Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Poetry in the Classroom - Food, Glorious Food!

I've got food on the brain today, so food poetry it is!
Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!: America's Sproutings, written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael López, is a book that combines factual information about edible plants native to the Americas with crisp, sense-filled poems all in the form of haiku. (HAIKU! This title should have made my Just Haiku post!) Kids reading this book will be hungry to try out some of the foods so deliciously described. Here is one of the poems and informational text that accompanies it.
Marsh-floating hard bead
simmers then POPS! in hot pot.
Scarlet fireworks.

Cranberries are tart fall fruits. They may be native to Wisconsin, where about half of the United States crop grows on woody, trailing vines in sandy marshes or bogs. The berries were used by Native Americans for food, dyes, and medicines. Some say they were called cranberries because cranes liked to slosh through the bogs looking for a bright red snack. Others say they were called cranberries because their pink spring flowers look like a crane's head. These fruits were also called bearberries and bounceberries. Can you guess why?

Poem and text ©Pat Mora. All rights reserved.
Though neither are in print today, I cannot fail to include these titles in this post.
Let's start with the "introduction" to Chocolate Dreams (1988), written by Arnold Adoff and illustrated by Turi MacCombie.
Dear Reader:

We will be watching very lovingly to make sure that no on licks any of these pages, bites the binding, or chews the covers of this chocolate book.

Once you have finished some sweet pieces, get up and go to some room or store. Visit very full refrigerators. Get something c h o c o l a t e to stuff in your mouth. Then come back to this book and read some more. The best way to read this writing is by biting and chewing in unison (all together now) with these delicious words.

Please do not drip any chocolate juice from your mouth onto these pages. Please do not lick these pages, bite the binding, or chew the covers of this chocolate book. Just laugh and look and be hungry always for that chocolate love so sweet and pure.

Now taste these happy chocolate dreams.
Is there anyone who can resist an entire book of poems about chocolate?! I don't think so. Here's one of the poems from the book.
Her She Bar



Poem ©Arnold Adoff. All rights reserved.
Eats: Poems (1979), written by Arnold Adoff and illustrated by Susan Russo, is a collection of poems that beautifully describe and celebrate growing, tending, cooking, and, of course, eating food. While the book has many wonderful poems, here is one I particularly like.
The Apple

            is on the top
      of the tree
      or apple is
      the top branch
            of the tree

and i am
      me on the ground

Poem ©Arnold Adoff. All rights reserved.
Lettuce Introduce You: Poems About Food, written by Laura Purdie Salas, is a collection of 15 food-themed poems. Each one is accompanied by a gorgeous photograph. Here is one of my favorite poems from the book.
Summer Rain

I bite into sweet
summer—it drips down my chin
            Watermelon days

Poem ©Laura Purdie Salas. All rights reserved.
This book not only includes poems, but also an informational section on the language of poetry that includes definitions of poetic forms and devices. These descriptions are connected to examples in the book. After this you will find a glossary of words from the poems that early readers may not know, and a list of related books and Internet sites.

Finally, I want to share two books that were written as cooking poems. The first is Sopa de frijoles/Bean Soup: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem, written by Jorge Argueta and illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. This book is a recipe written in free verse for "una sabrosa sopita de frijoles," or "yummy bean soup." Here is an excerpt.
Now, at last,
Everything is ready.
Heat the tortillas,
Take out the deep bowls
And the spoons.
Decorate the table
With flowers and smiles
Call your mother and your father
Your brothers and your sister
And eat up
The loving, lovely
Bean soup
Ahora si
Ya todo está listo
Calienta las tortillas
Saca los platos hondos
Y las cucharas
Adorna to mesa
Con flores y sonrisas
Llama a tu mamá y papá
A tus hermanos y hermana
Y a comer se ha dicho
Sopa de amor
de frijolitos
©Jorge Argueta. All rights reserved.

The second book is Arroz con leche/Rice Pudding: Un poema para cocinar/A Cooking Poem, written by Jorge Argueta and illustrated by Fernando Vilela.

Here are some resources for thinking about the importance of food in our lives.
  • The PBS series The Meaning of Food explores culture through food, from what we eat to how we acquire and prepare it, as well as the rituals that come with eating.
  • The Meaning of Food Classroom has a lesson plan in which students learn about different cultures and groups through food.
  • The Science of Cooking site as all kinds of interesting facts, activities, cultural information, and recipes related to foods like eggs, bread, candy, and more.
There you have it, a few of my favorite books of food-related poetry. Drat! Now I'm hungry! If only I had some chocolate handy ...

1 comment:

  1. That Pat Mora books looks great! I would it it to build kids' background knowledge about different foods. I often suprised at what foods my students do/don't know! I really like the information she included about the food after the poem. Thanks for these great finds.