Sunday, August 15, 2010

16th August Beatrice Schenk de Regniers (1914 - 2000)



As teachers we have a lot to thank Beatrice Schenk de Regniers for as she was the first editor of Scholastic's Lucky Book Club. She was committed to ensuring children had books to read at prices they could afford. She negotiated with Scholastic to work four days and have a day off to do her own writing. Her picture book May I Bring a Friend won the Caldecott Medal in 1965.

Beatrice Schenk de Regniers was also committed to poetry. When I started teaching I had this small book of poetry called Poems Children Will Sit Still For and it was failproof. It did not matter what I shared with a class from this book it always worked. Well Beatrice and her fellow colleagues on the Lucky Book Club staff had collected those poems and published it as a book. Years later the collection was re-imaged, renamed Sing a Song of Popcorn, illustrated by nine Caldecott Medal winning illustrators and reissued. Beatrice has written the introduction in this anthology and here she has this wise message..."To my mind, a poem is not completed until it is read aloud...it seems to me that the full power of a poem - the jazzy rhythms, the lyrical cadence, the dance of the language, the sheer pleasure of fooling around with sound and meaning - can be fully appreciated only if the poem is read aloud."

One of her poems, If We Walked on Our Hands is on page 105 of this book. This is the first verse:

If we walked on our hands
instead of our feet
And we all ate paper
instead of meat
What a mixed-up place this world would be.
What a mixed-up
fixed-up
topsy-turvy
sit-u-a-tion.

2 comments:

  1. I loved this poem so much as a child. I first remember reading it in Highlights Magazine when I was little. It made me laugh and kept me interested. Such great memories. :)

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