Back-to-school worries… (& poetry by Judith Viorst)

Be extra nice to your kids this weekend. If they seem out of sorts, extra rambunctious or act out more than usual, they may be anxious about starting school. After all, as poet Judith Viorst shows us, there are lots of things for kids to worry about…

The First Day of School

Will they let me go when I need to go to the bathroom?
And what if I get lost on my way back to class?
And what if all of the other kids are a hundred, a thousand,
a million times smarter than I am?
And what if we have a spelling test, or a reading test, or an…
Anything test, and I’m the only person who doesn’t pass?

And what if my teacher decides that she doesn’t like me?
And what if, all of a sudden, a tooth gets loose?
And what if I can’t find my lunch, or sit on my lunch,
Or I (oops!) drop my lunch down someplace like the toilet?
Will they let me starve or will somebody lend me a sandwich?
A cookie? A cracker? An apple? Some juice?

And what if they say, “Do this,” and I don’t understand them?
And what if there’s teams, and nobody picks me to play?
And what if I took off my sneakers, and also my socks,
And also my jeans, my sweatshirt, and T-shirt
And started the first day of school on the second day?

–Judith Viorst

I’m very interested to hear what kinds of things you’ve found that your kids worry about going back to school? Comments?


Great children’s poetry I didn’t even know I had…(Judith Viorst)

Last month Rich, Amelia and I went to an awesome used book sale at the Cazenovia Public Library. All the books were 25-50 cents so we went a little crazy and bought Amelia about a TON of books — so many we haven’t even read them all yet.

Well, last night I pulled out one we haven’t read and that I’d forgotten about called If I Were in Charge of the World, and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents by Judith Viorst. It was so cute!

Granted, it didn’t have the perfect end rhymes, strict meter and colorful pictures that I’ve come to enjoy sharing with my 6-month old, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book and think it will be great for Amelia when she’s older. Judith Viorst manages to write as if she’s a little kid. Her perspective is dead-on to the point that it makes YOU remember things you did and felt when you were a kid. And I think that’s why the subtitle of this book is “Poems For Children and their Parents.” It’s as much for adults as it is for children…but in such different ways!

I am very interested in checking out more poetry from Judith Viorst and in learning more about her. She seems like an interesting woman. She wrote for children (and adults) for more than 20 years and then turned her attention to the formal study of Freudian psychology. I think the fact that this was Viorst’s natural prograssion of interests is a testament to just how deeply she considered the true feelings of children in her writings.

I’m glad I found out about her and will post more as I read it.

Below is the title poem from her book.

If I Were in Charge of the World

by Judith Viorst

If I were in charge of the world
I’d cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

If I were in charge of the world
There’d be brighter nights lights,
Healthier hamsters, and
Basketball baskets forty eight inches lower.

If I were in charge of the world
You wouldn’t have lonely.
You wouldn’t have clean.
You wouldn’t have bedtimes.
Or “Don’t punch your sister.”
You wouldn’t even have sisters.

If I were in charge of the world
A chocolate sundae with whipped cream and nuts would be a vegetable
All 007 movies would be G,
And a person who sometimes forgot to brush,
And sometimes forgot to flush,
Would still be allowed to be
In charge of the world.

If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries

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