At 11 my daughter has entered the golden age of children’s literature–middle grade fiction! We’ve read through Narnia numerous times, laughed and cried through Wonder, thrilled at the magical Prairie Thief, and delighted in stacks of picture books in between.
This year we’ve started sharing books not just as read-alouds, but also as read alongs. When she reads and enjoys a book, she passes it on to me. We are smack dab in the middle of the Wrinkle in Time Quintet. She is usually a whole book ahead of me, anxiously waiting for me to catch up.
The Big Wave
This spring we read The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck. This refreshing novel is much lighter than The Good Earth–less pessimistic, more hopeful. The story centers on a pair of boys who live in a Japanese coastal village. And, yes, a big wave figures prominently in the story! But that doesn’t ruin the suspense. The surprise comes in how the boys respond to the devastation.
The best children’s literature tends to offer a surprise—a turn of the plot early on that sets up something new to explore as the story continues to unfold.
Tanka poetry (much shorter than a story!) still manages to introduce a turn, which happens in the last two lines and leaves the reader with something surprising to explore.
This week, let’s really play with the tanka’s turn. Can you write a poem in 31 syllables that takes the reader in an unexpected direction?
Segmented golden art points:
see this space for you?
Alcove and tatami wait.
Outside, bare feet hesitate.