Pirates have always fascinated me, and apparently they intrigue children also. Jake and the Neverland Pirates is a favorite animated show, I hear. There are many children’s books out there that have pirates for characters, as well. This is, of course, the romanticized version of pirates. The cutthroat reality would be a bit much. So to get ready for this episode, I researched pirates. I found out a lot, of course, but have only five minutes or so to present. So I focused on when the stereotypical pirates were sailing the seas. Turns out that the tricorn-wearing, shiver-me-timbers pirates were actually not out there for very long at all. That interested me. Oh, there were pirates for many years, still are of course, but not the flamboyant type. I looked into whether any pirates had redeemed themselves ultimately and become (more or less) law-abiding citizens. I read up on Sir Francis Drake, who was knighted by Elizabeth I, Henry Morgan, who became a lieutenant governor of Jamaica, and others who became landlubbers and lived out their lives. I also read up on Anne Bonny, arguably the most famous female pirate. It can’t be all about the boys, after all. So I had my information and set out to write the poem.
I have to say, I had fun with this one. I decided to focus on what pirates said, their colorful phrases and exclamations. This was also a learning experience for me, and I loved it. And I knew no child could resist a reference to a poop deck. I managed to work quite a bit of pirate jargon into my poem. And, bonus, I am now fully prepared for Talk Like a Pirate Day in September.
So we read the poetry, talked a little about pirates, told a couple of pirate jokes (what’s a pirate’s favorite letter? Rrrrrrrrr), and showed a few pictures of my grandson Charlie dressed as a pirate. And, of course, I had to make a pirate hat and sword so I could look authentic. All in, right? Even if your hat is a touch crooked and your fearsome sword is covered in tin foil. So, avast me hearties, and sail the pirate seas with us. ❤️
I’m a huge believer in two things: the wisdom and potential of our children and the importance of poetry and imagination in their lives and development. My teaching background is at the high school level, but my methods in the classroom ran high in interaction and whimsy, at least as much whimsy as preparation for state testing allowed. I have four young grandchildren, and I nannied a little boy for over four years from infancy, so I like to think I know children pretty well. And I used poetry to teach and inspire no matter what ages I was called to teach. Poetry takes very big ideas and boils them down to nuggets of wisdom more easily understood. And then there’s the rhyme, such a valuable asset to pre-reading and a great hook to pull the little ones into the poetry itself. The rhythm, cadence, and yes, the rhyme, all have value for kids. Even if the full meaning of the words eludes them a little, there is value in what they do process.
I have written and published two books of essays and poetry for teachers, but my greater joy came in writing poetry for children. I began a book of children’s poetry the day my first grandchild Samantha was born and fourteen years later I continue to add to it. I entitled it A Duck in the Sky, which comes from a discussion we had with Sam when she was just a toddler. We were talking about the meaning of life and Sam assured us that the meaning of life was, in fact, a duck in the sky. Fair enough, and a very good title. I never published my children’s book, although that will happen. But in the meantime came Covid and quarantine. I wanted to contribute something, to help entertain young children stuck at home, even if for only a few minutes at a time. So GG Sprinkles was born, someone who reads poetry and entertains with props, demonstrations, etc. Our videos began on a GG Sprinkles Facebook page, and shortly after that became a GG Sprinkles YouTube channel.
So we now have quite a few videos available and I continue to write poetry. I have learned a great deal about a lot of topics: fairies, zebras, angels, octopuses, birds, superheroes, blanket forts, dragons, space, buried treasure, planets, burping, puppets, trains, unicorns, kites, magic wands, and so much more. It has been a pure joy to do this for the kids. And, of course, I’m learning so much along the way. We intend to keep the videos coming as long as the poetry comes and the kids and parents are interested. We’d be delighted to have you come along with us as we explore new topics poetically and just have some fun. GG Sprinkles welcomes you to any of the videos you’d like to watch and further thoughts here on my blog. Enjoy!
View All Posts