Naomi Shihab Nye

I have a circle story.

It begins with author/artist

Lisa Desimini who exquisitely illustrated

my children’s book about Betty Mae Tiger Jumper.

I try to buy every book Lisa

is part of creating,

even when a spooky topic that may inspire


is between her jewel covers.

When Lisa’s book

FAMOUS came along in 2015

I bought it immediately & loved how she

interpreted Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem.

FAMOUS Naomi Shihab Nye/Lisa Desimini

(Scroll to the 5th book at this site…)

Find Lisa/Naomi’s book distributed from Independent Publishers Group

Some of you know

that “Famous”

is one of Naomi’s most beloved pieces.


I think of “Famous” as Beatitudes for the Poet.


Last year I settled into my seat

at a singing workshop here in little


organized by my

friend Velma Frye, a musician, poet and singer.

Imagine my surprise when

Velma’s friend, the event’s

guest musician songwriter artist Becky Reardon

just in from the west coast


Lisa’s book FAMOUS/

Naomi Shihab Nye’s famous poem “Famous.”

I nearly levitated

at this surprise as I didn’t

know Becky had set it to music.

I tell you my eyes leaked.

Naomi’s “Famous” poem has

bloomed into an

evocative writing

prompt for creators all ages

celebrating the beauty

of everyday needed

things and actions.


Here are three of my responses to the poem, “Famous” by Naomi Shihab Nye.


I want to be famous like…”/ NSN


an ant is famous to the ant hill


a bib is famous to the young parent feeding a young one


the pine cone is famous to the crackling fire


If you love “Famous” or want to know more about it, you may want to get yourself a copy of

the CD where Becky Reardon sings it, INSIDE THE OUTSIDE.

On You Tube I found it at #41  searching Becky Reardon’s Top Tunes.

I also pulled to a moody ‘Famous” rendition in film,

from Poetry Foundation


And you may want to visit with Naomi Shihab Nye mentoring

us at


Many many appreciations to Mary Lee Hahn/ A Year of Reading

for gathering us together to celebrate Naomi Shihab Nye,

this country’s new

U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate. Lots of workshops & travel ahead for Naomi!

So wonderful for all ages of students of the World.

(because of a confluence of kerfluffles, my post is launched a bit ahead of our community party…)




20 responses to “Naomi Shihab Nye”

  1. Such a joy to read about your special connection with this poem and this book, Jan! I remember the book quite clearly from when I read it last fall. The power of the illustrations and words combined transcended those pages. And set to music? I have no doubt my eyes would be leaking along with yours!


    • a flower for every book i don’t know would mean more than all the flowers at the Amsterdam Flower Show… or the Harvard Arboretum or … I so appreciate your visit & am unhappily tardy in making the illuminating rounds… .plus I feel I have a correction to make on a link involving your blog from some weeks back … i am late late late in social media these days but do expect to catch up …


  2. How have I missed this poem? It is lovely and powerful–no wonder it keeps transforming into song and movie and picture book and inspiring more and more poems in response.


  3. I think “Famous” was the first NSN poem I ever read. I reread it quite a bit because I used it for Poetry in the Halls back when I was first starting that (12-14 years ago). I had no idea it was made into a picture book or songs — genius!


    • Poetry in the Halls is fun – as far as I’ve seen it. Maybe yourstudents created art to go with their poems…

      I am glad I found a poem that has dwelled with you so compatibly for so far back. I am still catching up to you & Linda B. & Mary Lee & so many leaders of the Poetry Friday sharetimes. Thanks for visiting dear Tabatha.


  4. You’ve shared many things new to me, Jan, like “Famous” in a picture book & set to music. I love your own “famous” lines, like that pine cone’s fabulous performance! Thanks!


  5. I can only imagine your surprise when you heard the poem being sung! I can’t wait to come back and explore all your links and listen to this FAMOUS poem in other forms! Thanks you…or as I love the way you say…appreciations!!


    • Thank you & we all appreciate you so very very much Mary Lee. More sung poems of Truths to your World, always.
      With more appreciations to NSH for creating “Famous” the poem
      that inspires FAMOUS the poem book illustrated so brilliantly by Lisa Desimini
      that inspires the poem “Famous” sung & arranged by the fabulous Becky Reardon.


  6. I love that poem, and I didn’t know it was a picture book. I’ll have to look for it! Thanks for your responses, too! Ruth,

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad to write something that’s a surprise delight for you, dear Ruth.

      It may be what I felt when I heard the poem-book sung.

      Your blog is always so potent & important to us all.

      Weekend wonders to you.

      (can’t resist, having maneuvered a bit here… The reply box is famous to the blog writer…)


  7. Jan, I have commented on this post….but I don’t see it. I hope this one comes through. I think this post is quintessential Jan. It holds your joy and your sensitive response to music and words. What a beautiful poem. We are so lucky to share NSN words. They are good words for friends.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Jan, I love how you live and love your life…what wonderful responses to NSN poems…including your tears. All is lovely. Thank you for bringing this poetry to me today. I have copied two for my students.


    • the wiley ways of comment boxes confound me dear Linda… many appreciations for your persistence & kind words & for always always always thinking about your treasured students – how will they manage without you this summer?


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