photo copyrighted to Jan La Roche, 2011

This book, written with Siyu Liu, coming soon in a digital version.

Poems by my students will inspire yours. Contact me about coming to your school or library.
Please fill out the form below to send me a message. You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter, as well as on the Facebook page for A Word's a Bird, my bilingual poetry app (English/​French) with animated watercolors by Jeanne B. de Sainte Marie:

Model Poems

I read model student poems to inspire my students. I have high expectations and the children never fail to astonish me. They have poetry in them. My job is just to create the right soil and conditions where it can grow. You can read other poems by my students scattered throughout this website. Here's one of my favorites, inspired by my poetry app, A Word's a Bird (see link below the poem). It was written by a 6th grade girl, a native speaker of Spanish, during my workshop at her school:

My Shell

I’m the caterpillar waiting to become,
waiting under a shell of peace and sorrow.
Seeing the light from my small winter prison
high on the barren tree,
I wait for the sun’s gentle hand to wake me.

I hear the sad lonely melody
of the moon’s violin playing every night,
as if her heart was broken by the darkness
of the small river’s troubles.

Yet I wait with the hope that the storm will pass
and that the sky will shine like the phoenix’s golden feathers.
But all I see is a cloud of the earth’s hopeless melancholy.

Ah! Then I see the ocean’s shiny leaves,
and the spring’s rose has bloomed.
Now the sun has returned, I’m free from my prison.
I’m now the butterfly of happiness.

-- Montserrat Deolarte, grade 6, Marymount School, Paris, France


Selected Works

iPad App, Poetry
"A Word's a Bird slows down the frantic speed of most apps for children to fit the slower pace of Nature. The beauty of the illustrations, the meticulous work of the artists, and the interactive play combine to make a wondrous learning experience, a terrific way to expose children to poetry, art and Nature itself."
--Billy Collins, Poet Laureate
of the United States from 2001-2003

"A truly enchanting and poetic journey, this application is a treat for the eyes and ears..."
-- iPadou

“In perhaps the app’s most engaging feature, tapping out any melody on the lilies causes the ducklings to mimic it.”
--Kirkus Reviews
Picture book (ages 4-7)
"Replete with scat-y, cat-and-mouse–y wordplay, this is giggle-worthy fun."
--Kirkus Reviews
"The hip rhythms and tongue-twisting humor in this jazzy, poetic, fun-to-read-aloud book make it a keeper your child will want to read over and over again."
--Cricket Magazine online
— “Getting the beat and the tongue-twisting phrases just right takes some practice, but the outcome is well worth the effort.”
--SLJ
— "Children will cheer for this rascally oddball rebel."
--Booklist

Thelonious Mouse got his name from the great American jazz composer and pianist, Thelonious Monk. This jazzy mouse risks his tail and more to fierce Fat Cat, because Thelonious has “too much music in him to stuff into a mouse hole.” Yet beneath the sometimes scary hilarity, young readers discover a vital message: It takes courage to be all we can be.

Thelonious Monk showed that creative courage all his life, persevering with his unique style of music when others called him “eccentric.” He was also a devoted family man, who composed songs for his son and daughter.
Poetry
Orel Protopopescu is a poet of lyrical mastery and ease—and this, her initial volume of verse!
--Vince Clemente
Poetry and history (grades 5 and up)
Thirty-five poems, from the Han dynasty to the modern era, in English and Chinese. “It's about as close to Chinese literature as young English-speaking readers can get.”
--School Library Journal

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