My selection is "River of words : young poets and artists on the nature of things" edited by Pamela Michael and introduced by Robert Hass.
The book takes its title from the nonprofit organization founded by Pamela Michael and Robert Hass, former U.S. Poet Laureate. River of Words sponsors an international poetry and art contest for children K-12 to promote more environmental awareness through the study of local watersheds.
In reading Pamela Michael's preface, I was struck by one sentence "We (Michael and Hass) sought to nurture creativity and promote the idea that while not everyone can be an artist, everyone can be artistic."
Here are a couple of examples:
Oh sun. Oh sun.
Oh sun. How does
it feel to be
blocked by the
dark dark clouds?
it doesn't really
feel bad at all
not at all not at
all not at all
Nicholas Sanz-Gould, age 6
The Buttery sun rays
tickle the left-over platters of
washed clean of their troubles
lay beaten and crippled
trampled by November's soggy shoes
Shallin Ris, age 14
Another of my favorites, too long to be reproduced here, is "Invitation" by Valerie Madamba, age 17
Certainly, River of Words has succeeded in its mission and this book would be a wonderful inspiration for students as teachers strive toward a similar goal of encouraging and developing artistic abilities in the classroom.
Vibrant artwork from realistic to abstract is an invitation to explore both words and images.
It is interesting to note that the poems are grouped by the bioregion represented by the work in the U.S. or designated as International rather than by the locality of the poet.