Friday, February 24, 2012

Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year--A Book by Janet Wong

2012 is a big election year. Television news programs are filled with reports and discussions about the state of this country, the incumbent President, Republican presidential candidates and their debates, state primaries, caucuses, and straw polls. Nearly every day, we’re informed about new survey polls and which candidate seems to be most popular with voters.
All these election year subjects make for excellent classroom discussions in the months prior to the November elections. Wouldn’t it be great for teachers to have a book of poems that could spark those discussions?
I’m happy to announce that my good friend Janet Wong, a well-known children’s author and award-winning poet, has just published a collection of poems titled Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year.

In her Author’s Note, Wong talks of how our civil liberties “give us voice.” We have freedom of speech in this country. We can speak out. We can demonstrate. We can picket.

Following is a description of Janet’s book that was posted on the website of Richard C. Owen Publishers.

This limited-edition paperback version of Janet Wong's Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year features 20 political poems for young people about a wide variety of topics, including kids' rights as voters, the election process, presidential debates, and more.

Many of the poems are humorous and can be shared with children as young as second grade, while still being engaging for adults and teens.

An author's note urges readers to become politically aware and involved in their communities, and A Voter's Journal at the end of the book will inspire discussion and fun and meaningful writing about civic issues.

Some would say that with our freedoms comes a responsibility to respect the thoughts and speech of others—and to respect our differences. Declaration of Interdependence opens with a poem titled Liberty that touches on that:

I pledge acceptance
of the views,
so different,
that make us America

To listen, to look,
to think, and to learn

One people
sharing the earth
for liberty
and justice
for all.

Our students should learn about our Constitution and the Bill of Rights in school. Here’s Janet’s humorous poem on that subject:

When the teacher
asked about the Bill of Rights
my friend said:

Is that when
you get charged
for Free speech?

Here is a clever poem to introduce a discussion on primaries and caucuses and their differences using analogies that children can relate to:

Voting in a primary
is a multiple choice test—
simple subtraction
and process of elimination.
Shhhh! No talking!

Voting at a caucus
is a math contest
with a lot of word problems.
Convince the others
you know the answer.

The back matter of the book includes A Voter’s Journal and Discussion Guide. It provides some excellent ideas for activities and discussions. Here is an example:

Ask your grandparents, parents, another family member, or neighbor about an election that was important to them.

Be sure to visit TheDeclaration of Interdependence Blog--a community dedicated to exploring topics raised in DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE: Poems for an Election Year.

NOTE: Richard C. Owen Publishers will send you a free copy of The Declaration of Interdependence if you purchase a copy of its book Before It Wriggles—Janet Wong’s autobiography!

 Click here to find out more about the free book offer—which is good until the end of February.


I have five copies of Janet Wong’s Declaration of Interdependence to give away. All you need to do to qualify for the book giveaway is to leave a comment at this post. I’ll put the names of everyone who posts a comment in a hat and draw the five winners next Friday.

Jone is hosting the Poetry Friday Roundup at Check It Out.


jama said...

Thanks for sharing these sample poems and telling us more about Janet's new collection. She always has the best ideas :).

Linda B said...

Wow, Elaine, this looks wonderful. I will be sure to send your post to our staff to see if anyone would like it, plus the link you gave, and will certainly try to get the library to purchase it. I might purchase the biography. I have several & have used them often as mentor texts for writing. Thanks for a great post!

Jeannine Atkins said...

Oh, those poems made me smile and think. Yes, Janet is amazing. I didn't know about that biography either, which I'm sure is pretty cool. So much to find and read! And I'm not bemoaning the lack of snow, but somehow it seems to have made the months fly even faster, and I feel so far behind with reading.

enough rambling complaints. Thanks for posting about these books, Elaine!

Linda said...

Janet is one of my favorite poets. I learn so much from reading her poems. I just finished reading her verse novel Minn and Jake. Thanks for telling us about this new collection.

Tabatha said...

What a timely book! I love how poetry helps us understand everything a little bit better. "Liberty" seems like a great poem to memorize. Thanks for letting us know about the biography, too.

Gail Aldous said...

Thank you for sharing some of Janet Wong's poems from her new book. I love Janet Wong's poetry!

Janet Wong said...

What Elaine hasn't mentioned is that she was instrumental in providing feedback and helping to shape this book. One example: in an earlier draft of "Seed Speech" I wrote, "There are no stupid ideas." Elaine shot back: "Yes there are! What about Gingrich's plan to replace janitors with kids who attend those schools?!"

Thanks for your comments, everyone, and good luck in the drawing for the free books!

Ed DeCaria said...

As I was clicking link-to-link at Janet's website I happened to catch the poem “How Do You Choose?” from her Poetry Suitcase. Very clever little poem.

Thanks for providing this review, Elaine.

-Ed D.