The American Library of Poetry selects works by fifth-graders

Malabar language arts teacher Bev Whaley talks with Grace Swiger, left, Gracie Hudson and Aeryana Davis.

      Three young poets soon will have their work preserved in a book placed in the Malabar Intermediate School library.

      Poems by sixth-graders Grace Swiger, Aeryana Davis and Gracie Hudson were selected for inclusion in “Illustrious,” a book which features students’ poetry from across the nation.

      The girls wrote their poems while fifth-graders last year as part of a class project led by language arts teacher Beverly Whaley. Students were asked to read a book, then write a poem to reflect their sense of what they had read.

      “This was a creativity project,” Whaley said. “It also was a family engagement project. Last May we invited parents in to have refreshments while hearing all of the students read their poems.”

      Whaley submitted the class’s poems to the American Library of Poetry which selected those written by Swiger, Davis and Hudson to be published in “Illustrious.” Poetry is chosen on the basis of creativity and originality.

      “We will place a copy of the book in our library. Gracie, Aeryana and Grace will sign their poems and be an inspiration to other students,” Whaley said.

      The students read their poems at the board of education meeting on Feb. 18 during which Whaley was recognized as the district’s monthly Every Student, Every Day champion. 

      “I enjoy writing. I like to express myself through poetry,” Swiger said.

      Here is her poem “Scared,” written in response to the book “After the Fall”:


Lets you down


Makes you nervous


Makes fear go away


Lets you go back up the wall


Makes you follow your dreams


      Davis said she uses words “that connect with how I feel.” Her poem also was in response to “After the Fall”:

FEAR can be frustrating

When you fall from the COLORFUL place you land in the GRAY place.

You can always get BETTER!

It feels like you can NEVER get up.

Sometimes NOTHING helps.

You have to keep TRYING!

You will NEVER GIVE UP what needs to be done.

You give up UNTIL you inspire.

You DECIDE what to do.

You BELIEVE in yourself.

It is TERRIFYING at first.

But when you keep trying you are NO LONGER AFRAID.


      Hudson joined Swiger and Davis is saying that language arts is her favorite subject.

      “I enjoy writing,” she said. “I can write with my emotions without anyone telling me how to write.”

      Her poem is in response to the book “Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam.” It is titled “Lost.”

The pain the sorrow the hate

No peace

No love

No hope

No life in such a beautiful place

Where many grow, more die

Your life flashing before your eyes

More times than you can count

As you see the number of your enemies


So do you.

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