Salting the Ocean, with poems selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
Reviewed by Children’s Library volunteer Marcia Lèbre
Salting the Ocean is a collection of 100 poems written by 100 children who wrote their poems in grades 1-12. They are not famous and now are dentists, dancers, teachers, students and construction workers. Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, novelist, and anthologist, and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She has been working as a visiting writer-in residence since 1974 and has led classroom poetry workshops in the United States.
In the introduction, Nye writes: “There may be nothing more ‘basic’ in education than gaining a sense of one’s own voice. By acknowledging and shaping shared experience, we grow bigger. Poems help us see the world around us as rich material.”
It is never too early to introduce children to the joys of language and imagery, and tasting words on their tongues. It’s never too early to encourage children to articulate their feelings in the written word. Children can relate easily to poems written by their peers as they have felt similar emotions. I hope that after reading this they will be tempted to write their own!
The young poets in Salting the Ocean write about the realities of the world in which they live: school, family relations, fears, and inner life. Some poems are poignant, some are humorous, but all resonate with an inner fire:
The words just jumped
into the quiet.
The words blasted
into the dark.
We had a
“Most commonly misspelled word”
Yesterday in English,
I commonly misspelled them all.
was the only one I got right.
Salting the Ocean can be found with the Juvenile non-fiction in the Children’s Library under J 811.08 N984s 1.