One of the biggest challenges elementary and middle-school Spanish teachers face is finding quality content at the right level. Pomelo Books has published a wonderful anthology of Spanish poems for kids. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations is an amazing resource for teachers and parents.
Be sure to check out our poetry resource page Spanish Poems for Kids. It has more poems for children and information about sharing them with language learners. Also visit our Spanish Books for Kids Resource Page for reviews and activities for picture books.
Poetry Friday started in 2006 as a way to allow children to enjoy poetry on a regular basis. To that end, Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell have published several anthologies of poems for children in elementary school and middle school.
Their new book, The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations, is dual language, with 156 poems in English and 156 poems in Spanish. If you are looking for Spanish language material to use with children in class or at home, you are going to love this book!
In addition, audio tracks, in both English and Spanish, are available for 35 poems from this wonderful book. The poem recordings were made by David Bowles, Pura Belpré Honor Book winner for The Smoking Mirror, and a dozen of his students from the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV). This is a fabulous resource for language learners!
The audio is on Soundcloud and you can find them here: Bilingual Poem Performances from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations
Anthology of Spanish Poems for Kids
These are a few of the features of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations that make the Spanish poems for kids an excellent choice for language learners.
- The poems are short, accessible and interesting. This poetry is meant to be enjoyed by children ages 4-12. It is wonderfully appropriate for Spanish learners.
- There are Spanish poems for kids to fit every theme. The editors have tapped into dates to include relevant topics from the first day of spring to National Pet Week to World Egg Day. You can share the Spanish poems for kids in any order. I guarantee you will find material to fit your curriculum.
- The poems have an impressive cultural component to share with Spanish learners. In addition to poems about celebrations such as Día de Reyes and Día de los Muertos, you will find poems about pan dulce, piñatas and more.
- The content reflects our diversity. The poems include and embrace a wide range of ethnicities, religions and experiences. Children will find themselves and their classmates in this poetry.
- An amazing group of poets contributed to the collection. The anthology includes poems by award-winning authors Alma Flor Ada, Jorge Argueta, Margarita Engle, Pat Mora, Jack Prelutsky, Kenn Nesbitt, Marilyn Singer and many, many more.
- The Teacher/Librarian edition has a Take 5! mini-lesson for each poem. These 5 tips include suggestions for reading the poem aloud, ideas for engaging kids in reading the poem aloud, a discussion topic, a suggested picture book, and related poem titles.
The editors have generously given me permission to share a poem from the anthology here. While all the Spanish poems for kids are different and one poem can not represent an anthology, I do think this poem captures the tone of the collection. It will also give you an idea of the language level.
por Francisco X. Alarcón
el día domingo
lo pasamos en casa
de nuestros abuelitos
junto con tíos y tías
parientes y amigos
mientras los niños
nos ponemos a jugar
pelota en el jardín
los adultos por horas
comen y charlan todos
a la vez pero callan
cuando Abuelito cuenta
cómo un domingo conoció
a Abuelita en México
su cara entonces
reluce una sonrisa
radiante como el Sol
I recently had the pleasure of hearing Eric McHenry, the poet Laureate of Kansas, speak as part of a 100 Thousand Poets for Change celebration. He pointed out that often we are not patient enough with poetry. We listen to many songs and read many books. When we come across one we don’t like, we don’t declare that we do not like music or novels.
Children deserve the same repeated exposure to poetry that we give them to other forms of art. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations makes it easy for teachers and parents to offer exactly that, with the confidence that children will find poems that speak to them.
I encourage you to make these Spanish poems for kids part of your routine. The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations will give you more language and content to share with children learning Spanish than any other purchase you can make. For more information and updates, follow Pomelo Books on Twitter and Facebook.