April is . . .
April is Autism Awareness Month
Last week new statistics were released from the CDC that indicates that 1 out of every 88 children are now being diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum (ASD). April is Autism Awareness Month. Please take some time to read previous posts here at TLT about Autism and think about ways you can better serve teens in your library on the spectrum.
April is National Poetry Month
April is also National Poetry Month. I love poetry. Don’t worry, I am not going to share any of my really bad personal poetry here with you (unless you ask nicely that is). But I do have an outline of some great poetry activities you can do with tweens and teens and some posters to highlight titles that were inspired by or written in poetry.
Since sharing that blog post somebody shared another poetry activity with me called Newspaper Black Out Poems by Austin Kleon. The premise is simple: newspaper + marker = poems. Take your discarded newspapers and have teens black out all the stuff they don’t want in their poem. What is left, the exposed words, become a poem. This was shared on the TLT FB wall and once again I am awed by what others now and how when librarians share we better serve our teens.
|You can download this file at http://www.box.com/s/493c1c30c7ccc21db28f|
|You can download this poster at http://www.box.com/s/ffbf8300742cacd8f968|
So let’s talk poetry for a moment, shall we? Ellen Hopkins writes gritty, compelling fiction in verse. In addition to writing novels in verse, which you should be reading, she also shares poetry on her website.
One of my favorite books that I felt didn’t get the love it deserved that also involved some poetry is Bruiser by Neal Shusterman. Bruiser is the story of a young man who literally takes the pain of others on to himself. Because of this, he must keep his distance, both physically and emotionally, from others. But what happens when he starts to fall in love? If you have not read Bruiser, I recommend that you go check it out. It is told in alternating voices and one of those voices uses poetry. It is also an interesting metaphor for addiction. And it addresses the topic of bullying. And it is just a really good book.
My favorite nonfiction work about poetry is Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. This title talks about the art and craft of poetry and gives lots of fun exercises to do personally, or in a program, to live in the world of poetry. I highly recommend it.
Okay, so I lied and I will share a poem with you in the spirit of What Have You Lost? This is a poem I wrote in high school – my Junior year – after my best friend Teri died in a car accident.
|My poetry journals|
The Music Fades
She taught me to listen to the music all around
The wind rushing through the trees
The waves crashing against the shore
The water bubbling over the rocks in a brook
The hum of tiny insects
The chatter of life passing through unclinched lips
But alas, the song that was her no longer plays
The tune that she was weaving into this tapestry of life
is being played out in another time and place
And yet her song continues through the lives of those
that she touched along the way
And like those before her,
the song will never be the same.
– Karen Jensen
So there you have it people, my cheesey teen angst poetry. Although I must say, I still miss Teri all the time. Please share in the comments what you are doing with teens in your library on the spectrum. Or how you are using poetry with your teens. You can even share your own poetry with me. Don’t worry. We’ll all be nice about it as our drawers are full of our own. 🙂
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
SLJ Blog Network