Community Collection 18: SPECIAL TEACHERS with Kristine O’Connell George

Welcome to Poetry Month 2018 at No Water River!
Please take a moment to peruse the how-to below, and then dive in! Happy writing — and thank you for helping to build our collection(s)!
Remember: The Community Collections are open indefinitely, so you can visit each post at your leisure to add your poem!


Today’s Guest…

has been spreading poetry love since 1997 through her books, school visits, presentations, and teaching. Please welcome poet (and special teacher herself) …






“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you…” –Dan Rather
Write a poem about a special teacher (or coach) who helped you and made a difference in your life. If you share your poem with your teacher, let us know what happened!



1. Paste it into the comment section below. I will gather the poems and add them to this post. OR
2. Email it to me at and I will add it to this post (graphics welcome)!




Kristine O’Connell George is one of the principal voices in contemporary children’s poetry. Since her first highly-acclaimed book, The Great Frog Race, was published in 1997, Kristine O’Connell George’s poetry has generated excitement and earned honors and praise. Awards for her books include the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, International Reading Association / Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, the Golden Kite, Myra Cohn Livingston Poetry Awards, Claudia Lewis Poetry Awards, ALA notables, NCTE notables, School Library Journal Best Books, Hornbook Fanfare, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, and IRA-CBC Children’s Choice.

George says she “fell in love with children’s poetry” in 1989 in a children’s poetry writing class taught by Myra Cohn Livingston for the UCLA Writer’s Program. George studied with Livingston until her death in 1996 and has taught courses on writing poetry for children at the UCLA Writer’s Program where she first met Livingston. George served as poetry consultant for PBS’s Storytime, is a board member emeritus for the Children’s Literature Council of Southern California, and received an International Reading Association “Celebrate Literacy” award from the Foothill Reading Council. She is a member of educational and writers’ organizations including PEN, The Author’s Guild, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

A frequent speaker at conferences, George also enjoys visiting schools, conducting poetry enrichment workshops, and sharing her enthusiasm for poetry with students of all ages.

Discover more about the author and her books at



These tiny poems — rhymed, free verse, haiku, even an acrostic — cover the first year of junior high (sixth, seventh, and eighth grade). The unnamed female narrator sees the first “jigsaw year” as refitting and recombining old friends and new, old ideas and new. In “Is It Monday Again?” she decries dividing the week into “seven square pieces / (five for school, two for me)” and in “Lunch Survey” the myriad variants on “peanut butter and” are trumped by Zach’s sushi. The mysteries of lockers and uncontrolled giggling are plumbed, as is the rapture of the boy you like liking you back: “I am shining / from the inside out.” There’s a running thread about practicing the flute until at last she can make something like music. Sweet and on key. (Booklist review)




This tree across the stream is a trickier bridge than it might seem… A collection of short poems that celebrate trees and the amazing variety of ways they touch our lives. Deceptively simple verses reveal what trees think about and what they say to one another, as well as how they look and all the things they do for us. Humor and an unerring ear for the sounds of language make these poems an irresistible read-aloud; the luminous oil paintings evoke a country setting and the children who enjoy it through the year. (from author’s website)

“The delightful use of language plays on the senses as it creates word pictures that are sure to entertain.  The selections beg to be read aloud and shared.” (School Library Journal, starred review)



Emma is Jess’s little sister . . . and her dilemma. How can one small girl be sweet, funny, imaginative, playful, and affectionate as well as a clinging vine, brat, tattletale, and nuisance–all at the same time? Why is Jess supposed to be a good big sister while Emma doesn’t have to be a good little sister?

The highlights and low points of this sibling relationship are insightfully evoked in short and simple poems, some funny, some touching, and all resonant with emotional truth. Every child with a younger sibling will recognize Jess’s dilemma and the combination of ambivalence and deep loyalty that is built into the sibling relationship. Nancy Carpenter’s graceful illustrations perceptively complement Kristine O’Connell George’s agile poems. (from

Winner of the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award


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“Math” copyright © by Kristine O’Connell George.
Copyright on community collection poems held by authors indicated. All rights reserved.
Other post content © 2018 Renée M. LaTulippe or as indicated. All rights reserved.
Bucket of chalk by; Chalkboard by Markus Spiske; both via Pexels (no attribution required)