book review

Fold Me a Poem by Kristine O’Connell – Origami Activities for Kids

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The boy sat so quietly in the back of the room with a stack of colored paper, his fingers were nearly flying as he folded sheet after sheet of colorful origami paper into fanciful animals. Once he’d folded a zoo’s worth of animals, I watched him play with them, talk to them and give them quirky personalities. His paper animals seemed almost real and I found myself thinking that while an adult may create art for art’s sake, children extend their art into their own lives through imaginative play.

Fold Me a Poem

Fold Me a Poem is an absolutely wonderful book by Kristine O’Connell that brings poetry to life through the art of paper folding or Origami. Kristine offers tips and even a downloadable Teachers Guide for Origami folding on her website. Have fun folding some animals of your own and then be sure to share them on our Facebook Page and even on Pinterest as well.

The story Fold Me a Poem includes 32 brief poems that focus on a boy as he folds a series of origami animals. As he creates, he imagines their thoughts and possible activities. Fold Me a Poem is a wonderful example of a book being more than the sum of its parts. Inside the covers of this stunning creation, the poems and illustrations blend to create a picture book that is both inspiring and entertaining.

When I was reading Kristine’s bio and info on her website, I was struck by her comments about the first time she saw illustrator Lauren Stringer’s renderings for the Fold Me a Poem book. Here’s an excerpt;

I was startled when I first saw the Lauren Stringer’s sketches for FOLD ME A POEM: She had painted what was inside my head! I’ve never met Lauren and we didn’t communicate while she was working on the book. So, how did she know that I’d visualized the camel leaning against the salt shaker? Spooky! Most importantly, Lauren clearly saw that this book was not only about origami, but was also an exploration of a child’s joy in creating art and weaving that art into a deeply personal, imaginative world. I love Lauren Stringer’s evocative art; the Internet doesn’t do justice to the gorgeous full-page spreads and her vibrant colors!

This observation from Kristine makes me smile because it is SO similar to my working relationship with The Fox Diaries and now The Ultimate Guide to Charlie graphic designer and co-creator Roscoe Welply. Though Roscoe and I always were in contact during The Ultimate Guide to Charlie, we live an ocean apart. I always delighted in “reveal days” when he would send me his creations for “Charlie.” I often joke that if  if Roscoe and I went to the same building every day to create this book, we would have something entirely different. One of the best aspects of creating virtually is space. We have that in many ways. We live in different parts of the world. I’m here in the States and Roscoe lives in France, but somehow, we always remain “in tune” with each other.

Something To Do:

Time to create some of your own Origami characters! When doing origami with children I love to use 12 x 12 scrapbooking paper. It’s large enough to let little hands figure out all of the folding on a larger surface. Once they learn it they usually like to work on smaller paper. Enjoy!

Here Kitty, Kitty:

  • Start with a 12″x12″ piece of square paper.
  • Fold it corner to corner,color side out to make a triangle.
  • Fold the left corner to the right corner to make a smaller triangle
  • Now unfold the triangle so it lays flat again. This is your center line
  • Fold each side corner upwards to make the ears.
  • Fold the top corner down towards you.
  • Flip the cat over and draw eyes, ear, nose and mouth.


A Whale of a Tale:

  • Start with a 12″x12″ piece of square paper. Pattern side down.
  • Turn paper so a corner is at the top and the bottom.
  • Fold the right corner to the left corner to make a triangle.
  • Open it back up.
  • Fold the left and right sides to meet the crease in the center.
  • Fold the top tip down to meet the folded sides.
  • Fold the entire whale in half.
  • Rotate it 90 degrees so that the tip is on the left.
  • Fold the point of the whale up to make the tail.
  • Turn it over and here’s your whale. Feel free to draw a face.

Happy folding!