Different Kind of Builder" (Sun Coral).
THE WHEEL ON THE SCHOOL by Meindert DeJong, which features storks building their nest (on the wheel on the school). This fascinated me -- still does. And now here is David Harrison's poem:
When high on chimney top you nest,
legend tells us those who dwell
within the house are surely blessed.
How old your nest no one can tell,
you keep it in such good repair.
Your ancestors placed it well.
With sturdy sticks they built it there,
where now you cast your lucky spell
and raise your baby storks with care.
- David L. Harrison
Back matter includes additional info about each animal builder and "Learn More!" links.
Here's the text related to the above poem:
"White Stork (Ciconia ciconia)
Folklore says that storks bring good luck and deliver babies, but the only babies they deal with hatch from the eggs they lay in enormous nests on rooftops, church spires, and other high places. Some nests are used for many generations of storks and can be seven feel across and ten feet deep. Both parents take care of the chicks until they leave the nest, which happens when they are about two months old. Juveniles aren't very colorful, but adults are nearly four feet all, with brown eyes, a red bill and legs, a white body, black wing tips and wings that stretch up to seven feet from tip to top."
I hope you'll give these a read!