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Module 5 - Multicultural Poetry
Carmen's Children Poetry Corner

Cherish Me
by Joyce Carol Thomas
I sprang up from mother earth
     She clothed me in her own colors
I was nourished by father sun
     He glazed the pottery of my skin
I am beautiful by design
     The pattern of the night in my hair
     The pattern of music in my rhythm
As you would cherish a thing of beauty
     Cherish me.
from Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea   1993  HarperCollins

African American Poet
Introduction:  This is a great poem to use with movement.  It would work good as  a transitional piece for young children.
Jeannie Had a Giggle
Myers, Walter Dean.  (1993).  Brown Angels:  An Album of Pictures & Verse.  New York:  HarperCollins
ISBN 0060229179
Jeannie had a giggle just beneath her toes
She gave a little wiggle and up her leg it rose.
She tried to grab the giggle as it shimmied past her knees
But it slid right past her fingers with a "'scuse me if you please"
It slipped around her middle, it made her jump and shout
Jeannie wanted that giggle in, that giggle wanted out!
Jeannie closed her mouth, but then she heard a funny sound
As out that silly giggle flew and jumped down to the ground.
Jeannie caught it with her foot just beneath her toes
She gave a little wiggle and up her leg it rose.
Extension:  Have students create movements to accompany the poem.  Also, when reading the poem, replace Jeannie's name with your student's names.
Hispanic Poet
Introduction:  Great poem to be used in conjunction with Gandparents Day in September.  Discuss with the children things they do with grandparents.
Abuelita's Lap
More, Pat.  (1996)  Confetti:  Poems for Children.  New York:  Lee & Low Books, Inc.
ISBN  1880000253
I know a place where I can sit
and tell about my day,
tell every color that I saw
from green to cactus gray.
I know a place where I can sit
and hear a favorite beat,
her heart and cuentos from the past,
the rhythms honey-sweet.
I know a place where I can sit
and listen to a star,
listen to its silent song
gliding from afar.
I know a place where I can sit
and hear the wind go by,
hearing its spinning round my house,
my whirling lullaby.
Extension:  Create a class web of things children do with grandparents.  Have children write a short poem (maybe a haiku) about their grandparent to be published in a special card for Grandparent's Day.
Native American Poet
Introduction:  This poem will work well with a unit on the solar system.  Before reading, ask students why and how stars came to be.
The Scattered Stars
Bruchac, Joseph.  (1995)  The Earth Under Sky Bear's Feet:  Native American Poems of the Land.  New York:  Philomel Books. 
ISBN 039922713X
Why are the stars
scattered all through the sky?
Sky Bear says it happened long ago,
when the people came
from the underworld.
Our Mother, the Mother
of All the People,
gave one little girl named Ko-tci-man-yo
a bag made of white cotton
for her to carry.
Do not open this bag, Our Mother said.
But as they walked for many days,
Ko-tci-man-yo felt that bag grow heavy.
One night, when they stopped,
Ko-tci-man-yo climbed up to a hill
where no one could see her,
and then she untied the many knots
to take just one small look inside.
But when she loosened the last knot,
the bag popped open
and bright things began to escape
to the sky.
Ko-tci-man-yo quickly closed that bag,
but only a few of the stars remained
to be placed in the patterns in the sky.
All the others scattered.
Thjey are still that way
because of her curiosity.
Cochiti Pueblo   Southwest
Extension:  Of course have students create their own constellation using construction paper, glue and sequins.  They can also use black construction paper and chalk to create constellations.  Have students make stars out of foil and place them on the ceiling.  Then when  the poem is read again, turn off the lights and use a flashlight to highlight the stars.
Asian American Poet
Introduction:  Discuss various cultural foods.  Create a chart of the types of foods associated with certain cultural groups.
Wong, Janet.  (1994).  Good Luck Gold and Other Poems.  New York:  Simon & Schuster. 
ISBN 0689506171
Noodles for breakfast,
Noodles for lunch,
Noodles for dinner,
Noodles that crunch,
Noodles to twirl,
Noodles to slurp---
I could eat noodles
all day! BURP!
Extension:  Name and identify different types of noodles and their uses.  Cook a dish with noodles for snack.
International Poet:
Introduction:  This poem works well with a unit on animals or pets.  Although this poem is classified as international, I do not think any child would have a problem relating to it.
Lucky Me
by Valerie Bloom
Agardt, John & Grace Nichols, edited.  (1998).  A Caribbean Dozen:  Poems from Caribbean Poets  Cambridge:  Candlewick Press
ISBN 1564023397
Grass and carrots for the rabbit,
Seeds and grain for the turkey,
Some parboiled figs
Will do for the pigs,
But all the best foods for me.
One tiny hutch for the rabbit,
One little coop for the turkey,
I can't think why
Pigs love a sty,
But it's a nice big house for me.
They make stew out of the rabbit,
And Christmas dinner from a turkey,
Pigs are taken
For ham and bacon
But nobody dares eat me.
Extension:  Create a chart using the information from the poem.  Add new catergories.  Discuss things that children and they pet do that is the same.

Embrace Culture!