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The Waldorf Book of Poetry Giveaway and a Chat with David Kennedy

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The moment I saw The Waldorf Book of Poetry edited by David Kennedy, I knew “I needed” a copy of my very own. Totally captivating my imagination, I was easily inspired to start creating activities and crafts to go along with each themed verse. This engaging collection of poems is the heart felt gathering of David Kennedy. I asked David to sit down and chat with us awhile as I was so curious to know more about how this collection came into being.

Welcome David to this space and place of avid book lovers.

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself, i.e. your family, and the life you share together, hobbies, being a Waldorf teacher.
I started teaching in the mid 80s. I was working as a stained glass artist and a real estate developer (how’s that for a combination!). My father offered to send me to the Rudolf Steiner Institute in Pennsylvania one summer and it was there that I discovered watercolor painting. I moved to Switzerland, studied painting, apprenticed as a natural pigment maker, met my lovely wife and my first son was born there. We headed off to England and I trained at Emerson College as a Waldorf teacher. After twenty years of classroom teaching, I took a leave to write and publish the Waldorf Book of Poetry.
2. How long have you loved poetry? Can you remember the first poem that spoke to you?
I’ve always loved rhyme and music. I’m a lifelong musician and poetry always seemed the perfect way to get into language. My childhood in Tennessee was filled with traditional children’s poetry, nursery rhymes and verses.
3. How has being a Waldorf teacher impacted the way you view poetry and the importance of it in your daily life? One of the greatest things that a teacher can give a child these days is to help her to think in “pictures.” It’s not an easy idea to wrap your head around at first. Thinking in pictures means using your imagination to create living pictures, not just dead concepts. Picture consciousness is the world and the playground of the poet.
4. What inspired the Waldorf Book of Poetry?
I wanted to create a book that any parent or teacher could use to share beautiful poetry with their children. A book that children could learn to love and grow up with. I had so many poetry collections that I collected over the years, some with only one or two poems in them that I used in the classroom. I lived and taught in the UK and the US, so I had exposure to a lot of poems that weren’t so well known in the US and vice versa. I always thought that someday I would publish a collection that would be a family and classroom treasure.
5. What can a child gain from learning poetry? How does it benefit them?
Good poetry in childhood is like good food, fresh air and the love of your friends and family. It can last a lifetime by helping children form a picture of the world that strengthens their imagination. Our language is rapidly changing and poetry helps children keep a connection to their birthright, a beautiful language created over countless generations that helps them express themselves and create their whole life through. Recitation is a great strengthener in childhood. Both the will and the memory are developed in a unique way through learning a poem “by heart.” Training the memory is something that today’s children need more than ever.
6. The poems you’ve chosen for this collection are really alive. They aren’t merely words on a page but immediately engage the reader. How did you go about choosing the poems in this book?
I used the Waldorf curriculum for grades one to eight as a guide. The curriculum is based on the development of consciousness of humanity and all the myriad expressions of that in art, literature and science. I think the reader senses the depth of the collection, as every poem builds on the one before it as our culture builds on what was before. I devoted a lot of energy to finding poems about modern history, the African American experience, the Native Americans, the human being in the Industrial Society, the dilemmas and the tremendous hopes of the Twentieth Century.
7. What are your hopes and dreams for this lovely book?
That every family and teacher has one!
8. What are you working on now and what books, if any are you planning for the future?
I am the Creative Director and Founder of and publish the Waldorf Today weekly newsletter with over 8,200 subscribers around the world. I’m working on a children’s picture book and a book on the arts in education, as well as fixing up the Tate House, our 140 year-old Victorian home and offices in southwest Wisconsin.
Thank you so much David for stopping by and sharing your journey in creating this incredible book. David has so generously donated a copy of The Waldorf Book of Poetry to give away to one lucky winner. All you need to do is leave a comment and like us on Facebook. For an extra bonus you can tweet about the giveaway once every day until the end. The giveaway runs from today January 6th through January 15th with the winner being announced on January 16th. Have a look here for more information about The Waldorf Book of Poetry.

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51 thoughts on “The Waldorf Book of Poetry Giveaway and a Chat with David Kennedy

  1. The Barefoot Boy was always one of my favorites! I have been reading a Children’s Garden of Verses with my girls and love to see their expressions as we read it! 🙂

  2. How Doth the Little Crocodile by Lewis Carroll was one of the first poems I memorized as a child, and still the one I remember best.

  3. This book sounds just wonderful, what a great interview. I love his passion to teach children to think in pictures. I think this is so key! thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Shel Silverstein is the one I remember from my childhood. Love reading those same poems now with my daughter as well. The Giving Tree is our tear jerker and favourite.

  5. My girls love poetry. It gives them so much joy to master a poem after many hearings then reciting it just for the joy of it. This sounds like a beautiful book…definitely one for the wish list:)

  6. I love how he compares poetry to good food, fresh air and love from family and friends. Thanks for the chance to win.
    Stopping by from Learning Table. Congrats on the blogging award.

  7. What a wonderful giveaway. My oldest is just now learning about poetry and would certainly enjoy The Waldorf Book of Poetry

  8. I always think of a little song my Mom taught me – “The kookaburra sits in the old gum tree merry little king of the bush is he, laugh kookaburra laugh and same some fun for me”
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  9. I have been wanting this book! I love reading rhymes and poems to my almost 4-year old. I would love to use this book as a source of them.

  10. I always loved the hand poem here’s the church, here’s the steeple. My Mom always played that with me. 🙂

  11. This book sounds wonderful! I am homeschooling my children in the waldorf way and this would be a great resource.

  12. I love that it was your father who supported you to explore in a Steiner institute. That’s so wonderful.

  13. The Sugar Plum Tree by Eugene Field. Such a visual feast, and get to say the word “agog”.

  14. I was read a lot of AA Milne when I was young. I always remember Alexander Beetle.

  15. My eldest two went to a Waldorf preschool which we have now moved away from. I cannot wait to pick this up and bring some of the songs and rhymes back into our household. Our favorite rhyme/song was a version of Down by the Ocean (forest, prairie or wherever you are:-)

  16. I remember Alice in Wonderland, and have been able to recite the Jaberwocky since age 5.

  17. I love incorporating song and verse into things we are doing and better yet I love the surprise of how it sinks in and comes out of my toddler in the most beautiful ways. Would love to have this book thanks for the chance.

  18. I always loved & still do, THE RAINBOW FAIRIES – anonymous.


  19. I’m originally from former Yugoslavia, so the very first verses I remember are from one of the poems for children from one of the best known poets from Serbia (part of Yugoslavia then) – Jovan Jovanovic Zmaj 🙂

  20. I try to memorize a poem with my daughter each month as part of our homeschooling routine. This would be a lovely addition to our collection and expand our memorization choices, too!

  21. What a wonderful resource this would be. The Owl and the Pussycat is the earliest poem I can remember, and now my 2 year old son loves it.

  22. This looks like a wonderful book! One of the first poems I remember enjoying was “The night before Christmas”.

  23. I remember The Jabberwocky from my childhood. And also Philip Larkin from when I was a bit older,

  24. I would love to win a copy of this book. This is our first year incorporating waldorf into our daily lives and this would be such a joy to use during our morning gathering or just in general.


  25. My favourite was being ‘jogged’ astride my grandfathers knee singing “She’ll be coming round the mountain…” as loud as we could!

  26. I grew up loving Mother Goose Nursey Rhymes and those of A.A. Milne. I am so excited to learn of this book and enjoyed the interview as well. Valerie, you host the best giveaways! Even if I don’t win, I walk away having learned of a new fantastic resource to add to my wish list!

  27. Shel Silverstein! I remember acting out one of his poems in my elementary school. I think it was in 5th grade. Great memories!

  28. I learned the Barefoot Boy when I was in 7 or 8 grade and had to recite it in front of the class…Years later I would introduce my daughter to that poem! As she has posted here, it became one of her favorites!

  29. I grew up in Hungary, and I don’t even know the poet who wrote the poem I remember so well. It was one I learnt in kindergarten about 10 little ducks.

  30. I am entering on behalf of our small Steiner School in Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia. As you can imagine we are thousands of kilometres away from another school and resources!
    Poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal was the first Aboriginal poet in Australia, she was also an educator and a campaigner of Aboriginal rights. Our family’s favourite was ‘Father Sky and Mother Earth’.

  31. I think my children never found a good book of poems, they found boring…I have to see this one!
    Thank you for the chance

  32. Thinking back…I remember I had to memorize O Captain My Captain by Walt Whitman. I remember my mother had a 12 volume set of hardback books. I don’t remember what they were called, but the first volume covered nursery rhymes, the next fairy tales, the next children stories that increased in longer, more complex stories the higher the volume. That’s where my love of reading came from, I used to read those books all the time as a kid.

  33. Entered the give away..been admiring the book.
    I love ride a cock horse to banbury cross…It was a knee jump rhyme, and I have memories of being tossed up at the end with a ‘wheee’ from a variety of relatives knees.

  34. Reading poetry to children is such great fun. I can never predict which ones will be approved or and which not! Current favourites are from Milne’s “Now we are six”.

    I already am a fan on fb, and have signed in – but not sure if this will link up with that?

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