April is National Poetry Month, and we invite you to celebrate with the Beaufort County Public Library system. Your local library has plenty of poetry books for all ages, and there are several upcoming events for you to enjoy.
Did you know that rhyming is an important pre-reading skill? Nursery rhymes and songs are repeated generation after generation. Your local library staff can direct you to collections of nursery rhymes, picture books featuring rhyme in stories and CDs of children's songs. Here are some of our favorite resources to share with children, but we have known many adults to be just as appreciative.
"Hip Hop Speaks to Children," edited by Nikki Giovanni
Even if you don't like this musical style, give this CD a try and you might be surprised. Poetry is read (or sung) by Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Queen Latifah, Maya Angelou and many others. Some of the poems are set to hip-hop music, others to jazz and some with no accompaniment. The book includes the poems and the stories behind them. Even the students who groan at the mention of poetry will enjoy this great resource.
"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," by Bill Martin Jr.
Each letter of the alphabet is represented in bold colors as the letters race up (and fall down) the alphabet tree. Year after year, our storytime groups love the book's catchy rhythm with fun-to-repeat phrases such as "skit skat skoodle doot flip flop flee" and the silly illustrations, including a black-eyed "P" and skinned-knee "D" wearing a band-aid.
"Where the Sidewalk Ends," by Shel Silverstein
For school-age children, you can't go wrong with Shel Silverstein. This book has been a childhood favorite for several decades, and is still enticing new readers with humorous rhymes and sketches of memorable characters, including Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Who Would Not Take the Garbage Out. If your family enjoys audiobooks, check out one of our Shel Silverstein CDs to hear poetry read aloud.
"Pizza, Pigs and Poetry," by Jack Prelutsky
Did you know that Jack Prelutsky was our nation's first Children's Poet Laureate? Did you even know we had a Children's Poet Laureate? In Prelutsky's how-to guide for young writers, he provides exercises to help students get started and even helps writers to get "unstuck." Several of Prelutsky's poems are included with each writing tip.
"If," by Rudyard Kipling with photographs by Charles R. Smith Jr.
This classic poem of good advice from a father to a son is made even more poignant by the photos as the book answers what makes a boy into a man.
Creating, singing and saying rhymes can be fun for adults or children. Stop by your local library to get suggestions of great reads. Introduce your little ones to the joy of rhyming through songs and stories at home, or join a storytime at your local library.
The Beaufort library is hosting a poetry reading with the Otram Slabess Poetry Group on April 24. All branches encourage you to participate in the "You Haiku Beaufort County" project by submitting your own entry on the library's website at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org, or just enjoy reading the other submissions.
Melinda Vest is youth services manager at Beaufort library.