A Celebration of Bees


A CELEBRATION OF BEES was first published 20 years ago, but it hasn't lost one iota of its vitality or usefulness; that it spent even a day out of print seems a crime. Esbensen's approach to helping children write poetry is akin to Kenneth Koch's in his classic book Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?, but Esbensen focuses even more on the nuts and bolts of the creative process. A natural (and lifelong) teacher, she shows us how to create the right environment for children's poetry (or indeed for poetry writing at any age) -- with "acceptance" and "encouragement." She tosses out exercises like a veritable white hole of creative ideas, pulling poems from a "clutter of words" or portraits or cityscapes or simple forms like cinquains and haiku: "Earth has disappeared/ Only snow is there falling/ falling ceaselessly" (Charlotte F., age 14). Everywhere, throughout the book, is evidence of what can be done: beautiful poems and illustrations by children of all ages. There are enough ideas here to form a poetry curriculum from kindergarten through high school, enough poems by children to make a sizable anthology. Whether it's to be used by teachers, parents or budding poets, A Celebration of Bees is the kind of practical inspiration we all need. --Liz Rosenberg

Barbara Juster Esbensen Memorial

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