by Julie Larios
Underpants with lots of penguins,
p.j.’s packed with penguins, too—
I’ve got penguins on my hats
Mom likes penguins everywhere—
When I’m big I’ll have one pet:
a perfectly nasty armadillo.
Copyright © 2012 Julie Larios. From the book The Poetry Friday Anthology: Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core. Pomelo Books. Reprinted by permission of the author.
My daughter got a small ceramic penguin from a well-meaning relative once for her birthday, and after that, everyone seemed to give her penguins. She had quite a collection eventually and was a little exasperated by it all, so I put this poem in her voice. Penguins everywhere! My poems are often inspired by things that happen to people in my family.
Suggestions for further activities
Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell have suggestions for Common-Core curriculum activities related to this poem in the Poetry Friday Anthology.
I taught for several years on the faculty of the Vermont College of Fine Arts in their MFA Writing for Children program, but just this year I returned to writing full-time: Hooray! Creating poems and books for kids is so satisfying, and I’m proud of my four books of poetry: On the Stairs (illustrated by my sister, Mary Cornish), Have You Ever Done That? (illustrated by Anne Hunter), Yellow Elephant: A Bright Bestiary (a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book), and Imaginary Menagerie: A Book of Curious Creatures (both of those last two illustrated by Julie Paschkis.) I’ve contributed poems to many anthologies, most recently to The National Geographic Book of Poetry (edited by J. Patrick Lewis) and the Poetry Friday anthologies (edited by the completely wonderful team of Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell.) I also write poetry for adults, and that work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize and been selected twice for The Best American Poetry series. Recently, I’ve been enjoying a more collaborative approach to poetry, writing the libretto for a pocket opera composed by Dag Gabrielson and performed by the New York City Opera for their Vox Series, and writing a poem set to music, choreographed, danced, filmed and chosen for screening at the International Screendance Festival. Poetry can go many direction!
I live in Seattle, Washington with my husband and a squawky, cranky cockatiel named Peaches, both of whom inspire poems. My kids are all grown up, but I’m hoping they’ll give me lots of grandkids to inspire even more poems!
Though I don’t maintain a website for kids, I do have my own blog for creative writers and teachers. It’s called The Drift Record because I like to drift around and find curious things to write about. I contribute to two other blogs about writing and the writing life: Books Around the Table, written collaboratively by fellow writers and illustrators, and Write at Your Own Risk, the unofficial blog of my brilliant, kind, hilarious colleagues in the Writing for Children and Young Adults program of the Vermont College of Fine Arts.