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Poetry for Children
Poetry Break #8

A poem by Judith Viorst

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 night 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.

from: If I Were In Charge of the World,
Macmillan, 1981

Introduction
Most children fantasize about what they would do if they were "in charge of the world." Think back about when you were a child. What would YOU have wanted to change, if you could have?

Extension
Of course this poem begs for children to write their own poems listing things they'd want to change if they were in charge of the world. Also in repeated read alouds, children can join in on the repeated phrase, "If I were in charge of the world." Write the phrase on the board or on a strip of paper to use as a visual cue, especially for non-readers or ESL students.