Saturday, June 20, 2020

Robert Frost: Papa Is a Poet

In honor of Father's Day this weekend, I thought I would discuss a father most of us are somewhat familiar with: Robert Frost.

Yes, as in Robert Frost, the poet. 

Why? may be wondering. 

Well, whether I've taught eighth grade or fourth grade, we have ALWAYS studied at least one work by Mr. Frost, so we all know he was a talented writer.

And... having read this beautiful book to my fourth graders this year, we learned that he was also an amazing father!

This lovely tribute is written from the perspective of his oldest child, Lesley. Throughout the beautifully illustrated pages, author Natalie Bober details the charming rural life the Frost family lived when Robert worked as a poultry farmer but dreamed of being a poet.

Illustration from Papa Is a Poet

Her snippets of stories help explain the inspiration behind some of Frost's most famous poems. Through Lesley's eyes, we also discover Robert's inner struggle toward his work and others opinions of him. Best of all, Lesley describes how her parents took the road less traveled and dared to live out their dreams.

Illustration from Papa Is a Poet

As teachers, we know that it is important for us to build relationships with students. I would dare to extend that and say it is just as true for readers to build relationships with authors. How or why can we really connect with a writer if we don't know where he/she is coming from? Are they an authentic voice?

I know from experience that my own students are far more likely to get into a story or other work if they can relate to the author. After hearing a short biography of Gary Paulsen, my students are always eager to read his adventure stories.  Likewise, The Outsiders suddenly becomes a much more interesting read to my 8th graders when they find out the author was a teenager herself when she wrote it. (They love it even more when we watch the movie and discover that she makes a cameo as a nurse!)

Making authors relatable to their readers is an important part of teaching literature. After reading Papa Is a Poet, my students all agreed that Robert Frost definitely walked his talk and lived a beautifully poetic life. 


Edited: Sadly, this book can be difficult to locate. I ordered my copy through Amazon last year, but I see it isn't currently available. However, I do see that it is offered on Audible, AND I was very excited to see that there is a video edition of this beautiful book available for FREE on Amazon Prime (with your Prime membership). That way everyone in the room can easily lovely pictures. 😊