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Did you know that this month is National Poetry Month? Isn't there something about the bursting promise of springtime that brings out the urge to read and write poetry? April is a great time to pull out the books, paper and pen and follow your muse. I'm also hosting STEM Friday on Friday, so I thought I would put the two together and celebrate all the ways to mix science, STEM and poetry this week.poppy-purple

Activity 1. Write a STEM Haiku

Anastasia has suggestions for writing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math-based haiku at the STEM Friday blog. Be sure to visit to see what others are sharing and perhaps share yours as well.

Haiku is a type of poem that helps the writer because it usually has a defined number of syllables per line and only three lines. The pattern is first line containing five syllables, second line with seven syllables and third line with five syllables.

Here's an example I wrote about the giant squid last year:

Search for sea monster
Giant squid swimming so deep
Tentacle comes up

2. Read some science-related poetry books.

I recently talked to a children's librarian who was lamenting that there were some fabulous poetry books for children, but they often were left on the shelf, undiscovered. This may be because the poetry books, regardless of their subject matter, all get lumped in the literature section around the Dewey Decimal classification 811. If you are looking for a particular subject, like science, it is easy to miss the poetry options.

Let's dig up some of the hidden science poetry treasures. Throughout the week I will be making suggestions and posting lists of science-related poetry books.

For example, Spectacular Science: A Book of Poems compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Virginia Halstead is a collection of poems that explore science through many different voices; some witty, some calm, and some contemplative. Concepts covered include magnets, the states of water and how a prism works.


Although poems are typically short and easy to read, they tend to work for a wider range of ages and reading levels than most fiction picture books. This can be a real advantage when working with mixed age/grade groups.

Do you have a favorite science-related poetry book? I'd love to hear about it.

Spectacular Science: A Book of Poems compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Virginia Halstead

Age Range: 5 and up
Paperback: 40 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (July 1, 2002)
ISBN-10: 0689851200
ISBN-13: 978-0689851209

Isn't it amazing where a good book can take you?

For STEM Friday today we are going to take part in a blog tour for two great books from Peachtree Publishers: Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale and A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Higgins Bond.


Because both these books stand on their own, I'm going to do separate posts for each and use this post as a jumping off point to help you find the links as they go live. Enjoy!

A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart is a wonderful choice for Earth Day. Learn more about turtles at Growing With Science. See Wrapped in Foil for an expanded review.

Stripes of All Types by Susan Stockdale builds a bridge between art, poetry and science. Peek at the science behind the stripes at Growing with Science. See a review and activity suggestions at Wrapped in Foil.

See an interview with Susan Stockdale at Sally's Bookshelf and an interview with illustrator Higgins Bond at Archimedes Notebook.

The Peachtree Publishers blog has a round up of all the participants in the blog tour.


Come visit the STEM Friday blog each week to find more great Science, Technology, Engineering and Math books.

If you are looking for some books that aren’t the usual fare, why not try some science/nature themed poetry? Here are a few that deserve to be a part of every home library.

If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky and Ted Rand (Illustrator)

A friend of mine recently showed me this book, written all in haiku. Although that might sound about as exciting as bread molding, this is an incredible book. The vocabulary is stimulating, and the illustrations are superb. I would say this book would be acceptable as a read aloud for younger children and definitely would be a book your children would return to again and again. Although the cat is the title, most of the poems involve creatures from nature.

insectlopedia by Douglas Florian

My son’s first grade teacher gave a copy of this book to my son and he still cherishes it. I love the fact it is accurate and insightful, as well as creatively fun. And yes, the title is supposed to be in lower case.

mammalabilia by Douglas Florian

Douglas Florian actually has a whole series of poetry books, so if your child isn’t interested in insects, try some of the others.

in the swim by Douglas Florian

The review of this book says: “Even the most educated marine biologist could learn something from this whimsical, beautifully illustrated collection of 21 poems about sea life.”

Math Talk: Mathematical Ideas in Poems for Two Voices by Theoni Pappas

Although not a science book, per se, if you like poems for two voices, this is another fun one.

Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out by Ralph Fletcher

This book is a great resource for older children (and even adults) who are interested in writing poetry. If every school used this book to teach poetry, I am positive that poetry would be everyone’s favorite subject.

Finally, if you want to learn more about nature/science poetry, try The Miss Rumphius Effect website.

Hope you enjoy some poetry today!