Usually deception is a trait that is looked down upon and not praised. Paradoxically, Gail Carson Levine takes a witty approach to this less than amusing topic by sharing a collection of “false apology poems.” The meaning of each poem is subtly enhanced by her illustrator, Matthew Cordell, who uses simple black line drawings. Gail’s book, Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems, was inspired by William Carlos Williams’ notable poem “This Is Just to Say.” Readers will undoubtedly have distinct reactions to this book. With just two weeks until Yom Kippur, I recommend this collection to Jewish parents. It may help their children draw the line between sincere and disingenuous apologies. Oftentimes children are quick to say they are sorry even though their actions are contrary. Reading or listening to other characters’ false apologies might help some children realize that some words can ring hollow.
Lying is the cornerstone for this collection of fanciful poems. Some focus on fairytales/nursery rhymes while others relate to relationships with family and friends. Usually, deception results in negative consequences. However in this case, these lighthearted poems create an atmosphere for open discussion.
Many children shy away from poetry due to its serious nature and confusing meanings. Taking an intense topic and turning it inside out is sure to engage even the most reluctant poetry reader. Gail’s underlying messages are straightforward. Reading this collection will definitely cause a chuckle. It will also cause children to recall moments of dishonesty and deceit. Perhaps it might even encourage some children to create their version of false apology poems or sincere apology poems.
To get a taste of the collection, I am sharing a couple.
This Is Just to Say
I have shortened
with your saw
is so much fun
I don’t care
a real boy
This Is Just to Say
out of the gentle
you were merrily
Sandra’s memoir highlights her living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.