Rhyming Places List
If you ever find yourself writing a poem that involves geographical locations — cities, states, countries, etc. – you may find it helpful to have a list of places that rhyme with one another. Here are some that you could use:
- Alaska / Nebraska
- Albania / Lithuania / Mauritania / Pennsylvania / Romania / Tasmania / Transylvania
- Algeria / Assyria / Iberia / Liberia / Nigeria / Siberia / Syria
- Anapolis / Indianapolis / Minneapolis
- Anatolia / Mongolia
- Andorra / Aurora / Sonora
- Angola / Hispaniola / Pensacola
- Arizona / Barcelona / Daytona / Pomona / Ramona / Verona
- Armenia / Sardinia / Slovenia
- Aruba / Cuba / Dinuba
- Asia / Australasia / Eurasia / Malaysia
- Astoria / Peoria / Pretoria / Victoria
- Austin / Boston
- Australia / Visalia
- Azerbaijan / Bhutan / Ceylon / Iran / Kazakhstan / Milan / Oman / San Juan / Taiwan
- Bahrain / Biscayne / Champlain / Fort Wayne / Maine / Spain / Ukraine
- Bali / Raleigh
- Bavaria / Bulgaria
- Brazil / Seville
- Bruges / Baton Rouge
- Brunei / Chennai / Mumbai / Shanghai / Uruguay / Versailles
- Caledonia / Estonia / Macedonia / Patagonia
- Casablanca / Sri Lanka
- Chicago / Santiago
- China / Indochina / North Carolina / South Carolina
- County Cork / New York
- Crimea / Eritrea / Korea / Sofia / Tanzania
- Dakota / Minnesota / North Dakota / Sarasota
- Fontana / Indiana / Louisiana / Montana / Santa Ana / Savannah
- Gambia / Zambia
- Goa / Samoa
- Greece / Nice
- Guangzhou / Kalamazoo / Kathmandu / Peru / Thimphu / Timbuktu
- Illinois / Troy
- Indonesia / Micronesia / Polynesia / Rhodesia / Tunisia
- Isle of Capri / Tennessee / Waikiki
- Isle of Man / Japan / Spokane / Sudan
- Jakarta / Puerto Vallarta / Sparta
- Libya / Namibia
- Malta / Yalta
- Martinique / Mozambique
- Milwaukee / Nagasaki
- Montreal / Nepal / Senegal
- North Pole / Seoul / South Pole
- Oklahoma / Point Loma / Sonoma / Tacoma
- Prussia / Russia
- Reno / San Bernardino / San Marino / Torino
- Rwanda / Uganda
Click here for other lists of rhyming words.
My Teacher Took My iPod – Video
Here is a video of me reciting my poem “My Teacher Took My iPod,” from the book Revenge of the Lunch Ladies.
When I was a student, iPods hadn’t been invented yet, but there were still plenty of things you weren’t allowed to have at school, and teachers would take them from you and return them at the end of the day, just like they do today with mobile phones and music players.
My Puppy Punched Me In the Eye – Video
Here is a video of me reciting my poem “My Puppy Punched Me In the Eye,” from the book My Hippo Has the Hiccups.
I’ve had a lot of different pets, including cats, dogs, rabbits, and even a ferret. One thing they had in common is that they all liked jumping on me. I’ve always thought it would be funny if pets could learn how to do human things, such as make pizza or play musical instruments. Here’s what I think might happen if they took kung fu lessons.
My Writing Process – Blog Tour
My friend Kelly Milner Halls recently participated in the Writing Process Blog Tour on her blog and asked me if I would follow her in the tour, answering a few questions about my writing. Of course, I said yes. Kelly is such a wonderful children’s author and all-around awesome human being that I thought it would be a great way to let my readers know about her and her books. She also asked Claire Rudolf Murphy to participate, and she should be posting her answers on her blog in the next couple of days.
I’ve asked Douglas Florian and Nikki Grimes to follow me in this blog tour, so next week you should be able to read about what they are working on and how and why they write what they do.
So, without further ado, here are my answers to the four questions posed on this blog tour:
What am I currently working on?
I’m currently working on a rhyming picture book. In the past, most of my books have been poetry collections, but these days I find myself writing more picture books.
How does my work differ from others in my genre?
With a few notable exceptions (e.g., Shel Silverstein, Jack Prelutsky, Douglas Florian) most children’s poetry books aren’t humorous. They tend to be more informational; poems about nature, animals, etc. So I guess it’s fair to say that my books differ from most children’s poetry books in that they are funny. At least, I hope they are.
Why do I write what I write?
As a child, I loved hearing and reading funny poems and songs. So mostly I write the same sorts of things that I loved reading as a kid. I also loved reading kid detective novels, but I haven’t tried my hand at one of those yet.
What is my writing process?
Any time I get an idea, I jot it down in a note on my phone or laptop using Evernote.
I don’t have a regular writing time or location. I write whenever I can make time, and I do it wherever I happen to be. Usually that’s at home, but often I will go the the library or a coffee house to work.
When I am able to carve out a little time to write, I start by going through my ideas to find one that I would like to work on. I do all of my writing on my laptop computer using a number of programs, including Evernote, Rhymesaurus, Rhymezone.com and Thesaurus.com. I write and revise, write and revise, write and revise, until I feel like there is nothing else I can do to improve the poem. When I’m finished writing t, I file the poem in Evernote and then come back a day or two later. Often times I will see something I didn’t notice before, and I’ll make a few final revisions. At that point, the poem is usually ready for posting on my website or including in a manuscript.
5 Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block
“Writer’s block” is an expression that describes how it feels when it seems like you can’t write. Maybe you’re working on a particular poem and then you just start to feel stuck, not knowing how to finish it. Or maybe you sit down to write and you just can’t think of anything at all to write about. Either way, writer’s block can feel pretty discouraging.
The good news is that there are lots of easy ways to break free from writer’s block and start writing again. Next time you feel blocked, give one of these tips a try:
1. Get Goofy
Writer’s block can make you feel very serious, so one way to break free is to get silly. Try to write the most awful, ridiculous poem in the world. Write a poem complaining about how you can’t possibly write a poem right now because of all your terrible problems. Or write your poem from the point of view of your dog, or your lunch, or the dust bunnies under your bed.
2. Make a List
Sometimes it helps to forget about writing in a poetry format for a while. Instead, just list all the things you want someone to know about what your poem will be like after you write it. Or, if you don’t like making lists, just start writing or typing the words “This poem is going to be about…” and then finish the sentence. Try to keep writing without stopping for at least five minutes. When you’re done, you’ll have lots of ideas about how to finish your poem.
3. Try Something Different
Maybe you need a totally different way to write for a while. Instead of writing a free verse poem, try your hand at rhyming couplets. Or instead of sitting at your desk to write, stand up. If you’re really stuck, stand on one foot, or write with the opposite hand for a change. Or get outside of your usual writing place to sit in a park, in the passenger seat of a car, or in a bookstore or library.
4. Go for a Walk
Physical activity is really good for busting you out of a writing rut and resetting your brain. So is a change of scene! You can go for a walk in your neighborhood, or take a bike ride, or jump on a trampoline, or even take a dance break—anything to get your body moving and distract your brain. You can come back to your writing in a few minutes, or even another day, and you’ll have fresh ideas.
5. Be a Reader Instead
Sometimes you can take the pressure off and inspire yourself at the same time. How? By picking up another writer’s work and enjoying it. It doesn’t even have to be poetry. You could read a short story, a graphic novel, or any kind of writing that reminds your brain what great writing can do. Reading can be a great warm-up for anytime you want to write a poem, or it can be a break from writing when your mind feels stuck.
No matter what you decide to try for your writer’s block, keep in mind that the best way to get un-stuck is to do something different. Start anywhere! Even a very small change can help a lot, and you’ll be writing poems again in no time.
Happy Birthday to Edward Lear!
May 12 is the birthday of English poet Edward Lear, who would be 202 years old if he were still alive. He is well known for his drawings as well as for the poems and limericks that he wrote. Lear has been called a nonsense poet because he liked to use made-up words along with real ones in his poems. He also wrote about fanciful things that wouldn’t happen in real life. You may have read or heard his most famous poem, “The Owl and the Pussycat,” which is often taught to young children. Here is a short excerpt:
10 Ways to Celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day
You might have heard that every year, the month of April is National Poetry Month. But did you know that Thursday, April 24 is Poem in Your Pocket Day? This is a day when people all over the United States will be sharing their favorite poem with their families, classmates, co-workers, and neighbors.
The town of Charlottesville in Virginia has an annual tradition of celebrating this day together. Lots of people volunteer to pass out printed poems all over town, and they also have an open mic poetry event the night before Poem in Your Pocket Day to kick off the celebration. There are also special Poem in Your Pocket events every year in other large cities, such as New York.
Here are 10 easy and fun ways to celebrate Poem in Your Pocket Day this year:
- Write a short poem on an index card and tape or thumbtack it to a public bulletin board. Or you could use just one stanza from a longer poem. Be sure to give the title and author so that people who read it can look up the full poem on their own.
- If you don’t have a pocket, think of other places to store folded-up poems. How about tucked into the top of in your sock?
- Email your favorite poem to a pen pal or family member who lives far away.
- Ask your parent, teacher, or school librarian to help you arrange a poem swap for your class or neighborhood, in which everyone brings a printed copy of their favorite poem and swaps it for someone else’s poem.
- If you use Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you can post a photo of your favorite poem and include the hashtag #pocketpoem.
- Leave a printed copy of your poem between the pages of a library book. It will be a surprise for the next reader!
- If your family often visits a senior center or nursing home, print several copies of a poem to share and give it to the people you see when you visit that day. Or ask the person at the information desk if you can leave a pile of poems for visitors to take to their loved ones.
- Encourage people to ask you about your poem. You can do this by wearing a sticker on your shirt or bookbag that says, “It’s Poem in Your Pocket Day! Ask me about my favorite poem.”
- If your family members take their lunch to school or work, slip a poem into their lunch bags. Better yet, put in two poems—one for them to keep and one for them to give away to a friend!
- Come up with creative ways to share your poem if you don’t want to print out or write out your poem on paper. For example, you could write a short poem on the back of your hand and read it out loud to people you meet.
No matter how you decide to celebrate, you can make Poem in Your Pocket Day special and fun for yourself—and everyone you meet. Just choose a poem to share, and the possibilities are endless!
Rhythm in Poetry – Okie Dokie, Here’s the Trochee
In the last Rhythm in Poetry lesson, we talked about the “iamb,” a two-syllable poetic foot with the stress on the second syllable. The reverse of the iamb is called the “trochee” (pronounced TRO-kee). Like the iamb, the trochee is a two-syllable foot. But instead of being stressed on the second syllable, trochees are stressed on the first syllable. For example, the word “today” is an iamb because we emphasize the “day” not the “to.” (That is, we say “to-DAY,” not ‘TO-day.”) But the word “candy” is a trochee, because we emphasize the “can” and not the “dy.” (It’s pronounced “CAN-dee,” not “can-DEE.”) Look at it like this:
Poems Organized by Grade Level
There are always at least 100 funny poems for kids on Poetry4kids.com, which you have always been able to choose from based on their popularity or subject matter. Now I’ve also added the ability to select poems based on their reading level.
To view the poems on Poetry4kids.com organized by reading level, simply click on Poems by Reading Level in the menu. My hope is that this will help make it easier for teachers to select poems at an appropriate reading level for their students.
The poems are sorted by grade level based on their ATOS readability score, the reading level system used by the Accelerated Reader program. Because these scores are computer generated, they may not be 100% accurate, but should still make it easier to find poems suitable for students of any given age.
Once you select a poem, you can always find out more about it’s grade level measures and text statistics (number of words, number of lines, average word length, etc.) by scrolling down to the bottom of the poem’s page.
TIME for Kids 2014 Poetry Contest Winners
Illustration by Deam Macadam for TFK
Congratulations to the winners of the 2014 TIME for Kids Poetry Contest! I had so much fun reading all the entries and selecting the winners, plus a few “honorable mentions.” There were over 2100 entries this year; the most ever!
The grand-prize winning poem this year was by 10-year-old Benjamin Ecsedy. His poem “Mess” was absolutley wonderful. His prizes include a free autographed copy of my book The Armpit of Doom and a free online author visit for his class.
In addition to Benjamin’s wonderfully funny poem, the runner-up winners were “Stranded in Paradise” by 14-year-old John Vernaglia, “My Elephant” by 10-year-old Maddy Harmon, and “Expelled” by 12-year-old Ella Smith.
You can read all of the winners, plus several honorable mentions on the TIME for Kids website, and in TIME for Kids Magazine.
A big congratulations to all of the winners and honorable mentions, and to all of the kids who took the time to write a poem and submit it. If I could have, I would have picked a hundred winners. There were at least that many poems that were true winners in my eyes.