Thursday, May 11, 2017

Another Way to Share Poetry!

"Poetry Break!"
Happy Poetry Friday!
Day 11 of my kidlit book-a-day inspired wardrobe!

Last week I decided to celebrate Children's Book Week by wearing clothes and accessories that coordinate and match with children's books and their characters. I had so much fun and better yet, the students in my school library were excited and motivated to hear about and read the books that I was promoting!  Oh, and I decided that even though Children's Book Week ended for the year, my bookish wardrobe doesn't have to!  

Matching books and poems to your clothing and accessories is an excellent way to promote literacy!  So go check your closet and coordinate with your bookshelf!  

Scroll down to my previous post if you're interested in seeing my other book inspired outfits. 

For more Poetry inspiration, visit A Teaching Life for the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Children's Book Week 2017

Every week in my library is a celebration of children's books, storytelling, artwork, and of course Poetry!  But this past week I shared with students and staff the wonderful celebration that began in 1919. We admired Christian Robinson's poster that he created for this year's celebration and discussed the theme: "One World, Many Stories". We had guest readers share their favorite books and talk about special memories surrounding their favorite books. I read various favorite books of mine and read aloud some lovely poetry. 

I love to Booktalk and promote reading in lots of different and fun ways. This week I decided to match my wardrobe to different books. 

Here are some of my book-inspired outfits from this week.


Happy Children's Book Week and Happy Reading!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Celebrate Children' Book Week!

Every Child a Readers

This week I'm celebrating Children's Book Week in my elementary Library, as well as everywhere I go!  Be sure to check back each day this week to find out how I'm spreading some book love and the joy of reading!  Join me in becoming a @CBCBook Children’s Book Week Champion, celebrating children’s books and the joy of reading! #CBW17

To kick off #cbw17, I am giving these away!

Another amazing sign created by Bird Branch Designs! 

Bird Branch Designs

Happy Reading!

Friday, April 14, 2017

Poetry Break Has a New Look!

Today I'm celebrating my passion for sharing poetry by revisiting how I originally got started with presenting poems to children. Although I've always shared poetry in small ways, about ten years ago I began doing "Poetry Breaks" - popping into classrooms with an announcement of, "Poetry Break!" with a sign and whistle or bell to signal that, much like D.E.A.R. (drop everything and read), we pause for a poem.

In my first post participating in Poetry Friday (from 2012!), I share how I got started with conducting Poetry Breaks. I also share a brief video Booktalk that features Caroline Feller Bauer's Poetry Break! book. Check it out here.

In a Poetry Friday post from 4 years ago, I wrote a Tribute to Caroline Feller Bauer and my inspiration and mentor for sharing poetry with children.

always searching for
the perfect poem to share
it's "Poetry Break!" ~C. F. B. 

I now take time out for "Poetry Breaks" in my school library. I incorporate them into lessons when students in grades pre-k through 5th grade visit the library on a weekly basis. Poems relate to seasons, holidays, curriculum topics, student interest, and much more!  I also use "Poetry Breaks" as a way to Booktalk Poetry books, as well as many other books and magazines in the library. The poem possibilities are endless.

I was so excited when my new sign arrived in the mail, just in time for National Poetry Month. My cousin, Tara Sawyer designed and created my amazing new and improved, "Poetry Break" sign, which is proudly on display in my library, just waiting to announce the arrival of a "Poetry Break!"


Be sure to check out Tara's beautiful designs at Bird Branch Designs.

Celebrate today, celebrate #nationalpoetrymonth, celebrate #slm17 by pursg the Poetry Friday  Roundup, hosted by Doraine at Dori Reads

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Rediscovering My Poetry Wiki

Several years ago, while I was in my school library and information technology program at Mansfield University, I created a poetry wiki as a project for one of my courses. I had a great deal of fun creating it, as well as using as a resource for sharing and teaching poetry. Although the wiki has not been updated or used in quite some time, it is certainly worth revisiting, especially this month, as a way to celebrate National Poetry Month and School Library Month.

Why not take a peek into my virtual poetry library by visiting, A Pocketful of Poems!  The site is filled with links to poetry resources as well as descriptions about how I incorporate poetry into the day.

A sweet bonus treat as I was browsing through the pages of my forgotten wiki: these adorable pictures of my girls "eating their peas with honey" as we recited the classic nursery rhyme!

Sienna eating her peas with honey.
(Age 4)

Sarah eating her peas with honey.
(Age 2)

Happy Poetry Reading!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

BARC Booktalk Extravaganza ~ 2017

Flyer that BARC put out to advertise my presentation.

Sharing must-read books!
Photo credits: Ellen Mouillesseaux
On Thursday April 6th, I presented Booktalks for some of the more recently released best books.  In addition to a handout that listed books of various genres and formats, I created a Pinterest board for my presentation. The board contains many of the books, book trailers, and songs that I recommended.

If you are not already a member of your local literacy council, I highly recommend that you consider joining. Here is a link to mine - Binghamton Area Reading Council.

BARC Booktalk Pinterest Board.

April is School Library Month. Visit your school library to check out these excellent book recommendations. Happy reading!

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Poetry Collages & Patience

I'm still joining the Poetry Friday party, even if it's a day late. I'm learning to have patience with myself as I'm still recovering from a long year of health complications, which were most recently punctuated with a case of pneumonia. As I've returned to work full days, I've realized that although I'm feeling much more like myself, I can't do it all and I certainly can't do it all at once.

During my recovery, I've discovered or rediscovered my interest in expressing myself creatively - not only through writing but also through art. I've always had an interest in collage and creating with images. Among other collage creations, I've started to create a poetry collage notebook or journal.  I'm collecting some of the many poems that I love and that touch my heart, and I'm adding them to a blank book, along with an accompanying collage of images that I've collected. Not only is this a fun and therapeutic hobby, it will serve as a great resource to me in my quest to share poetry with children. My poetry collage book will be a part of my Poetry Breaks!  If you aren't already familiar with my Poetry Breaks, stay tuned for an update, as I will revisit them here at Mrs. Merrill's Book Break. I'll also be sharing how I'm revising my original Poetry Breaks.

The first poem that I've collage is "Surprise" by Beverly McLoughlan, from, Good Books, Good Times by Lee Bennett Hopkins (Harper Collins 1990).

An entry in my Poetry Collage Journal (April 2017)

Mane sure you visit Irene Latham at Live Your Poem to check out all the other Poetry fun that she's got in the Poetry Friday Roundup.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

A Picture Book & a Poem

As I looked through the "Drafts" section here at Mrs. Merrill's Book Break, I discovered this review that I had done on Goodreads. As I reread it and remembered this treasure, I immediately grabbed Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong's The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science Teachers. The perfect poem to pair with this book is, "Uh-oh, Pluto" by Jeannine Atkins. The anthology is treasure trove of science themed poems on every topic imaginable. Poetry lovers and science enthusiasts alike will need to rush out to get a copy! Click on the link above for more details about the anthology. 

Amy Zimmer Merrill's Reviews > Pluto's Secret: An Icy World's Tale of Discovery

Pluto's Secret by Margaret Weitekamp


Unique informational book from the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum about the discovery of Pluto, how it was named, and later was not considered a planet. Readers will learn a great deal about the mysteries surrounding Pluto as well as the astronomers who have studied it. Illustrations are fun and cartoon-like, giving Pluto its own personification. Text is easy to understand and there are contextual clues as to the meaning and pronunciation of some vocabulary. Includes endpapers with; photographs & information behind the story, bibliography, suggested reading for young people, a glossary, a who's who - information about each planet, a note from the museum, and an index. Great resource for primary, intermediate, and even middle school science teachers. Would also make an educational and fun read aloud - might be interesting to create a reader's theater from selected text highlights.
1 like · 

Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Simple Celebration to Kick-Off National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month!

Although I celebrate poetry daily, today and all of April, is extra special because of the fact that Poetry lovers spread poetry love all month long. My celebration for today is this simple Book Spine Poem. I stood at my bookshelf pulling off some of my favorite poetry books that highlight and feature poems about books, reading, libraries, poetry, and words. As I assembled the titles, the words in their  spoke to my heart.  I love my little poem! (Sorry - two spines don't display due to the fact that they are skinny paperbacks).

I am the book
Book speak
Good books good times
Jumping off library shelves
A poem in your pocket
Pocket poems
Wonderful words

Friday, March 31, 2017

Celebrating Life's Ordinary Moments

It feels great to be back to this humble, little blog of mine that I so long ago named, "Mrs. Merrill's Book Break". Here's a link to one of my first posts that introduces and explains why I wanted to keep a blog to begin with. Over the years, I have changed and grown and at times I've not published anything here. Although, my thoughts are not shifting in terms of the content that I share, I am thinking in terms of the structure. Basically, I've come to realize that this is a place for me to share my passion for literacy and celebrating not only the "bigger" or perhaps more "profound" ideas and thought, but to simply record MY "little moments," or what some may find to be "ordinary," but I find to be joyous, make my heart happy, and make me smile!

After a very difficult year in terms of my health, I've truly come to appreciate (even more so than I had before), life's little joys. Especially when it has come to reading - since at times, what has always been a part of daily life, was not possible for me to do or when it was possible to pick up a book, it was a real challenge.  So, let's not take for granted the small moments or the words and stories that can do so much for our souls.

I have found some peace in reading Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's beautiful poem, "Healer."  You too, can read it by visiting The Poem Farm.  Amy is hosting Poetry Friday at The Poem Farm. Please visit to see all the others out there who are celebrating life's poetry moments - both big and small. Click here,