The little book below, A Psalm of Life, by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was published sometime in the 1900s by Cupples and Leon, NY. It is from my grandparents library. I always loved digging in their library, housed on a small, but important, bookcase made by Grandpa. Even more wonderful, was hearing Grandpa recite poetry. It was like hearing a great storyteller. He knew all of Snow-Bound, by John Greenleaf Whittikerand James Russell Lowell’s The Vision of Sir Launfal. I write about this and how he contributed to my love of poetry in my most recent blog: Happy National Poetry Month. I loved to get children learning poetry when I was an elementary school teacher. By the way, I never told children to learn a poem, but by the end of the year we all knew about twenty poems by heart.
I hadn’t seen A Psalm of Life when I compiled and edited the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow addition to the Sterling Press Poetry for Young People series. When I found it, it was like meeting an old friend as I had read so much of Longfellow’s work in selecting poetry for the book. The book is an example of beautiful words, beautifully presented. I think I had something similar in mind when I had children illustrate the poems we learned over a year together.