About three years ago, my husband and I made the trip to the Collingswood Book Festival in New Jersey. It was an amazing afternoon filled with new book treasures just waiting to be found. There were so many authors and illustrators there, and it was such a rewarding experience to meet the talented people who actually created the books I was purchasing for my classroom. The autographed copies I now own ARE treasures in my classroom, and my students always treat these special copies with the respect and awe they deserve.
It was here at the book festival that I first stumbled across a special little book called A Cat Named Haiku. I teach haiku every year during my poetry unit. I LOVE teaching poetry and am always on the hunt for new poetry resources. In addition, animals are everything to me, so whenever a great poetry resource has an adorable animal theme, I am sold!
I was able to meet the author, Mark Poulton, at the festival as well. Mark is a freelance comic book writer and children's book author who lives in New Jersey. When I was thinking about what to post for this week, I contacted Mark to see if he would mind me blogging about his wonderful book. He was so gracious and kind, and he truly seemed to appreciate my email. For that, he deserves author extra credit (as only teachers can give)!
A Cat Named Haiku (written by Mark and illustrated by the very talented Dexter Weeks) "tells the story of a day in the life of a mischievous little cat as he learns a valuable lesson on love told completely in haiku. All of Haiku's antics are chronicled in the three line poetry of his namesake in this 40 page children's book."
Let me tell you, my students ADORE this book! They chuckle out loud at Haiku throughout the pages of this book, and they love both the illustrations and the poetry.
I use the book as a springboard for my students to write their own stories in haiku. We have done this in several different ways. One year, I purchased the accompanying coloring book and gave each student a page. Students worked together as a class to write our own tale of Haiku and his antics. Each student wrote his/her own haiku on a coloring book page and colored the picture as well. We then bound them into a book and gave it to my student teacher at the time as a gift for her own future classroom. She was so touched, and she loved that her first book for her classroom was written by all of us!
I have also had students try their hands at writing their own haiku stories. I read A Cat Named Haiku first for inspiration. Students then picked animals of their choice, and they wrote and illustrated their own haiku stories. We had lizards, ostriches, and elephants named Haiku!
This book is always such a hit with my class that I just had to share it with my bloggy friends! The great news I just heard through emailing Mark is that a sequel is coming soon! It will be out in September and is called A Cat Named Haiku 2: The Dust Bunny. "In this all new adventure, Haiku discovers a new world underneath his owner's bed. In the process, he makes a new friend." It is also told entirely in haiku. I can already envision a poetry lesson revolving around what someone might find under our beds or in our rooms!
You can find Mark Poulton and A Cat Named Haiku here:
There is also an app for the iPhone/iPad that comes with an audio version of the book read by Mark as well as eight different puzzles and games...and it's only 99 cents! You can find it HERE.
Thanks to Mark and Dexter for creating such a special book that will be a big part of my poetry lessons for years to come!
Speaking of cats, if you haven't read yesterday's post by Meg from Fourth Grade Studio yet, check it out. She has a great new product, Rescue Pets: Word Problems for Charity. She is donating all profits to help homeless animals! A great math product + helping animals = a win-win!
Until next time, happy teaching, friends!
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