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:

Things

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

 

Keepsake

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)

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