Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Jane Yolen once again pairs up with her son, Jason Stemple, to create a breathtaking book of poetry, A Mirror to Nature.  What I love most about Jane Yolen's poetry is how provocative it is and how she doesn't dumb down the vocabulary just because she writes for children.  What better way is there to build the pragamatic cueing system than to read, discuss, talk about, and ponder a piece of Jane Yolen's poetry?

     I think this book (and her other collaborations with her son) are surperb invitations for writers to observe... and to realize that poetry is found everywhere.  Jane makes note of the fact that her son's photos show double images, causing readers to see things in new ways and from different points of view.  And, Jane Yolen crafts poetry to match each photograph simply and eloquently...
     When we're teaching our children to reflect as readers, writers, mathematicians, etc. this would be the perfect book to use as a visual reminder that the reflection portion of the workshop model is about seeing yourself in a new way... thinking about how things look differently based on your learning for today.  I'm going to use it for that purpose, to help my students understand the point of reflection as part of our daily workshops.
     This book could also work as mentor text for a study of writing the world (Don Graves reminds us to read the world... now write the world).  Jane Yolen helps us do that - brilliantly.  
     But, mostly I think children will love to play with Jane's words in their head, look closely at the wonderful photographs, and enjoy this poetic look at nature. 

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