Haiku are my nephew’s favourite type of poem and my children have also read some in a Friend’s book of poetry. Haiku is distinctive and you know it when you see it, nine times out of ten, but we didn’t know there are so many elements in one small poem to make it truly brilliant. With Write Your Own Haiku For Kids, children (and adults) will learn the magic behind the words.
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Tuttle Publishing always knows what works for us and sent us a little surprise with Write Your Own Haiku For Kids: See The World Through Haiku Eyes by Patricia Donegan. It’s byline is Write Poetry in the Japanese Tradition: Easy Step-by-Step Instructions to Compose Simple Poems, and this is exactly what it is!
There is a difference between English and Japanese haiku and yet the Japanese still translate well into English. And haiku do not have to be as constrained as the first thought of 5-7-5 syllable prose that we’ve come to know. Oh no, there are many more ways to write it.
Write Your Own Haiku For Kids Contents
- Entering the Haiku World
- The Seven Keys to Writing Haiku
- Writing Your First Haiku
- Your Favorite Season Haiku
- Your Haibun (Story with Haiku)
- Your Haiga (Drawing and Haiku)
- Your Renga (Linked Poetry)
- Making a Small Book and Other Haiku Activities
- Glossary of Haiku-Related Words
- Haiku Resource Guide
There is lots of interesting information in this book, including haiku written by children around the world to show kids that they can indeed do it, too. Of course, there’s plenty of Basho’s haiku thrown in, too, so you can appreciate the master’s work and strive to meet his standards.
We went for a ginko walk for the first lesson in the book and my children were inspired to write haiku immediately. It was too cold to hold a pen so the children used the voice recorder on my phone to capture the moment until we returned home so they would not forget it.
There is a lot of guided practice to build confidence within this book and the lessons each teach a different aspect of haiku. You can even learn how to fold your own little book to keep your haiku contained. Tristan has really taken to this and is currently in the process of mass-producing these books and filling them with haiku for his friends and family!
My children have been using Write Your Own Haiku as part of their English lessons to add a little variety to them. Through haiku they are learning to concentrate on being descriptive and brief with their words.
This book entices children to think to think more deeply about the world around them, to see things from a new perspective, to be in touch with nature, to feel the blade of grass beneath their feet, and to imagine themselves as a ladybug on the grass. They learn about seasonal words and ways in which they can express emotions, nature, and seasons without using that word itself. I can see how some teachers I know have used poetry to help their middle years and high school students when they were having difficulty in life. With haiku students can express themselves with out saying the actual words.
The book begins by outlining the history of haiku and what makes a great haiku poem. Then it takes you step-by-step through each of the elements needed for a haiku. Children work along to build on their skills and create their own haiku. Not every haiku will be perfect but that is okay; it is all part of the learning process and even the great masters return again and again to tweak their poems.
Some days a lesson goes very quickly, but on the other days it took several hours for my dear children to sit and concentrate and think of exactly what they want to say when they wanted to be very particular. As frustrating as this was for us all; you cannot rush creativity. Tristan oscillated between being really enthusiastic when the book arrived, to bemoaning haiku time, then back again to being on fire where the haiku just fell out of his brain.
Kallista, who loves to dance and sing made-up songs, enjoys putting her haiku to her own tunes. Last week we went for another, warmer, ginko walk by the sea. Before going home we stopped to sit and enjoy the serenity. With the sound of the waves and the screech of the black headed gulls, the children wrote some more haiku in their books.
One lesson that gave the children a little difficulty were the haibun; snippets of stories along with a haiku. However, the following lesson on haiga was one that they couldn’t wait to start. For this haiku you add haiku to a picture. Tristan already had a haiku ready to use and he started on his picture right away. Kallista jumped on board and drew pictures on both sides of the paper she had cut to shape, getting into the spirit of creativity. Then she composed her haiku after.
Many children are intimidated by poetry but haiku doesn’t seem to be as intimidating why perhaps because it is only three lines consisting of a few short words using their own experiences and emotions and observation as a base for these poems. Write Your Own Haiku gives children the tools to see the world through haiku eyes and express themselves beautifully and thoughtfully. It’s one of those books you won’t know you needed until after you’ve used it.