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?)


My Song Is Beautiful

My Song is Beautiful – Poems & Pictures in Many Voices by Mary Ann Hoberman The collection of poems was published in 1994 and includes 14 poems by famous children’s authors.

Mary Ann Hoberman is an acclaimed author of over 40 children’s books. She has written both pictures books and poetry. In 2003, Hoberman was named the second US Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation and she served in that role from 2008 to 2011. In 2003, she also received the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. The Llama Who Has No Pajama is a collection of over one hundred of her poems. Other well-known and loved books by Hoberman include:

  •  The Seven Silly Eaters
  •  You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You series
  •  A House is a House for Me

Four things I love about this collection of poems:

  1.  multicultural and diverse perspective
  2.  Illustrations by a different illustrator with illustrations that highlight the culture of the poem and author
  3.  poems are easy to read and accessible to children ages 5 and up
  4.  Focus on self-esteem, self-acceptance and self-expression

“This outstanding multicultural anthology will introduce young readers to a generous range of artistic and literary styles.” Publishers Weekly

These fourteen poems by distinguish authors celebrate that which is special in all of us.” School Library Journal

Art work by elementary school students in Brooklyn, NY

You and I
Only one I in the whole wide world
And millions and millions of you,
But every you is an I to itself
And I am a you to you, too!

But if I am a you and you are an I
And the opposite also is true,
It makes us both the same somehow
Yet splits us each in two.

It’s more and more mysterious,
The more I think it through:
Every you everywhere in the world is an I;
Every I in the world is a you!

Poem by Mary Ann Hoberman

artwork by David Diaz

daddy says the world is

a drum tight and hard

and I told him

i’m gonna beat

out my own rhythm
– Nikki Giovanni (1943)


Nikki Giovanni is one of the best-known African-American poets. Her poetry expresses strong racial pride and respect for family. In addition to her vast collection of poetry and books for children, she is the winner of the 2005 Caldecott Medal for Rosa.


Yoriko Ito




In a hermit’s cottage, silent, still,

I sit all alone with nobody.

A white cloud dozes

To the strains of a quiet song.


No one can know

How happy I am!

– Kim Soo-Jang –  Translated by Virginia Olsen Baron

This poem is a Sijo poem, one of the earliest and most popular forms of Korean verse.

Psalms for Young Children


Psalms for Young Children
 by Hélene Delval  illustrated by Arno
As we explore poetry with children, what better place to begin then to turn to the Psalms, the poetry of the Bible. This amazing book, Psalms for Young Children makes the Psalms accessible to young children (for ages 4 to 8). As I read through it, I wish my children were young again and I could read this book with them at bedtime.

Each Psalm is beautifully illustrated, the art work so original and vivid, depicting the world and emotions through a child’s eyes.  The children and the scenes in the illustrations depict diverse cultures and landscapes, from deserts to stormy seas.  This little book, originally published in French as Les Psaumes pour les tout-petits, is now available by Eerdmans for Young Readers.

The author does not shy away from Psalms that speak of fear or sadness, confusion or uncertainty, but also highlights Psalms of thankfulness, reassurance of God’s presence and love and the praise to God for the beauty of nature.

Each “poem” of David is paraphrased in one or two sentences, written in bold letters, in simplified language so even a young child can understand, and an early reader can read the words on his/her own.
I think this book should be in every TCKs home library.  With 40 Psalms, this book is a great little devotional and bedtime book.  Psalms for Young Children might inspire your young writer or artist to write and illustrate their own prayers for God.

Expressing our feelings, however raw or fearful or confused they may be, up to God in prayer, knowing He is there and yearns for us to come to Him in whatever state we are in, is a great gift from God to us as His children – a gift we need to encourage our own children to cherish all the days of their lives. I think this book, Psalms for Young Children, is a perfect little book to encourage this practice.

Here are a few selections:

Let’s shout out loud

with joy to God!

Because God is a really big God.

He can hold the world

in his hands,

the deep caves,

the mountaintops,

the blue seas –

and you and me too!

Psalm 95

If the grounds starts to shake,

if the mountains break into pieces

and fall in the sea,

if the waves grow big as giants,

I’m not scared.

God is with me.

God provides a safe place

for me to hide.

Psalm 46

God is like a rock,

strong and powerful.

God is like a warm, dry place

during a storm.

He protects me from

things that might hurt me.

When I ask for God’s help,

I feel safe.

Psalm 18

Everyone, everywhere,

in every country in the world,

sing a song to God!

Let’s praise God together,

for his great love and strength

will last forever.

Psalm 117

When I trust in God,

it’s like being wrapped

in a warm blanket,

With God on my side,

I am not scared of anything –

not during the day,

not during the night.

Psalm 91

Marie-Helene Delval has also written several other books, including Animals of the Bible for Young Children (2010) and Images of God for Young Children (2010) and The Bible for Young Children.  I currently have several copies of The Psalms for Young Children available for families living overseas.

Be Glad Your Nose Is On Your Face

The poetry of Jack Prelusky
If you are looking for poetry your child will actually enjoy, even laugh out loud at, even ask for more, Jack Prelusky is your answer. Jack Prelusky’s poems are humorous, playful, witty, quirky, full twists and turns and surprise endings. Jack has a vivid childlike imagination and can turn anything into a fun poem. Prelusky is also great at capturing the emotions of a child. Prelutsky has written more than 50 poetry collections. His most popular collections include:

  • Something BIG has been there
  • The New Kid on the Block
  • A Pizza the Size of the Sun
  • It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles

These four collections of poems are beautifully illustrated by James Stevenson, with pen and ink drawings, in perfect pitch with Prelusky’s playfulness and humor.
Jack was born in 1940 and grew up in New York City. He now lives in Seattle, with his wife Carolyn and assorted pets.

Did Prelusky enjoy poetry as a child?

He says no. In grade school, he had a teacher who left me with the impression that poetry was the literary equivalent of liver. She would read what he considered the most boring poems in the most boring tone, and the whole class would wilt.

How did he become a poet?

Jack says he always enjoyed playing with language, but discovered writing as a career only by accident when he was a young adult. He tried his hand at drawing and spent months drawing several imaginary animals. A friend encouraged him to show the drawings to an editor. He decided at the last minute to add some poems to go along with the drawings. When the editor — Susan Hirschman — called him it was not the drawings she raved about, but the poetry. She thought he had a rare talent for writing verse. She published his first book and remained his editor for more than 30 years. In 2006, the Poetry Foundation designated Jack as the nations first Children’s Poet Laureate.

Here are three poems from various poetry collections. The first Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face captures the vivid imagination of a child, the second I Don’t Want To captures those days when nothing seems to excite you, and the third one We Moved About a Week Ago is a light-hearted poem about moving away and missing your friends – a great TCK poem.
Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face
Be glad your nose is on your face,

not pasted on some other place,

for if it were where it is not,

you might dislike your nose a lot.


Imagine if your precious nose

were sandwiched in between your toes,

that clearly would not be a treat,

for you’d be forced to smell your feet.


Your nose would be a source of dread

were it attached atop your head,

it soon would drive you to despair,

forever tickled by your hair.


Within your ear, your nose would be

an absolute catastrophe,

for when you were obliged to sneeze,

your brain would rattle from the breeze.

Your nose, instead, through thick and thin,

remains between your eyes and chin,

not pasted on some other place–

be glad your nose is on your face!

-Jack Prelusky from The New Kid on the Block


I Don’t Want To

I don’t want to play on the sidewalk.

I don’t want to sit on the stoop.

I don’t want to lick any ice cream.

I don’t want to slurp any soup.

I don’t want to listen to music.

I don’t want to look at cartoons.

I don’t want to read any stories.

I don’t want to blow up balloons.



I don’t want to dig in the garden.

I don’t want to roll on the rug.

I don’t want to wrestle the puppy.

I don’t want to give you a hug.

I don’t want to shoot any baskets.

I don’t want to bang on my drum.

I don’t want to line up my soldiers.

I don’t want to whistle or hum.

I don’t want to program my robot.

I don’t want to strum my guitar.

I don’t want to use my computer.

I don’t want to wind up my car.

I don’t want to color with crayons.

I don’t want to model with clay.

I don’t want to stop my not wanting…

I’m having that kind of day.

-Jack Prelusky from It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles



We Moved About a Week Ago

We moved about a week ago,

It’s nice here, I suppose,

The trouble is, I miss my friends,

Like Beth, who bopped my nose,

And Jess, who liked to wrestle

And dump me in the dirt,

And Liz, who found a garter snake
And put it down my shirt.

I miss my friend Fernando,

He sometimes pulled my hair,

I miss my sister Sarah,

She shaved my teddy bear,

I miss the Trumble Triplets

Who dyed my sneakers blue,
And Gus, who broke my glider,
I guess I miss him too.

I really miss Melissa

Who chased me up a tree,

I even miss “Gorilla” Brown

Who used to sit on me,

The more I think about them,

The more it makes me sad,

I hope I make some friends here

As great as those I had.
—Jack Prelutsky from Something Big Has Been Here


This book (A Pizza the Size of the Sun) should be required reading for those out there who claim they don’t like poetry.” – School Library Journal.


Note: I have several copies of Prelusky’s poetry collection at Kids Books Without Borders. If you are a family living overseas, order while supplies last.

May Flowers

April Showers Brings May Flowers – poetry Monday

Lena Anderson is a Swedish author and an illustrator of children’s and young adult books. Some of her most popular books translated from Swedish include Hedge Hog, Pig, and the Sweet Little Friend, Hedgehog’s Secret, Linnea in Monet’s Garden, Tick-Tock, Tea for Ten, Stina series and Bunny series. Her books of poetry include Anna’s Garden Songs and Anna’s Summer Songs. These two books of poetry are beautifully illustrated by Mary Q. Steele.

In Anna’s Summer Songs, the 14 poems celebrate trees, flowers, ferns and fruit. Anna, a blond, energetic and adventurous little girl with glasses frolics in the beauty of nature.

As the saying goes “April showers brings May flowers“. Here in Central Indiana, the flowers are bursting to life all around me – as I go out on my daily walk, the trees and the flowers are there to greet me – a reminder that God is one who delights in beautyI I hope that flowers are blooming wherever you may be.

Here are some flower poems for you and your children to enjoy. Lena Anderson’s book Anna’s Garden Songs is available to order if you love the poems below.


Now I’m dreaming

Iris dreams.

Green and yellow,

White and blue.

And while I’m dreaming

Iris dreams

Do iris dream

Of me and you?



Have magic powers,

They make my rabbit

Dance for hours

On starlit nights.

He leaps and whirls

And jigs and jogs

And jumps and twirls.

He kick his ears.

I wish I heard

The tune he hears

For though I dance

With all my might

I never get

The steps quite right …

he says.


A bright red poppy

Can make me feel happy

And hoppy.

Hop, hip, happy!

Hap, hip, hoppy!



I picked these cornflowers by the road.

Their petals are so blue.

They match the color of my eyes.

They match my ribbon too.

So many summer things are blue,

The sunny seas and skies

And cornflowers growing by the road…

And they all match my eyes!


How Lavender loves heat and sun!

Its flowers are sweet to smell.

We dried the blooms and put them in

These little sacks to sell,

So people can on snowy nights

Remember summer’s smells and sights.

I’m nobody!  Who are you?

Poetry Monday – Three poems by Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830, in Amherst, Massachusetts. When Emily was a little girl, everyone in Amherst knew the Dickinsons. Her grandfather helped found Amherst College. Her father was a lawyer and he was the treasurer of the college. Emily’s mother, also called Emily, was a great cook and loved to entertain. Emily had an older brother, Austin and a younger sister, Lavinia.

Emily was very shy, and did not enjoy social gatherings. After one year of college, she returned home and lived there until her death. She loved reading, gardening, going for walks, playing piano, her family and nature.

She started writing poetry when she was in her teens. Although only six of her poems were published while she was alive, after her death they discovered many little books of poetry, each sewn together by hand. In all, Emily Dickinson had written more than 1,700 poems!

One of her most famous poems is entitled I’m nobody! Who are you?  It addresses the universal feeling of being an outsider.

I’m nobody! Who are you?

I’m nobody! Who are you?

Are you nobody, too?

Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!

They’d banish us, you know.


How dreary to be somebody!

How public, like a frog

To tell your name the livelong day

To an admiring bog!

Emily loved reading. She was rarely seen without a book in her hands. In this poem, she talks about the joys of reading:

 There is no Frigate Like a Book

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away,

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –


This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears a Human soul!

Emily also enjoyed the beauty of nature. She loved to write about birds, flowers, trees, the sea, and all the things she saw in her garden and on her daily walks. Here is an amusing poem about insects:

Bee, I’m Expecting you

Bee! I’m expecting you!

Was saying Yesterday

To Somebody you know

That you were due—


The Frogs got Home last Week—

Are settled, and at work—

Birds, mostly back—

The Clover warm and thick—


You’ll get my Letter by

The seventeenth; Reply

Or better, be with me—

Yours, Fly.


If you’ve enjoyed these poems by Emily Dickinson, I’d encourage you to get a copy of Poetry for Young People – Emily Dickinson edited by Frances Schoonmaer Bolin. Poetry for Young People is a great series for kids that highlights different poets, with information about their life and work and with selections of their poetry interspersed with colorful illustrations.

Poems about rain

Here is Southern Indiana, Spring is in full bloom. It is so exhilarating to see nature burst into life again. Along with arrays of color and greenery comes rainy days. They go hand in hand – without the rain we wouldn’t have the beauty of new life. However, I remember when my children were small. They itched to be out of doors and would awaken to rain – we would recite to them the old rhyme – “rain, rain go away, come again another day, little Johnny wants to play” to cheer them up.
O course, rain means different things in other parts of the world. In England and France where I grew up, it was a staple, a part of every day life and you never went out without an umbrella. As in the poem, Duck Weather by Shirley Hughes rain in Europe is mostly something adults grumble about. For the small child, it means a bright raincoat, shiny rain boots (or wellies, as they are called there) and puddles to splash in. What fun! For many of us, the sound of rain trickling down the gutters and the pitter patter in the roof at night, is soothing and relaxing like a lullaby as Langston Hughes describes it in April Rain Song.
In some parts of the world, there are rainy seasons and in others, rain is a rare and precious gift that the dusty dry, cracked earth gobbles up greedily, bringing much relief from the heat. I think Rain Music by Joseph Cotter and it’s drum like cadence is a good example of how rain can be music to our ears and we rejoice in it and praise God for it.

Finally, you can’t have a post about rain without including Robert Louis Stevenson’s Rain for it’s simplicity and depth. It comes down on my little umbrella, but also is expensive and reaches out over vast ocean. This is a great little poem to have a child learn by heart.

Duck Weather

Splishing, splashing in the rain,

Up the street and back again,

Stomping, stamping through the flood,

We don’t mind a bit of mud.

Running pavements, gutters flowing,

All the cars with wipers going,

We don’t care about the weather,

Tramping hand in hand together.

We don’t mind a damp wet day,

Sloshing puddles all the way,

Splishing, splashing in the rain,

Up the street and back again.

Poem by Shirley Hughes (born in 1927). Shirley Hughes is a British author and illustrator. She has written over 50 books for children. She is the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal in 1977 and 2003 for Dogger and Ella’s Big Chance. This poem is taken from Rhymes for Annie Rose. Did I mention I love Shirley Hughes?

April Rain Song

Let the rain kiss you

Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops

Let the rain sing you a lullaby

The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk

The rain makes running pools in the gutter

The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night

And I love the rain.

Poem by Langston Hughes (1902-1967). He was an African American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. April Rain Song was taken from the Collected Poems of Langston Hughes.

Rain Music 

On the dusty earth-drum

Beats the falling rain;

Now a whispered murmur,

Now a louder strain.

Slender, silvery drumsticks,

On an ancient drum,

Beat the mellow music

Bidding life to come.

Chords of earth awakened,

Notes of greening spring,

Rise and fall triumphant

Over every thing.

Slender, silvery drumsticks

Beat the long tattoo–

God, the Great Musician,

Calling life anew.

Poem by Joseph S. Cotter, Jr. (1861-1949) – He was born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky. Joseph Cotter was one of the earliest African American playwrights. He was a poet, playwright, community leader and strong advocate for black education.  Rain Music is taken from The Book of American Negro Poetry. Ed. James Weldon Johnson. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1922.

The Rain

The rain is raining all around,

It falls on field and tree,

It rains on the umbrellas here,

And on the ships at sea.

Poem by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) Robert Louis Stevenson was a Scottish author and is best known as the author of the children’s classic Treasure Island, and the adult horror story, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. He also published A Child’s Garden of Verses from which this poem was taken. Of great children’s writers, it is often said that the child in them never dies – A Child’s Garden of Verses is the perfect example of this – a must have for any child’s home library!)

A Healing Nostalgia

Today, for poetry Monday, here is a poem I wrote in my early twenties.  

This poem was featured in a book called  …and Bees make Honey – An Anthology of Anecdotes, Reflections and Poems  by Third Culture Kids – (1994) Edited by Jill and Roger Dyer. Their first book called Scamps, scholars, and saints: An anthology of anecdotes, reflections, poems, and drawings by third culture kids was published 1991.  

Jill and Roger Dyer have served as teachers, administrators and Roger as principal and superintendent of the world’s largest school for MKs. They collected over 1000 stories, poems and memories from third culture kids all over the world, and compiled them in these two volumes.

These anthologies were published in Australia, and although they are no longer in print, are available in ebook format at

A Healing Nostalgia   by Gail O’Connor


The sky lies heavy with darkened clouds,

The air, crisp and cool.

Leaves of autumn hues float by,

Falling without a sound on damp beds of grass below.

The wind is filled with the fresh scent of coming rain,

Nature stands in eager expectation.

 I walk, alone, filling my lungs with the cool air,

Setting my face toward the evening breeze,

Allowing nature to smooth away the wrinkles of my long day’s work.

Then, in an instant, my senses transport me back,

Back to this other world, 

 to days gone by in time, yet suddenly so vivid within…
  I walk along the deserted beach at the fall of day,

Listening to the waves crash rhythmically on the shore,

 staring at the last rays of day seeping into the ocean depths.

I know I cannot stay, so I slip my hands in the pockets of my navy blazer,

 and walk back, fighting the cold wind that bites through my clothes and skin.

Houlgate, a small town on the Normandy coast.

I look back once more at the horizon,

breathing in the vanishing scene,

and turn away.


Now, I round the corner, my school bag on my shoulder,

It’s raining here too, and I put up the hood of my jacket.

A white house stands tall before me, welcoming me home.

As I approach, the sound of laughter and 

 the gentle tinkle of silver against plates brings a smile and a sigh.

I slip into my seat at the table as tea is being poured.

Villeneuve-Le-Roi, France

I look around once more,

“I can’t stay”, I say, 

An ache rising in my chest.

Now, I enter a small, dim hall,

       cluttered with umbrellas and rain coats,

Heavy with the smell of warming bodies,

       with the love of caring hearts.

Dad is already leading in the opening chorus,

The piano trailing behind, as if eager to join in.

“Ah, qu’il est doux pour des frères de demeurer ensemble !”

The words are so familiar and I join in.

– St Quentin-en-Yvelines, France.

Before slipping out, as prayers rise up to God,

I whisper, “It’s great to be back,”

Tears now flowing freely.


 As I reach the front door of my apartment,

I stop and review the scenes

       I just relived during my walk home.

It’s not the roller coaster experiences I miss so much,

But those little cottages with light shining through the

       window panes.

As I reach for my key, I turn and look around at the wet,

       autumn landscape of my neighborhood in Oak Park, Illinois.

I can’t help but wonder what scenes from this new world

       will become part of my cottages of tomorrow.

A Child’s Calendar

As we begin the month of March and Spring, here in Indiana, shows itself one day, then hides the next, I thought I would share this children’s poem “March” taken from A Child’s Calendar, poems by John Updike and illustrations by Trina Schart Hyman.

John Updike (1932-2009) is the American author of more than 40 books, including collections of short stories, poems and criticisms. His novels have won two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards and three National Book Critics Circle Awards. He lived most of his life in Massachusetts.

A Child’s Calendar was originally published in 1965 with illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. In 1999, it was reissued with artwork by Trina Schart Hyman. In Hyman’s illustrations, the children and families depicted are of different ethnicities, offering a welcome addition to the children’s literature market, lacking in diversity.

Trina Schart Hyman (1939-2004) has illustrated over one hundred and fifty books for children. She has received the Caldecott Medal (Saint George and the Dragon), Caldecott Honors awards, and Boston Globe-Horn Book Award.

In A Child’s Calendar (1999), a Caldecott Honor book, presents twelve poems, one for each month of the year, as the year and the seasons unfold on a family farm in Vermont. Trina Schart Hayman’s colorful full-page paintings are brimming with details of family life and bring the poems to life.

I highly recommend A Child’s Calendar as a great addition to a home library – a book of poetry that can be pulled out at the beginning of each month to celebrate the seasons and the corresponding family activities.

The interplay of text and art has both depth and beauty. The language and illustrations are not merely pretty or ornamentally descriptive, but vibrantly alive.“.   – Publishers Weekly –


Eloise Greenfield

Today is Monday!

Time for another poetry post. This week, I have four poems by Eloise Greenfield. I think that poetry, both reading and writing, is a great outlet for all the emotions and experiences of a third culture kid. As a child, I loved reading and writing poetry – I think it captures the complexity of emotions and experiences of life like no other mode of expressions. Perhaps, you would disagree with me, maybe for you or your child, it may be music or art or the outdoors, but give it a try -poetry might just speak to your child, as it did to me.

Eloise Greenfield
Eloise Greenfield was born in 1929 in Parmele, North Carolina. Her family moved to Washington, D.C. when she was an infant. As a child, she loved music (she played the piano), movies, and books. As a young adult, working as a clerk-typist at the U. S. Patent Office and raising a family, Ms. Greenfield began writing and submitted her work for publication.

But it wasn’t until 1962, after years of rejections from publishers that Ms. Greenfield published her first poem. In 1972, ten years later, she published her first book, Bubbles (illustrated by Eric Marlow, later reprinted as Good News).

She is now the author of more than 40 books for children — poetry, biography, picture books and older fiction. She says one of her missions as a writer is to contribute to the development of a large body of African American literature for children. She was dismayed by the depiction of blacks and black communities in popular media and the focus of her work is on realistic but positive portrayals of African-American communities, families and friendships.

Eloise has won numerous awards for her writing and her contribution to writing, including the NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, given for a body of work to a living American poet.

One of her best-known books, Honey I Love, and other love poems first published in 1978, is a collection 16 poems for people of all ages concerning the daily lives and loving relationships of children and families. These poems, in a child’s voice, are simple, yet convey deep emotion – love, loss, joy, and courage.

Each poem is accompanied by a charcoal drawing by Diana and Leo Dillon, both portraits and panorama that bring the poem to life. This is poetry for children at it’s best and a must-read!

About Honey, I Love and other love poems:

“Abounds with the special tenderness surrounding the everyday experiences in a child’s life. These poems beg to be read aloud.” -The Boston Globe-

  • Notable Children’s Books of 1978 (ALA)
  • A Reading Rainbow Selection
  • Winner, 1990 Recognition of Merit Award (George C. Stone Center for Children’s Books, Claremont, CA)

Here are four excerpts from Honey, I Love, and other love poems:


Went to the corner

Walked in the store

Bought me some candy

Ain’t got it no more

Ain’t got it no more


Went to the beach

Played on the shore

Built me a sandhouse

Ain’t got it no more

Ain’t got it no more


Went to the kitchen

Lay down on the floor

Made me a poem

Still got it

Still got it

Love Don’t Mean

Love don’t mean all that kissing

Like on television

Love Means Daddy

Saying keep your mama company

till I get back

And me doing it


By Myself

When I’m by myself

And I close my eyes

I’m a twin

I’m a dimple in a chin

I’m a room full of toys

I’m a squeaky noise

I’m a gospel song

I’m a gong

I’m a leaf turning red

I’m a loaf of brown bread

I’m a whatever I want to be

An anything I care to be

And when I open my eyes

What I care to be

Is me



Before Mrs. Williams died

She told Mr. Williams

When he gets home
To get a nickel out of her Navy blue pocketbook

And give it to her

Sweet little gingerbread girl

That’s me

I ain’t never going to spend it


I currently have in stock through Kids Books Without Borders, Eloise Greenfield’s books:

Night on Neighborhood Street (1991, illustrated by Gilchrist)

A Coretta Scott King Honor Book, is a collection of poems about the African American families and the children living in the inner city – their joys and fears. (for grades 1-4)

Me and Neesie (1975, illustrated by Moneta Barnett)

This Reading Rainbow book and ALA notable children’s book, is about Janell’s best friend Neesie. No one can see Neesie, but to Janell she is very real (for ages 4-8)

Sister (1974, illustrated by Moneta Barnett).

In this chapter book, winner of The New York Times Outstanding Book of the Year citation, Doretha is thirteen and she recounts the events of her childhood through the pages of a notebook her father gave her when she was nine. Some memories are sad, some are happy – as she reads, she realizes that the events of her childhood are what makes her who she is today and give her the courage to face tomorrow (for ages 8-12)

Honey, I love and other love poems (1978, illustrated by Diane and Leo Dillon)