About the Holiday
The Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996 to promote the enjoyment and awareness of poetry. Over the 20 years since its beginning, National Poetry Month has become the largest literary event in the world. Schools, poets, booksellers, and publishers all hold special events to honor the vital place of this well-loved art form in our culture.
Celebrate the month by attending poetry readings, reading poems by your favorite author or discovering a new poet, and creating your own poetry!
When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
Written by Julie Fogliano | Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Sometimes you wish for just the right words to express a moment in time, a skip of the heart, or a glimpse of color that truly captures the elation, sadness, or awe you feel. Those words live on every page of When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons. Each season omonth of the year is represented by three to five dated poems that expose a nugget of inspiration or a spark of recognition about the natural world and our place in it.
Spring is revealed as chilly, rainy, and blooming with early flowers:
march 26: “shivering and huddled close / the forever rushing daffodils / wished they had waited”
Summer brings swimming, tomatoes, and deep dark nights:
“a star is someone else’s sun / more flicker glow than blinding / a speck of light too far for bright / and too small to make a morning”
Fall is a time for sweaters, pumpkins, and falling leaves:
“more silent than something / much noisier than nothing / the last leaf / when it landed / made a sort of sound / that no one knew they heard”
Winter is quiet, cozy fireplaces, and snow, snow, snow:
“as if one day, the mountain decides / to put on its white furry hat / and call it winter”
“and i woke / to a morning / that was quiet / and white / the first snow / (just like magic) came / on tiptoes / overnight”
The volume begins and ends with a poem dated the same day—March 20, the vernal equinox—giving this book a cyclical form that echoes the passing of time. To accompany Julie Fogliano’s beautiful poems, Julie Morstad has created gorgeous watercolors of children experiencing each day and the changes they bring. The soft, matte pages enhance the colors of each season and the quiet reflections these poems offer.
Ages 6 and up (adults will enjoy these poems too)
Roaring Brook Press, 2016 | ISBN 978-1596438521
National Poetry Month Activity
Grow a Poem
A poem often grows in your imagination like a beautiful plant—starting from the seed of an idea, breaking through your consciousness, and growing and blooming into full form. With this craft you can create a unique poem that is also an art piece!
- Printable Leaves Template, available here and on the blog post
- Printable Flower Template, available here and on the blog post
- Wooden dowel, ½-inch diameter, available in craft or hardware stores
- Green ribbon
- Green craft paint
- Green paper if leaves will be preprinted
- Colored paper if flowers will be preprinted
- Flower pot or box
- Oasis, clay, or dirt
- Hole punch
- Markers or pens for writing words
- Crayons or colored pencils if children are to color leaves and flowers
- Paint the dowel green, let dry
- Print the leaves and flower templates
- Cut out the leaves and flowers
- Punch a hole in the bottom of the leaves or flowers
- Write words, phrases, or full sentences of your poem on the leaves and flowers (you can also write the poem after you have strung the leaves and flowers)
- String the leaves and flowers onto the green ribbon (if you want the poem to read from top to bottom string the words onto the ribbon in order from first to last)
- Attach the ribbon to the bottom of the pole with glue or tape
- Wrap the ribbon around the pole, leaving spaces between the ribbon
- Gently arrange the leaves and flowers so they stick out from the pole or look the way you want them to.
- Put oasis or clay in the flower pot or box
- Stick your poem pole in the pot
- Display your poem!