A Child's Recipe for Enlightenment
Edited by Sita Stulberg
This is a profound and touching collection of poetry written by children, grades 3 through 8, revealing their perceptions and feelings about love, Spirit, and the 'power of dreams,' including highly insightful comments on death, homelessness, angels, violence, and some very personal prayers for peace. These children paint dramatic and surprisingly articulate descriptions of their world, as seen through painfully honest eyes, including some sobering fears for the disappearing natural environment around them.
"There's such a mixture of sadness, joy and awareness. This [book] is so enlightening ... it's like years of therapy. These poems are just wonderful!"
— Bonnie Grice, KUSC Radio
"What the children have to say about their world is as compelling and articulate as any argument I've heard on Capitol Hill. Their poetry is a doorway ... a way [for us] to see into their hearts. We can suddenly see through their eyes."
— Los Angeles Times, Westside Weekly
A Child's Recipe for Enlightenment is "striking ... unfiltered and sharp." Students from Los Angeles elementary through middle schools write with "sensitivity and courage - gut honest and clear" about a fragile and beloved world in need of protection.
— Los Angeles Reader
I am not the 'author,' but rather the teacher and editor of this collection of student poems.
From the Author
Having taught children to write their own poetry for over eleven years, I've read poems about cousins who were shot to death, brothers set aflame in back alleys, homelessness, abandonment, and grave concerns for the natural environment they are keenly aware of losing. But most striking is the depth of the children's sensitivity and courage, in the face of these events - their comprehension of the fragility of their world as a whole, in need of protection.
This is a collection of those pieces that were most representative of what I've been seeing over the years. Some of their work takes a refreshing, almost tongue-in-cheek attitude toward even the gravest of circumstances, as in fifth grader Geroge Barnes' poem, One Black Hole: "1 Robber,/ 1 murderer,/ 1 gangbanger,/ 1 pack of cigarettes,/ 1 picture of the person you hate most,/ 15 sucky games,/ the riots,/ 1gun,/ 1 knife,/ 1 bottle of liquor,/ 1 jacked up car,/ one song that makes women feel bad,/ and a partridge in a pear tree/ Now you have a black hole ..."
Students see poetry as an honest and accessible outlet for expressing their most terrifying fears, startling secrets, and tender, often exhilarating dreams. One of the scores of student poets I've worked with says simply: "I LOVE Poetry - because I can express my feelings and get all my frustrations and anger out. Poetry makes me feel good about myself."- Ashlee Hitchcock, grade 6.