THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

[This week’s Kidlitosphere celebration of poetry is hosted by the beachy keen Linda Baie at TEACHERDANCE]

Happy to be back apace after a summer of
three very varied trips, porchstep farming of
potted cotton, eggplant & hot peppers &
coastal jaunts for a new class I’m taking.

Horse conch, August 2015, Florida  copyright, all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

Horse conch, August 2015, Florida copyright, all rights reserved Jan Godown Annino

This summer, among other writerly feats attempted, I wrote a pantoum, as part of an early
challenge in the year, made in an online picture book class interview with the incomparable J. Patrick Lewis, whose books brighten my world.

My other poetry thrill of the summer was to return home from a workshop with autographed books from the Guinness record holding anthologist and inspiring poetry guide, Lee Bennett Hopkins. One summery title is THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Walter Gaffner-Kessell.
In case your summer found you near salty shores, “Seashell” by poet
Sandra Liatsos may provide a reflective swoosh. Here are lines from it.

by Sandra Liatsos

This seashell is an ocean cove
That holds a liquid sound
Of waves that rush a hidden shore
Where stranger shells are found…

c. SANDRA LIATSOS all rights reserved

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessell

THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrations by Walter Gaffney-Kessell

Of all the elements that flow together to create a memorable shore experience for children, can it be that shells are the
most accessible? I know fishing is a big part of some beach excursions, but think of how often those fishesget away! The skeletons of marine snails are a more universal accessible treasure. (Although my dear Paolo caught five different species of fish on our last shore trip, all caught & released.)

As for the giant marine snail in the photo, it of course was released back into its home, to forage among turtle grass
& grow even fatter. It is our official state shell, this being Florida & the kind of place where we have a state shell.

Back on my struggle with the pantoum, which is on a salty topic, if you are in the PF community & can spare the time to comment on my
d r a f t , please message me on facebook with your email or leave it here. Or send me an email note at jgaoffice at gmail dot com. I’ll be always grateful. And I would read a poem of yours & comment, in exchange.

Happy hallways, sweet school seats, fabulous Fridays, each week of this school year!

20 thoughts on “THE SEA IS CALLING ME, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins

    • Dear Michelle,
      It was neat to meet you, too & all the new-to-me poetry pals.
      Mr. LBH does know how to gather a good group.
      You can’t see the rest of the class in the picture but that state shell moment was repeated- who wouldn’t want to get up close with that one. We also saw the blue-eyed scallops up close, hermit crabs in larger shells than I’ve usually observed them in & lots of pinfish & my hubby caught 5 different kinds of fish that same day.
      Appreciations for your visit here,


    • Dear Diane,
      So wonderful New Hampshire is state shellless. I like your attitude. I also wonder if this isn’t an opportunity for children to nominate & select a state shell & see it thru to adoption? Just a thot.
      Appreciations for your visit & Happy Labor Day weekend!


    • Dear LBH the wonderful – Appreciations for your visit here & every little thing you do for readers & editors & writers & families & for the shore. It’s been ages since THE SEA collection emerged from the sands & salty water, but have you heard in recent years from Sandra Liatsos? I looked for a website for her or somesuch & can add a bionote if you come across anything more for this poet.


    • Dear Donna,
      This is wonderful news – both that there is no shell. Some children can propose one & see it thru to selection. And for your generous offer. Will respond to your fb after another revision round.
      Many thanks,


  1. I love the poem about seashells, just arranged those we brought home today, all abandoned of course! And I love the ‘beachy keen’ reference, that I am, and am still missing that ocean. I’ve really enjoyed the pictures of your experiences, too. Best wishes with the pantoum.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello beachy keen Linda! So glad you brought a bit of Florida’s gulf shore home that good way. Sandra’s poem suggests to me that I think so much more about a shell beyond its shape & look. Appreciations for your visit.


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