Happy National Poetry Month! Today I’m so pleased to introduce you to Cassidy Kao, the 9-year old author of a wonderful new how-to poetry book called Roller Coaster. Hopefully in your own homes and classrooms, you’re fully embracing the magic of National Poetry Month, creating awesome works with your kids. Cassidy’s definitely caught the bug, and she’s joined me today to talk about poetry, writing, and her new book. Welcome Cassidy!
I have read Roller Coaster several times, and love the way you put it all together. Tell me more about it. How did you decide to write a how-to book about poetry?
Actually, I didn’t start out planning to write a book. It really all started with learning that April is National Poetry Month. My mom showed me your posting about the idea of growing a Poet-Tree last April. I thought it was a great idea and decided to grow my own Poet-Tree. I wrote at least a poem everyday. I also read some poetry books to learn more about poetry the whole month. My favorite one was A Kick in the Head by Paul B. Janesczko. I decided to learn different types of poems by trying to write a new type of poem each day myself. By the end of April, my tree was enormous, and that gave me the idea of making a book. My mom and I brainstormed about some ideas for the book, and I thought it would be interesting to make it into a how-to poetry book. I figured if I could learn how to write poems, other kids can do it too!
One of the unique elements of Roller Coaster is the way in which you’ve laid it out, describing and then giving examples of different types of poetry. What made you think of this approach? Have you read other books that inspired you? What are they?
I got the inspiration from A Kick in the Head to explain how to write a certain type of poem first. Then show my readers one of my poems as an example. I wanted to explain the different types of poem in a simple understandable way, the way I understood them. During one of the brainstorm meetings I had with my mom, I was trying to figure out how to organize the book and suddenly, it came to me that I could separate the poems into rhyming and non-rhyming groups. The reason I had a chapter that’s called “Cassidy Invention Poems” was that I wanted to show other kids they could also create their own style of poems.
What is your favorite (or one of your favorites) poem that you’ve ever written and why?
One of my favorite poems from my book is “Me” because it’s a simile poem and it shows the characteristics of me and it’s pretty funny.
What is your favorite poem that somebody else has written and why?
I like “The Cow’s Complaint” by Alice Schettle. It’s a poem from A Kick in the Head. It’s such a funny poem. It’s like the cow wrote it and it reminds me of how I complain too. “I like that book. It’s bluer!”
Tell me about the way you do school. What do you like about it?
This is the second year that I am homeschooled. I do a lot of projects. I like that I can choose what I want to learn.
Was your book part of your school experience? What did you learn from that project?
Yes. My book was part of my school experience. I learned about writing many types of poems and about how to create and organize a book. I also learned that you need a lot of planning to create a book to publish it on time. It’s especially challenging because I was coordinating with my cousin who lives in Hong Kong on some of the illustrations she did for the book.
How involved were you in producing the book?
I was involved with almost everything except for the last part where my aunt helped me put them together using Photoshop. I was involved in laying out and deciding on what goes on each page, which illustration to go with the poems, and the order of the poems. The whole process was difficult but interesting.
How are you sharing your book with other people?
I have been telling my family and friends about my book. I know my grandparents bought a bunch of my books to give to their friends. My mom also posted about my book on her Facebook and some homeschool groups.
What’s fun about that, and what’s challenging?
It’s really fun when I saw people want to learn more about my book and it made me happy when other kids were inspired by my book and wanted to write their own poems. The most challenging part of promoting my book is talking about it. I got pretty nervous when people asked me about my book.
Do you think you’ll write more books and/or poems after Roller Coaster?
Yes. Definitely. I am actually working on my new book now. I think I’ll have some poems in my new book too.
And will you create another poet-tree this year?
I never took down my tree from last year so I plan on growing the same tree and making it bigger.
Thank you so much Cassidy. It’s been a lot of fun! And now, dear poetic readers, go visit Cassidy, learn more about her book (which is available for purchase), and get some great poetry activity ideas on her beautiful website: Kid Friendly Poems. Happy Poetry Month!
You may also like:
- Share this