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Pocketful of PoemsA Pocketful of Poems
illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Clarion Books, 2001
Poets use personification to help their poems come to life. Personification is a long word that just means making an object act like a person. That's it. You just pretend that the object (anything like a leaf, scissors) is a person.


"April showers scrub the air" (from page 9 of A Pocketful of Poems)
"purple flowers shout the news" (page 7)

Ways to make something human:

Make it move like a person: running, cartwheeling, reaching, etc.
Make it sound like a person: shouting, whispering, listening, etc.
Give it emotion: sadness, joy, hope, etc.

You try:
Trees ______________ in the moonlight.
The clouds _____________ in a rainstorm.
Streetlights _____________ when _______________.

The ball ____________ as it ________________.

Jack hammers ________________ as they ________________.
Now look around the room (or even better—go outside) and find three more things to personify. Try to find things that are doing something human-like.
Teacher's Guide prepared by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer. Visit her website by clicking here.

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