When Green Becomes Tomatoes
by Julie Fogliano
Pictures by Julie Morstad
When I read Jackie Leather’s Nerdy Book Club post of “Ten Quiet Picture Books that Speak Volumes,” I added When Green Becomes Tomatoes to my Amazon wish list immediately. This beautiful book of poetry takes children through a whole year of nature. Using incredible language and gorgeous illustrations, this is a great book to read through once and then return to throughout the year. Poet Julie Fogliano’s writing helps children learn about the world and their place in it, with vivid lines like “if you want to be sure / that you are nothing more than small / stand at the edge of the ocean / looking out.” This book is bound to have a place on classroom bookshelves for years to come.
The poems in this book would make great mentor texts for students who are giving nature-inspired poetry a shot. One of my favorite lines in the text describes snowfall: “as if, one day, the mountain decides / to put on its white furry hat / and call it winter.” The personification of the world around us helps readers to immerse themselves in Fogliano’s writing, imagining that they are standing at the foot of that mountain, looking up at that furry white hat.
In addition to inspiring student writing, these poems are a great fit for repeated reading. I can’t wait to use these poems for reading fluency practice in my classroom. I just know that students are going to have great conversations about whether Fogliano’s writing reflects the weather we are experiencing on any given day. As soon as we are back from winter break, we’ll be giving the January poems a try!