Monday, 11 April 2016

Happy launch day to the Emerson Elementary School fifth graders! Today, Ms. Hill’s student poets finally graduate from work-in-progress to published book.

I’ve got something special planned for you, my friends.

Welcome to my Launch Day Challenge. It involves poetry, of course — this is National Poetry Month. It also involves hamsters. (I’ll explain that in a second.)


This is Refried Beans the hamster. He belongs to a 5th grade poet named Jason Chen. He’d better not eat one of my special launch day cookies.

CHALLENGE PROMPT: Write a haiku about fifth grade.

It can be about your favorite teacher, the funniest thing that happened to you that year, or something that you were proud of. All subjects are okay.

Strictly speaking, these poems will be senryu. Never heard of them? Read more about senryu here.

HOW TO SUBMIT: There are two ways…

  1. Leave your haiku in the comments of this post.
  2. Tweet your haiku with the hashtag #My5thGradeAsHaiku. Be sure to tag me (@laurashovan).

DEADLINE: The challenge runs until 4/26.

You’ve got two weeks. I’ll announce winners on the last day of National Poetry Month, April 30.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?: I’m glad you asked.

Check out this amazing THE LAST FIFTH GRADE OF EMERSON ELEMENTARY prize pack. It comes with…


Three haiku-writers will win this prize pack.

*a Refried Beans hamster plushie,


*a “Free Speech” pin,

*and a Save Our School button card.

ARE THERE ANY RULES?: I will select three prize-pack winners.

Be prepared — I may ask your permission to post winners’ and runners’-up haiku on my blog.


If my book had a mascot, Refried Beans would be it. He is the only pet to appear on the cover (can you spot him in the third row from the top?), and he steals the show at the 5th grade science fair.

I can’t wait to read your #My5thGradeAsHaiku poems! Good luck and happy writing.

5 responses to “Launch Day Challenge”

  1. Fun!
    It’s a giggle that you have a hamster pet in this school story. Which as you know I ordered. It should be here anyday! Can’t wait.
    And what a fantabulous offer.
    Will have to get scratchin’.
    You are managing the best launch ever, Laura & your readers appreciate it.

  2. Jessica Bigi says:

    First School Dance

    I asked him to Dance

    Empty Sneaker on the floor

    He’s hiding under the table

  3. […] wonderful novel in verse told by the 18 members of said class, Laura Shovan has invited any and all to share their haiku about fifth grade. Fifth grade doesn’t seem quite as memorable to me as third or sixth grades, but once I made […]

  4. […] ELEMENTARY. All are welcome to tweet a #My5thGradeAsHaiku poem, or leave one in the comments of this post. Full details of the contest are […]

  5. #My5thGradeAsHaiku

    No Heidi bracelet,
    license plate, neon stickers:
    I become Randi.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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