Since Hanna Moved Away

The poetry of Judith Viorst


Judith Viorst (born February 2, 1931) is an American writer. She has written books for both adults and children. She is best known for her children’s literature, such as The Tenth Good Thing About Barney (about the death of a pet) and the Alexander series of short picture books, which includes the much loved Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (1972). It was made into a movie and has sold over 2 millions copies.

Her books of poetry include:

  •  If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents, illustrated by Lynne Cherry (1981)
  • Sad Underwear and Other Complications: More Poems for Children and Their Parents, illustrated by Richard Hull (1995)
  • What are you Glad About? What are you Mad About?, illustrated by Lee White (2016)

Her children’s poems focus on a wide range of emotions and reactions to the ups and downs of childhood. Some poems are humorous and quirky, others tug at your heart.  I selected a few poems that I think TCKs can relate to – the loss of a best friend (Since Hanna Moved Away), wanting to be remembered in a positive light when you move away (Remember Me) and a very moving poem about that special place called home. I love the line “Home’s the healing place when things unravel“.




The tires on my bike are flat,
The sky is grouchy gray,
At least it sure feels like that
Since Hanna moved away.

Chocolate ice cream tastes like prunes,
December’s come to stay,
They’ve taken back the Mays and Junes
Since Hanna moved away.

Flowers smell like halibut,
Velvet feels like hay,
Every handsome dog’s a mutt
Since Hanna moved away.

Nothing’s fun to laugh about,
Nothing’s fun to play,
They call me, but I won’t come out
Since Hanna moved away.

Poem by Judith Viorst (taken from If I were in Charge of the World)


Remember Me

What will they say

When I’ve gone away:

He was handsome? He was fun?

He shared his gum? He wasn’t

Too dumb or too smart?

Played a good game of volley ball?

Or will they only say

He stepped in the dog doo

At Jimmy Altman’s party?
Poem By Judith Viorst (taken from If I were In Charge of the World)


And We Call it Home

Home is where the you that’s truly you lives.
It’s where the music of your heart is played.
Home is where you go and what you know gives
You shelter when you’re lonely or afraid.
And when the skies turn dark and bad times chase you,
And all the gates are locked and shades are drawn,
There’s a place where someone will embrace you,
And keep you safe until a kinder dawn,
And we call it home.

Home is where your dreams have their beginning.
Home is where love’s language is first learned.
It’s where you needn’t worry about winning.
It’s where what you receive need not be earned.
And when in anger hurtful words are spoken,
And when you trip and fall into disgrace,
This is where there’s help to mend what’s broken.
This is what remains your sacred place.
And we call it home.

Home’s the hearth from which you’re free to travel
Farther than the farthest winds have blown.
Home’s the healing place when things unravel,
Where supper’s waiting and your name is known,
And when you want to tell your tales of glory,
And speak of what you’ve done and where you’ve been,
This is where they’ll listen to your story.
This is where they’ll always take you in.
And we call it home.
And we call it home.
And we call it home.


Poem by Judith Viorst (taken from What Are you Glad About? What are you Mad About?)


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