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Poetry for Children
Poetry Break #22

A poem by a poet who is Hispanic American

Ode to Family Photographs
by Gary Soto

This is the pond, and these are my feet.
This is the rooster, and this is more of my feet.

Mama was never good at pictures.

This is a statue of a famous general who lost an arm,
And this is me with my head cut off.

This is a trash can chained to a gate,
This is my father with his eyes half-closed.

This is a photograph of my sister
And a giraffe looking over her shoulder.

This is our car's front bumper.
This is a bird with a pretzel in its beak.
This is my brother Pedro standing on one leg on a rock,
With a smear of chocolate on his face.

Mama sneezed when she looked
Behind the camera: the snapshots are blurry,
The angles dizzy as a spin on a merry-go-round.

But we had fun when Mama picked up the camera.
How can I tell?
Each of us is laughing hard.
Can you see? I have candy in my mouth.

From Neighborhood Odes; Harcourt, 1992

Introduction
The traditions and support of the family are very important elements in Hispanic literature for children. Enjoy Gary Soto's humorous reflections on the art of taking family pictures here.

Extension
Bring a special family photograph of your own and share the story behind it. Invite the children to do the same.