Firefly July is a smart collection of short poems by anthologist Paul B. Janeczko. Comprised of thirty-six poems from various poets that spans the seasons, each poem captures the essence of each season—from the budding flowers of spring to the festivities of winter.
More than Rhymes: Teaching Children About Poetry
There are many different forms of poetry in Firefly July from haikus to couplets. Firefly July teaches children that poetry isn’t all rhymes—that only takes a few words to tell a powerful story. Whether you read Firefly July to children or they read it themselves, encourage them to seek out the deeper meaning of the words. What do they think each poem means? Remember that poems don’t always have a “right” answer, so allow the children’s imaginations to run free.
Illustrations Emphasizes the Content of the Poems
Illustrations not only emphasize the content of the poems, but add an interesting visual element. For example, in a poem about an island, the accompanying picture shows “wrinkled stone like an elephant’s skin” with birch trees on top. Children know what an elephant looks like and from the words themselves, can imagine the island. They may not know what a birch looks like, so the illustrations help complete the picture.
Firefly July is also a good way to teach children about warm and cool colors. As the seasons go on, the colors of the illustrations change—warm colors for summer and spring and cooler colors during the fall and winter. When reading to children, ask them what they feel when they see each color. Do they feel warm with all the reds and yellows or cold with the blues?
Firefly July is wonderful for five to six year olds with advanced reading skills who can appreciate the power a few words can hold. Adults can also get much out of Firefly July, as the words can invoke memories of their own childhoods throughout the year.