Thursday, April 21, 2011

Poetry in the Classroom - On Your Feet

I am not a shoe fanatic by any stretch of the imagination (I wear the same few pairs over and over and repair them so I can keep them!), but as a poetry lover it appears that I have a fondness for shoes.
Shoe Bop!, written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Hiroe Nakata, is a story told in a collection of 29 poems connected by prose pieces. Here's how it begins.
Purple Sneakers

You purple sneakers, eight months old,
I've loved with all my heart.
We walked, we danced, we ran for miles.
Too bad you fell apart.

Now Mama says, "Aww, don't feel sad.
I've got exciting news.
We'll take the bus, we'll head downtown,
and you can choose new shoes!"

Poem ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.
And shop they do, but how is a girl to choose? There are high heels, moccasins, galoshes, sneakers, light-up shoes, noisy shoes and oh so many other styles. Different shoes are tried on and the features of each are considered. It's the examination of these styles that Singer serves up in a variety of poetic forms.
High Heels

I like how it feels
to wear high heels,
platforms or wedges.
I can peek over hedges.
I can reach a tall shelf.
I am so proud of myself.
Mama says, "No,
wait till you grow."
But isn't it true
that's what heels
make you do?

Poem ©Marilyn Singer. All rights reserved.
So what does she choose? You can't possibly believe I'd tell you now, can you? You'll have to read this one for yourself!
Shoe Magic, written by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Terry Widener, is a collection of 16 poems that uses shoes as a means to explore the lives of children and their hopes and dreams. Just imagine what putting on a special pair of shoes can do! The nice thing about this collection is that these just aren't any old shoes. You'll find flippers, tap shoes, cleats, skates, sandals, golf shoes, work boots, and more. Here are the opening and closing poems.
The Shoe Rack

The shoe rack
Is stacked
With promise,

With dreams
To wake.

What you do,
Where you go,
Who you grow

Up to be
Depends on
The steps you take.


Rest your soles.
Spread your toes.
Curl, breath deep.
There now, Dreamer,
Hush. . . .

Poems ©Nikki Grimes. All rights reserved.
Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes, written by Alice Schertle and illustrated by Petra Mathers, is a collection of poems about clothing, but there are poems in here about shoes! You'll find "The Song of Harvey's Galoshes" and "Jennifer's Shoes." I am, however, partial to this shoe-related poem.
Bertie's Shoelaces

Good old Bertie,
he lets us hang around.
It doesn't bother Bertie
when we drag along the ground.
We're not up tight
as our Bertie Buddy knows.
We're hang loose laces and
we don't do bows!

Poem ©Alice Schertle. All rights reserved.
Now that you've read a bit of shoe poetry for children, check out the article at entitled Favorite Fit: A Shoe Expert Tries on Poetry. In it you'll find some adult shoe poetry by the likes of Amy Lowell and Charles Simic.


  1. Oh, those are adorable!
    I'm ready for sandal poetry, myself.

  2. "Your Shoes My Shoes" by Barbara Bloom is a book I just published. Its a children's book full of Rhymes all about shoes. You should check it out. Its free for one more hour on amazon kindle. Hard book copies are also available at 6.99 on Amazon :)