For more about poetry & young readers,
please see Heidi’s drinkable roundup at
My Juicy Little Universe.
All you living in autumnland, as I write this it is
summer weather here.
And yet at the market the best fresh berries are
gone. Or, they are too far from Florida, for me to be
interested in them.
I was happy to carry home a fruit I haven’t bought
since spring. A reliable crisp round fruit, to slice, with a
sprinkle of cinnamon on it, for a snack & to add to my
cereal – hot or cold.
And I thought of one of my favorite children’s poets,
I went looking for her poem about this treat that
tucks a sky surprise inside. I’m sure this teacher and mother,
savored many of them, coming from far north Wisconsin & living there
or in Minnesota.
by Barbara Juster Esbensen
Within its polished universe
The apple holds a star,
A secret constellation
To scatter near and far.
©Barbara Juster Esbensen
For the rest of this lovely poem find the first
edition (1964) or the second edition ( 2003) of her seasonal
poems, collected as SWING AROUND THE SUN.
I’m also a fan of the artist Mary GrandPre, so the 2003
edition is handy on my books-to-travel shelves to share in school.
Mary GrandPre’s apple face is all-knowing and kind, even though
it’s about to get eaten.
(My Nikon died & I haven’t aced levitating images from
my new Canon into digital world, so I don’t have a photo of the lovely
apple page in the collection.)
Each season’s poems by Barbara Esbensen in
SWING AROUND THE SUN are illustrated by a different artist – Winter,
Stephen Gammell, Spring, Cheng-Khee Chee, summer, Janice Lee Porter
& five luxurious images from Mary GrandPre, for autumn.
I came to Barbara Esbensen’s work in 2007, through her
WHO SHRANK MY GRANDMOTHER’S HOUSE? illustrated by Eric Beddow,
which I found in a Roanoke, Va. bookshop. Many of the poems
in this collection are free verse. And that is the style of
poetry writing she taught to children, so they would be able
to put pencil to paper pouring out vivid imagery & without
the constraint of rhyming.
I am struck by the poet’s artful way of arranging
words. And I like to share with children how she lavished poem
attention on one of my beloved everyday objects, the pencil.
Here, from WHO SHRANK MY GRANDMOTHER’S
HOUSE? are thoughts within another autumnal poem,
by Barbara Esbensen.
by Barbara Esbensen
“Why do you think
are standing in our yard
in their underwear?”
If you would like to treat yourself to a visit with
one of our best children’s poets, I’ve collected a few resources.
A CELEBRATION OF BEES, Helping Children to Write Poetry
by Barbara Juster Esbensen, foreword by Lee Bennett Hopkins
The poet shares fabulous works created by her young students,
sometimes in their own printing or cursive & occasionally
with their own art, such as on the cover. It is an uplifting
guide to helping children discover the poetry inside themselves.
Article at Bookology, by her husband Tory Esbensen
An homage to this literary artist (1925-1996)
An article by her editor-fan, fellow poet, Lee Bennett Hopkins
And fortunately, a nourishing video recollection by Lee Bennett Hopkins at the generous Renee LaTulippe’s
NO WATER RIVER site.
And remember, the Poetry Friday go-go juice is with Heidi at her tasty site.