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Children's Poetry
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Poetry Break # 21

Poem by an African American Poet

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Introduction: Read the inscription that opens the book, Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea. It says, "Broomwheat tea: good for what ails you, especially when poured by loving hands." Ask students what a cup of hot tea (or hot soup) symbolizes to them.


Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea

My mother says I am
Brown honey in broomwheat tea
My father calls me the sweetwater
of his days
Yet they warn
There are those who
Have brewed a
Bitter potion for
Children kissed long by the sun
Therefore I approach
The cup slowly
But first I ask
Who has set this table

Poem by Joyce Carol Thomas

Thomas, Joyce Carol. Brown Honey In Broomwheat Tea. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1993, unpaged. ISBN: 0060210885.


Extension: a) Ask children to share some pet names their parents and relatives call them. b) Discuss the descriptive phrase,"Children kissed long by the sun." Show students several pictures of multicultural children. Ask students to think of other positive, poetic phrases describing the different skin colors in the pictures. Finally, ask students to look at their own skin and to write a positive, poetic phrase describing it. Invite volunteers to share their phrases.