12 April Celebrations + a Birthday!

In The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations,
you’ll find April poems about:

National Poetry Month
Arab American Heritage Month
International Children’s Book Day
Metric System Day
Week of the Young Child
National Library Week
D.E.A.R. Day
National Coin Week
Earth Day
Poem in Your Pocket Day
International Dance Day
Día/Children’s Day, Book Day
and a Birthday!

Poem in Your Pocket Day falls on a different day in April each year, set by the Academy of American Poets several months in advance—but many schools and libraries provide poems for children’s (and adults’) pockets all month long! Here’s a poem to get you started, in English and in Spanish. (And here’s a Picture Book Pairing for you, too: A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara.)

April Highlights

National Library Week

Fly into your library during National Library Week (April 19-25, 2020; April 5-9, 2021)! Learn more about the festivities at the American Library Association (ALA) website and share this poem by Ted Scheu!

Picture Book Pairing: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

D.E.A.R. Day

April 12 is D.E.A.R. Day: Drop Everything And Read. You’ll find a perfect poem for this day, “Stop! Let’s Read” by Kristy Dempsey, in The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations!

Picture Book Pairing: Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein

Día/Children’s Day, Book Day

What will you do to celebrate Día/Children’s Day, Book Day? Whatever you decide, make sure you include some clapping, tapping, and snapping when you read this poem by Pat Mora, the founder of Día. 

Picture Book Pairing: Book Fiesta! Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El dia de los ninos/El dia de los libros (Bilingual Spanish-English) by Pat Mora (and follow with Bookjoy, Wordjoy, also by Pat Mora)

In Celebration of Arab American Heritage Month

Arab culture taught me to love nature. So I bring to my writing and my audiences all sorts of trees blooming, birds singing, the sun, the sea, the mountains, butterflies, flowers, twigs, fires, rain, thunder . . . Nature is part of my inner world, not only outside. As a child in Palestine, I had no toys, but I had the outdoors and language as great friends. In one elementary school textbook, everyone read a story about an old man who was busy planting trees. When asked why he was doing that even though he probably will not live to taste the fruits of those trees, he replied: “someone in the past planted so that I may find the ripe fruits of their labor. I am planting so that someone else in the future may find the ripe fruits of my field.”

So when it was Tree Day celebration, a day we remembered and celebrated in our schools, I chose a fig tree to plant. I wanted to share with others, especially the birds that nest on fig trees, a taste I loved. The fig tree is sacred for Muslims. It is mentioned in the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, with Allah mentioning it before the olive tree. When I came to America, even though I spoke the language, and knew where to go and what to do, walking the streets not knowing the names of the trees reflected to me strongly that I was in a new place. Not even one fig or olive tree could be seen for miles or months. Only after knowing the names of the trees, animals, and birds could I feel at home. But the fig tree will give me roots always. Right here in the middle of America where I live, I raise two fig trees. They are growing in my living room. They have names and I maintain a conversation with them. And in the summer, I set aside a little budget to buy many packages of fresh figs when they are in the specialized grocery store. Sometimes one small fresh fig costs a dollar. I stand there debating quietly. I end up telling myself that it is not only a fruit, but medicine for the part of me that is homesick. My health insurance plan does not cover homesickness. So I buy the figs.    —Ibtisam Barakat