Thursday, August 8, 2019

Lee Bennett Hopkins: Good Books, Good Times

Welcome to Poetry Friday. This week's round up is hosted by  Molly at Nix the Comfort Zone. Please click over to savor all of this week's poetry goodness.

I had originally planned something else for today's post, but then I heard that the world lost Lee, and everything else seemed less. I never had the pleasure of meeting Lee in person. We conversed a bit on social media, but mostly I was just a huge fan. Today's post is for celebrating the life and work of the greatest poet I've ever known. Lee's talent was immeasurable and his prolific work seems boundless. How lucky are we to have such an incredible legacy of expertly weaved words and wisdom. Today, I simply share one of my favorites that seems oh so perfect. He put so much GOOD into this world. 

Good Books, Good Times
by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Good books.
Good times.
Good stories.
Good rhymes.

Good beginnings.
Good ends.
Good people.
Good friends.

Good fiction.
Good facts.
Good adventures.
Good acts.

Good stories.
Good rhymes.
Good books.
Good times.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Poetry Friday: A Found Spider Web Haiku

Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week's round up is hosted by Margaret Simon at Reflctions on the Teche blog. This week, Margaret shares a lovely poem she created as a result of an exercise from the book, STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST. Be sure to click over to enjoy that poem and all of this week's other poetry goodness.

My post this week is in response to Linda Mitchell's Today's Little Ditty Challenge to create a "found haiku" from phrases taken from an article that fascinates us. I recently wanted to learn a bit more about spider webs, so I read this article. I pulled three phrases from the article with just the right syllable counts to create my new "found haiku." This web on some bushes in my front yard also served as inspiration.

                             Half as strong as steel
                      Silk produced from spinnerets
                              All done by instinct

           Copyright 2019 Kimberly M. Hutmacher

Be sure to check out Michelle's padlet with all of the contributions that have been made to this month's challenge.

One last thing! We've added a few more videos and support materials over at STEAM Powered Poetry. Be sure to pop over and check it out, and thanks again for all the likes, shares, and love you've given to our new endeavor. We truly appreciate it.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Poetry Friday: Be changed

Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week's round up is hosted by Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect blog. Be sure to click over to enjoy all of this week's poetry goodness.

A few weeks ago, Linda, at A Word Edgewise, not only hosted poetry friday, she also hosted a clunker swap. Linda shared a list of poetry lines that didn't go anywhere for her (clunkers). Those participating, were asked to take a clunker and leave one behind. One poet's clunker can be another's treasure. I chose the line, Be changed

Some of you know that I babysit my granddaughter while my daughter works and goes to school. When she's with me, I try to plan preschool lessons for us revolving around specific themes. It just so happened that this week's theme was butterflies. Butterflies provided the perfect inspiration for a Be changed poem.

Be Changed, Be You
by Kimberly M. Hutmacher

Be changed
tiny egg
perched upon that leaf.
Your time as an egg
will be so very brief.

Be changed
furry caterpillar,
eat and eat and eat.
Your time as a caterpillar
will be so very sweet.

Be changed
snuggled chrysalis
wrapped in your coccoon.
Your time as a chrysalis
is ending very soon.

Be you
beautiful butterfly
billowing in the breeze.
Don't change beautiful butterfly-
please, please, please!

Copyright 2019

One last thing! If you happen to have a subscription to Children's Book Insider, check out this month's issue and the article I contributed, "Challenge Accepted."

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Poetry Friday: Be Grateful

Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week's round up is hosted by Buffy Silverman. Be sure to check out her lovely review of "Hello, I'm Here!" by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder.

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes asked Charlesbridge editor, Karen Boss, to issue this month's Ditty Challenge. Karen challenged us to write a poem in 2nd person offering advice to a child. Today, I'm sharing my two cents.

Be Grateful
by Kimberly M. Hutmacher

For each new sunrise
that comes your way.
For the opportunities
of each new day.

For family that loves you
more than you could know.
For loyal friendships 
you sew and grow.

For a home that shelters,
keeps you safe and sound.
For your treasures lost
that have been found.

For food and drink
and special sweet treats.
For air conditioning
and furnace for heat.

For the chance to learn
and go to school.
For summers spent splashing
in a swimming pool.

For medicine for when
you're feeling queasy.
For amazing days
when life is easy.

Even on bad days
that are hard and rough,
remember this poem
and all the good stuff.

Copyright 2019

In other poetry news, my S.T.E.A.M. Powered Poetry partner, Heidi Bee Roemer, and I have been busily adding new videos, acitivites, and book lists to the site. Be sure to click over to check it out. We are also hosting a video contest for next year's poems. Here are the details:
EDU Contest CALL: Pre-Service Teachers, Librarians, & Media Specialists
With an offer of cash prizes, Heidi Bee Roemer, children's author/poet and creator of the vlog, "S.T.E.A.M. Powered Poetry Videos for Pk-8," is hosting the Second Annual Poetry-Video Contest for College Students. Heidi seeks to enlist a Professor of English or Education or Information to oversee a classroom contest among their pre-service teachers or school media specialists. Ms. Roemer will provide guidelines and a packet of S.T.E.A.M. children’s poems. Contestants can choose a poem and create a short, core-curriculum based video which will be of use in their future classrooms or libraries. First prize is $100, Second, $50, and Third, $25. All entries of good quality will be posted on Heidi's vlog: For details and guidelines, email Heidi at
We truly appreciate all of the likes, shares, and love you've given us on social media. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Poetry Friday: Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop

Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week's round up is hosted by Linda at A Word Edgewise blog. Please click over to read all of this week's poetry goodness.

You may remember several weeks ago I reviewed A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS by Alice Faye Duncan. This week, I'm gushing over Faye Duncan's MEMPHIS, MARTIN, AND THE MOUNTAINTOP. This book tells the true story of the last days of Martin Luther King through the eyes of a fictional little girl named Lorraine Jackson. Lorraine's father is a sanitation worker in Memphis, Tennessee. Two of his fellow workers are killed on the job by old equipment that city bosses refuse to maintain and fix. The sanitation worker's union tries to fight for better wages and working conditions, but the mayor refuses to acknowledge the union. Outraged by the deaths of their fellow workers, the sanitation employees agree to strike. The strike eventually gets the attention of Dr. King. He agrees to come to Memphis to walk with protesters. While there, he delivers his famous, "I've Been To The Mountaintop" sermon. Sadly, Dr. King was assassinated outside of his hotel room the next day. His inspiring words carried striking workers forward in protest, and it wasn't long after that the strike was settled with help from the intervention of President Lyndon B. Johnson. 

Alice Faye Duncan's lyrical and vivid language and R. Gregory Christie's illustrations bring this story to life. It's no wonder that this book was chosen as 2019 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book, an SLJ Best Book Of The Year, and A Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book. If it's not already on your school or library bookshelf, please don't hesitate. It's not only a great addition to any civil rights collection, it's an inspiring story of perseverance- a beautifully written reminder to never stop fighting for what you believe in. I'll leave you with the words on the last page of the book:


Dream big.
Walk tall.
Be strong.
March on.
Don't quit.
Never stop.
Climb up the MOUNTAINTOP! 

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Poetry Friday: Walls

Welcome to Poetry Friday! This week's round up is hosted by A Year of Reading blog. Please click over to read all of this week's poetry goodness.

Laura Purdie Salas hosts a 15 Words or Less Poetry Challenge each Thursday. Laura posts a photo and asks participants to write a poem- 15 words or less- inspired by what they see. It's meant to be a little poetry warm-up for the day. Yesterday's poem was a mural of Prince. I was inpsired by his eyes and by the brick wall. It made me think about the young person from my small town who took his own life a few weeks ago. He was the third young person to take his life in the last 2 1/2 years in our tiny little town. The sign you see on your way into our town says, "The Little Town With The Big Heart." But right now, we're the little town with the big broken heart. My heart aches for  the pain this young man felt and for the pain his family and friends are left with. I went over the 15 word limit, but here's my poem.

by Kimberly M. Hutmacher

You build your wall,
brick by brick.
Shutting me out.
I know you're sick.

You think I can't see.
You think I don't know.
You think I don't care.
You think I'll let go.

Don't look away.
Look in my eyes.
They see your pain.
Your silent cries.

Take down your wall,
brick by brick.
Let me in.
I know you're sick.

Let me help.
Let me stay.
Let me hold
your hand today.

Copyright 2019

If you know of someone who is in crisis, please share the following information with them and/or their family and friends.

Text HOME to 741741
24 hours a day 7 days a week
for crisis support in the U.S.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Poetry Friday: A Song For Gwendolyn Brooks

Welcome, once again, to Poetry Friday! This week's round up host is Margaret Simon at Reflections on the Teche blog. Be sure to click over to read all of this week's poetry goodness.

Michelle at 
Today's Little Ditty blog spent National Poetry Month interviewing a plethora of talented poets. At the end of the month, Michelle randomly chose winners to receive copies of books written by her featured guests. One of those featured was Alice Faye Duncan. Because I'm an Illinois native and grew up enjoying Gwendolyn Brook's poetry at school, I was especially excited to learn that I had won a digital copy of Faye Duncan's A Song For Gwendolyn Brooks.

Although I had read plenty of Brook's work, I really didn't know too much about her early life. A Song For Gwendolyn Brooks takes readers back to her early days growing up on Chicago's south side, a beloved daughter to parents who nurtured and encouraged her love for writing poetry. Brooks was often allowed to skip chores to work on her craft, and when one of her teachers doubted that she had written something sumitted for an assignment, Brook's mother marched to the school and proclaimed her daughter's innocence and talent. The poem I'm sharing this week is one that Gwendolyn wrote in response to this experience:

If others neglect you,
Forget; do not sigh,
For, after all, they'll select you
In times by and by.
If their taunts cut and hurt you,
They are sure to regret.
And if in time, they desert you,
Forgive and forget.

As the book moves forward chronologically, we see Gwendolyn grow in confidence. We see her study and learn from other great poets of the time. We see her talent explode and flourish and watch her collect the first ever Pulitzer Prize given to a black American.

This lyrical biography is a lovely mix of Faye Duncan's bluesy rhythm with Brook's own poetic voice dotted throughout. This book is an insightful introduction to one of the world's greatest poets, and it should be on the shelf in every elementary school library.