Not long ago, Corinne did a post on a children’s poetry festival in El Salvador. The post piqued my interest in one of the hosts of the event, poet Jorge Argueta, whose books I immediately requested from the library. As is my usual custom, I take out several books by the same author — as many as are available — and as a result, my daughter and I enjoyed a wonderful night of Argueta’s poetry and stories. The two poetry books of Argueta’s I was able to read were: Trees are Hanging from the Sky (illustrated by Rafael Yockteng, published by Groundwood, 2003) and A Movie in My Pillow (illustrated by Elizabeth Gomez, Children’s Book Press, 2001). The first book was a little hard for my daughter to understand conceptually. How was it that trees could hang from the sky? She queried. And their roots be like snakes? But once she saw the illustrations, she understood. I liked the ideas as sheer poetic inversion — it seemed marvelous to me, the idea of trees being rooted in the sky, rather than on earth!
A Movie in My Pillow is a bilingual book and contains short poems in Spanish and English. In this book, the poems are more straightforward contemplations of the life of an El Salvadoran boy in San Francisco. My daughter enjoyed this book very much and in fact, wanted to read the poems in English while I read the Spanish (which unfortunately I don’t know very well, but had fun trying to read aloud!) After the book was done, she said she liked this poetry book a lot. It was one of the few poetry books I’ve read that she was truly engaged in.
PaperTigers has done an interview with Jorge Argueta. You might check it out along with his books for a wonderful treat of words! I do hope his endeavours with the first ever children’s poetry festival in El Salvador go well.
Poetry Friday this week is hosted by Susan Taylor Brown at Susan Writes.