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Sunday, October 14, 2018

WITH MY HANDS by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Can't believe it's been a month since I have blogged! I have had rough spells, but I am pretty sure this is a record for me. Can I blame the beginning of the school year and 67 sixth graders??? Anyway, I'm back at it now. I'm a CYBILS poetry judge, so from now until the end of December, you can expect a whole lot of poetry books and novels in verse.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater's WITH MY HANDS: POEMS ABOUT MAKING THINGS is up first. The book, which debuted in March, begins with the poem, "Maker."

"Maker"
I am a maker.

I am making
something new
with my hands
my head
my heart.

That's what makers do.

A maker starts with
empty space
ideas
hopes
and stuff.

A maker
pushes
through mistakes.
A maker
must be tough.

A maker is a tinkerer.
A maker
will explore.

A maker
creates something new
that
never
was before.

WITH MY HANDS goes on to celebrate the joy of creating. There are poems for artists, for builders, for bakers, for sewers, actually twenty different poems about things to do or make - painting, clay, birdhouses, snowflakes, piƱatas, parachutes, boats, cards, knot, soap carving, tie-dye, collage, spaceship, sock puppet, cookies, leaf pictures, a fort, origami,  knitting, a shadow show. 

I had a hard time choosing poems to highlight. A couple that I loved:

"Tie-Dye Shirt"
I made a tie dye.
Didn't buy it.
Twisted
Tied it
Dipped it.
Dyed it.
Rinsed.
Untied it.
Shook it.
Dried it.
Wore it.

Try it!


"Parachute"
I cut a parachute from plastic
tied my guy on with elastic
threw him from a window (drastic)
watched him drift to earth-- fantastic!

"Cookies"
You're not even looking
but you know
we have been cooking
for we're filling
up the kitchen
with a smell
of something good.
We are stirring
hands aflutter
mixer whirring
eggs and butter.
We resemble
clouds of flour
(as two
busy bakers should).
And these goodies
we are making
were a batter.
Now they're baking
into cookies.
Will you help us
eat them up?

We knew you would.

Should I admit this book made me a little nostalgic? When I was a little girl, I was constantly making something-- water color paintings, bean pictures, clothes for my dolls, a carnival.  My boys were always digging, building, cutting, drawing, baking.

I don't see kids doing as much of that anymore and it makes me sad. I envision this book opening up whole new worlds-- I hope it would cause kids to say, "Could I really make/do that?" I envision myself putting this book at a center in an elementary grade classroom, along with all kinds of "making" materials. I also think it would be a terrific Christmas gift- along with a box of things to use for making- yarn, googly eyes, markers, construction paper, beads, etc.

Thanks, Amy, for another terrific offering to the world of children's poetry!

1 comment:

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater said...

Thank you so much, Carol, for this lovely review! You and I had the same childhood! I still love making things and find that children do too. There is a feeling of accomplishment like no other when your hands make something new. Happy reading! xx