Declaration of Interdependence: Poems for an Election Year
by Janet Wong
cover illustration by Julie Paschkis
With just a little over a week to go until election day 2012 (Tuesday, November 6, in case you missed the memo), we might be starting to feel a bit like the speaker in Robert Frost's poem, "After Apple Picking:"
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
As annoying and pervasive as the campaigning might seem, let's never forget that voting is one of the most important acts of American citizenship. Running for office is the other. This is OUR country. Let's do our best to get it right, whether we're the ones in charge, or the ones in charge of "hiring" the leaders.
Let's take the pledge that is the lead poem in Janet Wong's DECLARATION OF INTERDEPENDENCE:
I pledge acceptance
of the views
that make us America
To listen, to look,
to think, and to learn
sharing the earth
There are twenty poems in Janet's gem of a book. Twenty kid-friendly ways to think about and talk about democracy, elections, voting and citizenship. Rather than tuning out the divisiveness of the elections in this last week before the big day, why not engage students in conversations about the ways we need to work together for our country, and ultimately for our world?