Poetry Friday & Back to School

poetry friday logoMary Lee Hahn is rounding up this week’s posts over at A Year of Reading.

Though the heat index was 100 degrees today, it’s back-to-school time for Mississippi kids. Summer is over, but the weather hasn’t gotten the message!

(Does anyone else remember dressing up in “fall” clothes or the first day back to school, only to sweat the day away? I was such a dork.)

I constructed this very short poem in my head while driving home from work today to celebrate Colston’s first day of first grade. (His mother tells me he had a good day. I love that his sister insisted on being in the photo too. She’s such a ham.) My goal is to capture the excitement of all the new things, but the relief of finding a familiar face.

Colston & Annabella, 2014
Colston & Annabella, 2014

Back To School

by Keri Collins Lewis

New backpack, new lunchbox,

new pencils, new pens.

New classmates, new teachers,

new textbooks, old friends.

It’s inspired by (but not as long as) Lee Bennett Hopkins’ poem, “Good Books, Good Times!” Here is reciting his poem on Youtube/Renee LaTulippe’s blog, No Water River.

Author: Keri

21 thoughts on “Poetry Friday & Back to School

  1. It doesn’t have to be as long as Lee’s classic — it’s just as perfect!

    And yes, I always dressed in my new school clothes — corduroy pants, long sleeves — and regretted it.

    1. Thanks, Tabatha! I often hate to post poems I haven’t stewed over because I lack confidence in them, so I appreciate your kind reassurance.

  2. Keri, I can picture your LBH-inspired poem on the refrigerator, a la Mary Lee!

    Thanks so much for sharing this video of Lee Bennett Hopkins. He’s such a delight and inspiration.

    I remember my son’s first day of first grade in a new school. He came home and said he saw a lot of people he didn’t know, so he just tried to ignore them!! Yep. He turned out fine, though. 🙂

  3. Keri, you presented to the reader a delightful, concise poem about back to school that should be a treasure with young students. Thank you for sharing Lee Bennett Hopkins engaging poem and video about his back to school poem. I remember the first time I saw Lee present at a state reading conference. I was mesmerized by his exuberance for the poetic word and thrilled that he signed my book of his poetry. Good times remembered.

    1. Thanks, Robyn! Lee is AWESOME! He critiqued a manuscript of mine at SCBWI years ago and was very encouraging. I was *terrified* when I found out I was to meet with him. He was a joy to meet.

  4. Ah, yes, the first day of school in a long-sleeved shirt and a wool skirt. What was my mother thinking? All mothers back then made sure kids went to the first day of school in something brand spanking new. Unlike Mary Lee, we didn’t get to wear pants to school when I went! And never ever, would shorts have been allowed! We didn’t even have gym shorts, we had ridiculous puffy- bottomed belted gym suits! In maroon (school color). I’m so glad those days are gone.

  5. The poem is a perfect reassurance to take off that little edge of first-day nerves.

    Love your photo of excited little Colston. Makes me wish I could be with my grandkids in a few weeks (school here starts in September), when Grandson 1 starts Grade 1, Grandson 2 begins Kindergarten. Earth-changing days–worth dressing in new clothes, despite the heat!

    1. Yes, Violet, you said it perfectly — Earth-changing days. Your grandsons are at such fun ages and will grow so much this year. Hope you can visit soon!

  6. This will be a fun poem to share with our primary grade teachers. A perfect first day poem. And thanks for the added bonus of hearing Lee Bennett Hopkins read! And yes, I was one of those dressed up children sweating away the first day of school too. I particularly remember a purple corduroy skirt and long sleeved, button down color purple and orange dress shirt in sixth grade.

    1. Thank you, Carol! Sounds like you were very stylish on your first day back in 6th grade. I’d love a purple corduroy skirt . . . in 3 months.

  7. oooh, the smell of newly-sharpened pencils and the fresh books that haven’t been opened yet – first day high! 🙂 Thanks for this lovely poem and for sharing the video clip of Lee Bennett Hopkins – always a favourite.

    1. Yes, school supply shopping is the best. I bought some pens on impulse this year and love them, so I fear no matter how old I get the siren song of the supplies will lure me down the aisle!

  8. I agree with Tabatha, you found the heart in this one– such a clever little twist at the end.

  9. Love how Colston is holding a sign! Our middle son just had the first day of his senior year… TOO FAST, I say! Love your LBH-inspired poem! xo

  10. Love your poem! Yes, all the newness is so exciting, but the comfort of seeing last year’s friends tops it all.

  11. Back to school captured perfectly, Kerri! My girls have been back to school over a week – the weather indeed has not gotten the message. Thanks for sharing this gem. = )

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