Thursday, January 24, 2008
This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness
Sidman, Joyce. 2007. THIS IS JUST TO SAY: POEMS OF APOLOGY AND FORGIVENESS. Ill. by Pamela Zagarenski. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 9780618616800 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-7]
Apologizing to friends and family is difficult for young and old alike. Mrs. Merz thinks that her sixth-grade students need to learn how to do just that, so she assigns her students to write apologies in poetic form. The result is a class collection of poems that expresses sorrow for things trivial (stealing a hunk of from the middle of a pan of freshly-baked brownies) and things more serious (upsetting a father so much that he leaves home). Paired with the recipients’ responses, also written as poetry, this set of verses becomes an entertaining and thoughtful take on forgiveness.
Overall, the scrap-book style illustrations help maintain a light mood throughout the apologies and responses. In the end readers feel hopeful for the classmates. The communications have helped to resolve hard feelings and have helped to build relationships. Upon finishing this collection, one should find that crafting the next apology is just a bit easier.
Reflective writing comes easy after reading this book. Readers may want to construct their own poems of apology and regret. Or they can choose one of the apologies, and write a different response.
Examine historical misdeeds and public apologies. Discuss how forgiveness has played a role in history, in politics, in social settings.
Poetry books with multiple voices or different perspectives:
Grimes, Nikki. DANITRA BROWN LEAVES TOWN. ISBN 0688131565
Thomas, Joyce Carol. A MOTHER’S HEART, A DAUGHTER’S LOVE: POEMS FOR US TO SHARE.. ISBN 0060296496
Whipple, Laura. IF THE SHOE FITS: VOICES FROM CINDERELLA. ISBN 0689840705
By Rebecca McKee