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A Golden Shovel Poem for the Authors Take Action #ClimatePoemProject

Students, teachers, and librarians, you’re invited to participate in the Authors Take Action #ClimatePoemProject! I’m joining other children’s poets and authors to share poetry prompts on the theme of “climate” for National Poetry Month and Earth Day, April 2023.

Listen along:


[0:04] Introduction

Matthew: Welcome to the Children’s Book Podcast. I’m Matthew.

And this is a very special bonus episode to kick of a month of very special bonus episodes.

[0:18] School Library Month

April is School Library Month (my favorite)! And it’s also Poetry Month.

So, to celebrate, I’ve invited some poets writing for kids like you to share a poem they’ve written.

You’ll hear a poem everyday following one of our main episodes. Those regular episodes come out on Tuesdays, and you’ll hear a poem on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all throughout the month of April.

But I’d also love to hear YOUR poems!

[0:46] Authors Take Action #ClimatePoemProject

So to inspire and support you, I’m participating in the Authors Take Action #ClimatePoemProject. You can find links to climate poetry prompts from your favorite children’s authors and poets on my website on the post for this episode. I’ll also include a link in the show notes.

Here’s my prompt for each of you, my blossoming poets.

It’s one of my favorite forms: the Golden Shovel.

It’s a poem form created by Terrance Hayes and inspired by Gwendolyn Brooks.

Here are the rules for the Golden Shovel (as published on Writer's Digest):

  • Take a line (or lines) from a poem you admire.

  • Use each word in the line (or lines) as an end word in your poem.

  • Keep the end words in order.

  • Give credit to the poet who originally wrote the line (or lines).

  • The new poem does not have to be about the same subject as the poem that offers the end words.

If you pull a line with six words, your poem would be six lines long. If you pull a stanza with 24 words, your poem would be 24 lines long. And so on.

I’m expanding the form and inviting you to use a quote from the climate activist, Greta Thunburg. In fact, this is actually the same prompt my 3rd graders are using in our poem project in the library this month!

Here are some quotes from Thunburg that you might consider for your Golden Shovel poem:

  • “Giving up cannot be an option.”

  • “I believe that one person can make a difference.”

  • “People are underestimating the force of angry kids.”

  • “Not having hope is not an excuse for not doing something.”

  • “I just know what is right and I want to do what is right.”

I used the quote “Giving up cannot be an option.”, and here’s my Golden Shovel poem:

“If Your Heart is Giving”

By Matthew Winner

Inspired by a quote from Greta Thunburg

if your heart is giving

and your voice willing, show up

for the earth, even if you think you cannot.

you can be

a force to reckon with, an

agent of change, because doing nothing is not an option.

[0:00] Closing

I cannot wait to read what you write. Write to me or send me a message at That’s M-A-T-T-H-E-W M-A-K-E-S P-O-D-S at gmail dot com.

Or leave a comment on this post on my website. I cannot wait for you to try out the Golden Shovel poem form and for you to share that Golden Shovel poem with the person or people in your life, me included if you choose to!

Be well. And read on.

Or, should I say, write on?

Write on.

End Of Episode

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