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Here are some articles about Jeff Nathan:
Posted with permission from The Patriot Ledger

Reprinted with the permission from The Reminder
East Longmeadow, MA
             Poet visits Mountain View
sherlock poems
   Jeff Nathan as Sherlock Poems, Poetry Detective. Fourth grader Tiana  Mackin said, "He was great and I am not usually interested in poetry." Reminder Publications submitted photo
By Courtney Llewellyn
Reminder Assistant Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Do you know the difference between a metaphor and a simile? Better yet, do you know how to make learning language arts fun? Poet Jeff Nathan does, and he returned to Mountain View Elementary last Friday to share his wit and wisdom with the third, fourth and fifth graders there.

An engineering graduate of the University of Rochester, Nathan moved to Andover, Mass., in 1983. He got married and had four children, now ages 18 through 25, who he began writing poems for when he was 33 years old.

"I started writing for my children, who were auditioning for roles in musical theater," Nathan explained. "They had to act out a poem as part of the audition and we noticed a lot of the same poems were being used. I wanted to give my kids something new to make them stand out."

Soon, other children were asking Nathan to write for them as well. The theater group the children were auditioning for convinced him to publish his works and 11 years after he wrote that first poem, Nathan released "There's a Hippo in My Locker" in 2000. He now has three collections published, with a fourth coming out sometime next year.

"I did a lot of creative writing as a kid, but my skills didn't really bubble to the top until I had kids," he told Reminder Publications. "I've always enjoyed working with kids and when I first started my [language arts] program, the kids loved it but the teachers didn't because it was too silly. It had to be a bit more educational. I tweaked it and now we all have a lot of fun."

Nathan's most popular program is "Learning Language Arts Through Humor," which can be geared at different grade levels, based on what each grade is learning. He also has a character called "Sherlock Poems, Poetry Detective."

"Sherlock Poems is a bumbling idiot," Nathan laughed. "He makes ridiculous mistakes and the kids have a great time correcting him."

The best part of his method, however, is that the children "don't realize they're learning as they're learning," according to Nathan.

In addition to working on things like metaphors and similes, Nathan works with the elementary school students on writing backwards (from the end to the beginning) and how to improve brainstorming skills.

"[Nathan] does what I look for in an enrichment program," Mountain View principal Carolyn Wallace said. "He brings things the students can use right now and the fourth grade teachers are very pleased with the work he does with poetry."

Fourth graders are required to take a more extensive language arts MCAS test and Wallace said in the past, the students at Mountain View had been having some issues analyzing poetry on the exam.

"One of the gifted and talented program teachers [Kim Turnberg] found him last year when we were looking for authors to visit," Wallace stated. Nathan first visited the school last year, and Wallace said she'd like to see him continue to visit the school in the future.

"His humor is definitely at the kids' level, as are his words and his concepts," Wallace explained. "I wouldn't be surprised if we invited him back every year because the students learn different things every year. This is a program where children aren't learning the exact same thing at each level."

"My goal is to help kids learn through humor," Nathan said. "They have a blast while I'm there and they get a different perspective on what they're learning. Between the classroom work and what I do, I think they're getting the complete package."

Nathan's visit was funded by the Mountain View PTO and by a grant from the East Longmeadow Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

To learn more about Nathan, visit his Web site at

Reprinted with permission from the Upton and Mendon Town Crier

The Springfield Republican © 2005 The Republican Company. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
Shown with permission from the Needham Hometown Weekly, Needham, MA


























Posted with permission from:
The Lawrence Eagle- Tribune

Posted with permission from the Tribune-Press

Author says it's fun playing games with language
By Nicole Soucy/ Correspondent
Thursday, February 26, 2004
Reprinted with permission from The Metrowest Daily News

Marlborough Intermediate Elementary School was looking for a new way to get its fourth-graders excited about writing and poetry, and they found their answer in the form of Jeff Nathan, a children's author and creator of PunOETRY, the combination of puns and poetry.

"We wanted someone who could discuss book writing and poetry and would fit into the curriculum," said Sarah Byrne, an MIE fourth-grade teacher and event coordinator.

Nathan, also the author of "There's a Hippo in My Locker" (2000) and "Calling All Animals: the first book of PunOETRY" (2003), entertained his young audience with his poems, including several readings from his upcoming book, which has the working title "I Object to These Objects."

Throughout his readings, he explained how he used puns, poetry, similes and metaphors and that they would be found on the fourth-graders' MCAS tests, which they will be taking later this year.

Nathan, who has worked with children for 21 years, advised the students that whenever they read poems, they should act like a detective to interpret it by paying attention, gathering clues and reading it again.

"Have fun with it, and treat it like a puzzle," said Nathan. "Eliminate the answers that don't fit until you find the right one."

After reading the poem "Duck!" from "Calling All Animals ..." Nathan quizzed the audience. With his instructions, the enthusiastic children were eager to answer.

Both Ryan Crory and David Blake were awarded autograph copies of Nathan's books for their detective skills.

Nathan, a former marketing representative, shared his writing experiences and provided tips to encourage the fourth-graders to write.

He began writing poems for his four children, and eventually neighborhood children, when they auditioned for plays at the Merrimack Junior Theater in Andover.

"All of the other kids were performing poems by Shel Silverstein," said Nathan. "Instead of reading the same Shel Silverstein poems, I wrote poems for my children so they would have something new and different to perform."


Nathan suggested that students use emotions to write, and advised them to act in order to feel emotions toward a subject, in which they may not strongly believe.

While Nathan was writing poems for his children to perform, Lisa Harney, who is now 15, asked him to write a poem for her. Nathan asked her what she felt strongly about, and a few days later, Harney returned and told him. He then wrote "Lisa Harney's Annoyance."

He explained to the students how he had to live the part as Lisa Harney. While performing the poems, the students quickly learned that middle school boys were Harney's annoyance.

"This was difficult for me because I was a middle school boy once, and I had to think of the ways middle school boys act that middle girls would find annoying." said Nathan.

He told the students about "poetic license," which received cheers when he said, "With poetic license you can break the rules."

He explained how poetic license, such as incorrect spelling or grammar, can be used to express a point, and then read his poem "Me Shoes," with an English accent.

"Me Shoes," which appears in "There's a Hippo in My Locker," is about an Englishman who is obsessed with his shoes and does everything he can to protect them.

Nathan's discussion also covered illustrations, and how illustrators, such as Liz Ball, the illustrator of "Calling All Animals ...," will place a "hidden" character or trademark in every picture. Nathan pointed out that Ball drew a slug-like worm for every picture of the book.

Nathan also works with was Jillian Nathan, his 22-year-old daughter who drew the pictures for "There's a Hippo in My Locker."

"Calling All Animals ...," Nathan's recent book has been nominated for the "Notable Books in Language Arts" 2004 Awards and the "2004 Pinnacle Awards" for Children's Interest.

"I have a lot of fun playing with words," said Nathan, "and, I have a blast writing poems." He encouraged students to try something different when a teacher asks them to write.

"I did not enjoy writing until I began writing children's poetry," he said. "Who knows, you might enjoy if you try something new."

Posted with permission from The Daily News

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