At my local community college, I teach a course called “Poetry in the Early Childhood Classroom.” Teachers of young children gather over poetry books, in real life or via Zoom, and we talk about how to best use poetry in a lively early literacy curriculum.
One of my students’ favorite books is this one, which I want to celebrate on this Poetry Friday. As they became more attuned to issues of diversity and racial justice in children’s literature and beyond, we had powerful conversations about the vibrant images of black and brown children accompanying the familiar nursery rhymes in THE NEIGHBORHOOD MOTHER GOOSE by Nina Crews. One of my students remarked, “I never realized all the nursery rhyme books that we own are so… white.”
Nursery rhymes are often a child’s first introduction to rhyme and poetry. This book is a treasure for all children and deserves a place in every early childhood classroom and on the bookshelves of young children.
Thanks to my friend Janice Scully at Salt City Verse for encouraging me to join in on Poetry Friday, a celebration of children’s poetry. Mary Lee Hahn is hosting the Roundup of Poetry Friday posts at A Year of Reading.