Playing Pretend, Poetically


Each year, hundreds of K-12 students visit the UA Poetry Center on field trips, which almost always include a writing workshop. This year, in tangent with Brave Books 2018-2019: Bold Librarians, Readers and Booksellers of the Arab World, these students are writing poems inspired by the work of Naomi Shihab Nye.

Middle and high schoolers read Nye's poem "Arabic Coffee" and write food odes in response, while younger students look at Sometimes I Pretend, a wonderful and whimsical book object Nye created in partnership with Peter and Donna Thomas. After we look at the object and read the poem, the students write their own version of "Sometimes I Pretend" collaboratively. I'm always amazed at the imaginative, silly, and thought-provoking lines they come up with! 

Here are two "Sometimes I Pretend" poems written by second graders from Lineweaver Elementary:

Sometimes I Pretend . . .

I'm a mermaid

I'm a ballet dancer

I’m a tiger when I’m in my costumes

That I don’t lay in bed all day

I’m Elsa going to my castle

I be a pirate in a ship with a roof

I'm a Roblox character

I’m a cat and I meow really well when I pretend I’m a cat

I'm a dragon and I fly

I'm Wonderwoman while playing a game with my friends

I'm a ghost rider

I'm Omnifarious, my favorite villain

I’m on a rollercoaster

I'm a ninja in camouflage

I'm a human

To go to the bathroom

To be asleep

I’m in Minecraft

I’m a horse


Sometimes I Pretend . . .

I’m the theme song of Octonauts

I’m an inventor who made a vehicle that can turn into things by using my mind

I can fly in the sky

I’m a beautiful butterfly

I’m a shapeshifter and I turn into a wolf

That my cat can talk

That my bike can fly when I ride on it really fast

I’m a chicken finger in a box trying to survive from not getting eaten

I’m a French bulldog

I’m Captain Ahmed from Prodigy

I’m a little purple doggy

That we’re dogs finding new ways to play with balls

I’m Pikachu because I just like doing the voice

I’m eating spaghetti

I’m Nature Boy who goes on journeys

Photo by Annette Batista Day