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Poetry for Children
Poetry Break #25

A poem by a poet who is not American (international)

Napoleon
by Miroslav Holub
Czechoslovakia
Translated by Kaca Polackova

Children, when was
Napoleon Bonaparte
born?
asks the teacher.

A thousand years ago,
say the children.
A hundred years ago,
say the children.
Nobody knows.

Children, what did
Napoleon Bonaparte
do?
asks the teacher.

He won a war,
say the children.
He lost a war,
say the children.
Nobody knows.

Our butcher used to have a dog,
says Frankie,
and his name was Napoleon,
and the butcher used to beat him,
and the dog died
of hunger
a year ago.

And now all the children feel sorry
for Napoleon.

from This Same Sky:
A Collection of Poems from Around the World
Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye; Four Winds, 1992.

Introduction
Invite the children to read aloud the lines designated by the words, "say the children."

Extension
Does anyone know who Napoleon really was? Look it up.
OR, invite the students to share stories about their dogs!