Poetry Friday

One of my students rushed into our classroom earlier this week, a huge smile on her face.  She raced over to my desk and announced that she had awesome news to tell me.  

“Last night I was reading and the doorbell rang.  My mom made me get it, and I was so annoyed at her.  So I opened the door and my brother’s girlfriend was on the porch with a weird look on her face.  She kept smiling and the looking around.  I was about to ask her what she was doing at my house when my brother stepped onto the porch!  He surprised us and got to come home for a few days!”

The smile on her face could have lit up the room.  Her brother, her best friend, has been away at boot camp since last year.  She hasn’t seen him in months.  And he ships out in a couple of months.  Showing up to surprise her made this the best week of her life, she told me.

When I read this poem on Poem in Your Pocket Day, I immediately thought of my student.  She misses and worries about her brother every single day, and this poem captures that feeling so well.

By Cynthia Cotten

My brother is a soldier

in a hot, dry,

sandy place.

He’s missing –

missing things like

baseball, barbecues,

fishing, French fries,

chocolate sodas,

flame-red maple trees,

blue jays,

and snow.

I’m missing, too –


his read-out-loud voice,

his super-special

banana pancakes,

his scuffed up shoes

by the back door,

his big-bear

good night


There are people

with guns

in that land of sand

who want to shoot

my brother.

I hope

they miss him,


AMERICA AT WAR POEMS Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins Text copyright © 2008 

Missing by Catherine Macphail

I picked this book up as a quick read, appropriate for Halloween. I finished it in about an hour, with a lot of distractions. It definitely fits the bill as a quick read and I think my students will enjoy it.

Maxie is angry- very angry. Her older brother, Derek, disappeared on his way to school 2 years earlier. Now, her parents are struggling to deal with his absence and overlook Maxie in the process. When the family finally receives the dreaded call, telling them Derek’s body has been found, she thinks they will finally be able to move on and be a normal family again. However, her mother only falls deeper into depression and her father continues to snap at her. When Maxie begins receiving mysterious phone calls telling her that Derek is still alive, she doesn’t know how to react.

I am not normally a fan of mysteries, but I did enjoy this book. I think because I am always fascinated by the news stories about missing children I wanted to find out how this novel ended. I had never read any of Macphail’s books before this, but I would be interested in reading some more from her!