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Rated: E · Editorial · Educational · #841985
May 20,2004 newsletter, children's poetry
Writing for Children

         Writing for children, whether poetry or prose, requires a different perspective. Generations were raised on nursery rhymes and Mother Goose. Now we can add Dr. Seuss to that list of those who appeal to children of all ages.

Little boy blue, come blow your horn.
The cow's in the meadow. The sheep's in the corn.
But where is the little boy who looks after the sheep?
He's under the hay stack, fast asleep.
~ Mother Goose

         Let's discuss what is necessary to write children's poetry uniquely for children.

Children's Poetry

         Children have likes and dislikes as varied as there are children. However they do have a few things in common. Almost everything discussed here for poetry also applies to stories.

*Bullet* 1. Children enjoy rhymes, and the younger the child, the more he likes simple rhymes. The rhymes, though, should not be forced. They should flow smoothly and without twists and turns of lines to provide a rhyme. Also unneeded material shouldn't be inserted to provide a rhyme. Hmmmm . . . that is true of all poetry. Forced rhymes distract from the poetry, weakens the writing.

*Bullet* 2. Children should not be "spoken down to," nor should the vocabulary be too far above their understanding. New vocabulary can be introduced by giving a meaning in the context of the poetry (or story).

*Bullet* 3. Poetry (and stories) should be written from a child's perspective. That doesn't mean that the narrator has to be a child, but that the writing is written from a child's point of view. The poem should be for children, not necessarily about children.

          Many poems are written about children but for adults. We need to be careful not to fall into that trap.

*Bullet* 4. A lesson, moral, or lesson should be included but not "preachy." A lesson learned without it being shoved down the reader's or listener's throat is easier to swallow. *Delight*

*Bullet* 5. Anything written for children should have needed puntuation, have correct spelling, and be grammatically correct. Like it or not, children learn from everything they read and hear read to them. We are "teaching" when we write. Hopefully we won't teach the wrong things.

*Bullet* 6. What we write should be appropriate for the audience, the age group for whom we are writing. We want children to enjoy our poems or stories, not be frightened or exposed to ideas too mature for them.

*Bullet* 7. Some people believe that writings for children can be about anything and doesn't have to be high quality. If anything, anything written for children should be of the highest quality.

*Bullet* 8. Then we must add a large dose of imagination.

          I looked in my port and in my records trying to find any one poem for children. I found stories galore for youngsters and even teens, but not one poem. So I took one of the stories and used it as the basis for a poem. Was I successful in writing something appropriate for a child and from a child's perspective?

The Pretty Pebble
by Vivian Gilbert Zabel

Suzie Duck waddled along the shore,
Scuffing the dust with webbed feet.
A sparkle caught her eye, nothing more,
But she stopped and bent to seek
What glittered in the dirt.

“Oh, how pretty,” she softy sighed,
As she touched it with a wing tip.
“I want to keep it,” she gladly cried.
She grabbed it with a feather flip
That kept it snug and safe.

Soon all the cove’s flocks of birds
Knew about Suzie’s pretty prize.
They came and shared kind words,
And all were true, not any lies,
But praise for the pebble grew.

But Freddie, Suzie’s brother,
Grew tired of the attention
That kept going to another.
So one day, without a mention
To anyone, he took the rock.

Suzie searched high and low,
Without finding it anywhere.
She missed her glittering rock so.
It had disappeared into plain air,
Or everyone seemed to think.

Finally Freddie found his act
Caused his sister much sorrow.
He repented, explaining the fact
That the pebble he did borrow,
But now gave back to her.

Suzie smiled once again,
Her pretty pebble safe in hand.

Highlighted Children's Poetry

         Below are some of the best children's poetry found on Writing.Com.

My Grandma Used to Say  (E)
This is the confusing set of instructions that her dear grandma left her with.
#839555 by Shaara voted

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This item number is not valid.
#838458 by Not Available.

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#832027 by Not Available.

Couch Critters  (E)
Down in the cracks where the old crumbs go
#806852 by wordsy

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#653513 by Not Available.

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#821520 by Not Available.

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#830242 by Not Available.

 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#831310 by Not Available.

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This item number is not valid.
#838382 by Not Available.

Socks  (E)
Shhh! Don't tell mom.
#845735 by Cubby Elf

Feedback from April 22

         I only received one poem showing mood, but I did have quite a bit of feedback. I'll try to cover most, if not all, of the comments sent me. I appreciate all of you who let me know what you think of the newsletter.

         Since I'm not feeling well, I'll try to do a better job next month.

Submitted by: Juniper

How do I post a poem for the contest mentioned above? It is stored in my portfolio under the ID number
 Invalid Item 
This item number is not valid.
#841963 by Not Available.
. Don't know how to link it though!

Thank you for sending a poem. This wasn't a contest, but I appreciate your contribution. I hope everyone will give this poem a thorough and helpful review.

Submitted by: Lexi

You truly capture how words have a certain power, and within a few changes the mood can completely alter. I always look forward to your issues because I know I will learn something from them. Write on! ~ Lexi

{c:blueI appreciate hearing that my editorials help others. Hopefully I'll be able to continue to do so.

Submitted: Juniper

I wonder if it would be possible for you to address the issue between rhyming and non rhyming poems. It seems to me that a lot of poets get stuck in the same old boring rhyme scheme. What do you think?

I'll be covering free verse and blank verse before long. Both are poetry without rhyme.

Submitted by: RedWritingHood♡WDC

Wonderful article. I expecially enjoyed how you listed the poetry devices used in each example. ^5

Thank you. I found that knowing what devices I use helps me better analyze my writing.

Submitted by: panthera

Hello sis!

Yip, I love your newsletters very much! You make things seem so easy and the way you present your subject and put forth such good examples to help us understand it, makes it impossible for me to just close the NL and forget it.

My mind is already toying with the challenge I found here and I will try to let my imagination go with the impulse and have something for you to read soon.


I hope you have a good time with that imagination and challenge.

I'm sorry I didn't include all the feedback this time, but I promise I will next month.

Until next time, keep reading and writing beautiful poetry.

© Copyright 2004 Vivian (vzabel at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates have been granted non-exclusive rights to display this work.
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