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The Sense of Wonder and Poetry

'Twosdays' is the hashtag that I use on social media on Tuesdays, when I share not just one, but two books that I may have paired for various reasons.

Today’s pair both complement one another beautifully and are both books that encourage a sense of wonder.

I started our library sessions for younger elementary this year, with DANIEL FINDS A POEM by Micha Archer.

The idea was to nudge my younger elementary children to see ‘poetry’ all around them.

When asked ‘what is poetry?’, most children responded that it is a story that rhymes.

A few expressed that it is a piece of writing that makes you feel…as the reader or that expresses feeling… as the writer/poet.

This book is a wonderful introduction to poetic language, though a bit abstract to begin with…I requested the children to stay with me as I read this seemingly disconnected storyline and was rewarded by round mouthed ‘oohs’ and the sweetest, most sublime smiles as they saw it all come together in a ‘poem’ in the end. Something that made them feel ‘very happy’ they said.

Following the read-aloud, I led them through a little exercise. As we closed our eyes, I guided them to trace their journeys to and from school, in their minds…and to think about all that they experienced through their senses.

Children need a little encouragement to keep their eyes shut and to guide their minds through my prompts.

There was a beautiful sharing about all that they thought was ‘poetry’ to them.

Fluffy clouds, the sun shining on their face, the sky playing peek-a-boo through the leaves, the shining glass facade of the World Trade Centre, the names of the cars on the road, the ever changing traffic lights, droplets of rain on the windscreen, the rustling of the trees, the bird song, …and many more.

Their enjoyment of this exercise, was the perfect springboard as we dove into WONDER WALKERS also by Micha Archer, the next week.

Filled with stunning collage illustrations and sparse text, yet powerful enough to guide the children on a profound journey of wondering. Rich in figurative language, it begins with a simple look between the two characters and the simple question, “Wonder walk?”

I love that the children do not have to go far to wonder about the world.

“Is the sun the world’s light bulb?”

“Are roots the plant’s toes?”

“Do caves have mouths?”

“Are rivers the earth’s veins?

And many more metaphors and analogies that are brought to life with the outstanding illustrations.

Wonder Walkers invites children to explore their world, wonder about it and play with language as they express all they wonder about through art and words.

Some things the children wondered about...

Are trees leaves their fingers?

I wonder if flowers and the grass are the worlds hair?

Are the flowers the world's makeup?

Are flowers the world's perfume?

Are rainbows the world's headband? Smile? Decoration? Vomit? (Yes, vomit!!! )

Is the eclipse the sunglasses of the world?

Are mountains the earths eyelashes? (I loved this one!!)

Does thunder come when God is angry?

And many, many more delightful 'wonders'.

Both books are a celebration of nature and urge children, even city children to pause, breathe and absorb all they see, hear and feel around them.

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