It’s Day 30 of our #WaterPoemProject — 30 31 days of water-themed poetry prompts from your favorite children’s authors. (Surprise! There will be a bonus prompt tomorrow!!)

If you’re looking for National Poetry Month writing prompts, we’ve got you covered. Start with Day 1 and you’ll have poetry prompts from now through the end of April.

New to this project? Please read the Introduction and FAQ. Or you can watch this video of me describing how to participate. It’s on the YouTube channel Authors Everywhere.

Poet and children’s author Janet Wong joins us today. In addition to her own writing, Janet is co-editor of the wonderful Poetry Friday series from Pomelo Books.

Janet’s prompt is: Write a Gift Poem

Janet Wong

You know how it feels when someone gives you a gift. No matter how small or inexpensive, it lifts you up. I love gifts even more when they’re homemade.

So, for today, how about making a gift poem? Take someone in your family—mother, father, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, cousin, grandparent—or a neighbor, or a friend, or someone you’d like to thank. Now use metaphor/simile to turn that person into some kind of water. Maybe:

—your mailman is like a river, full of life, bringing a steady stream of surprises . . .

—your friend is like a bottle of bubbly soda water . . .

—your father is the ocean, with powerful currents and deep mysteries . . .

—your mother is the warm water in your bath, calming you down, washing you clean . . .

—your neighbor is a screaming tea kettle . . .

You might find that some of the poems that pour out of you aren’t exactly “gift material.” If the poem might hurt someone’s feelings (or if it might get you into trouble, like that tea kettle idea), tear it into a hundred little pieces and throw it away. It’s OK: the poem still has done something good. It’s helped you get your feelings out! When you’re sad or angry or confused, that’s a good time to write a poem.

And if you do write a poem that can be given as a gift—a poem that you think will make someone happy—share it! Read it aloud at breakfast, or send it via email, or tape it to your window. Copy it on an index card or other small piece of paper, decorate it, and keep it in your pocket for Poem in Your Pocket Day (usually celebrated the last week of April) or any day. This way, you’ll be giving a gift to yourself—a reminder of how special YOU are!

Find out more about Poem in Your Pocket Day here:

Exciting news, poets! As you saw at the top of the post, we will have a bonus prompt tomorrow. Consider it my gift to you.
Write your gift poem by the end of the day tomorrow, Tuesday, April 21, 2020.

If you’re doing the #WaterPoemProject with a group, be sure to share or post your rough draft, read other people’s poems, and cheer for their efforts. Or leave your poem here, in the comments.

Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who switched careers to become a children’s author. Her dramatic career change has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN’s Paula Zahn Show, and Radical Sabbatical. She is the author of more than 30 books for children and teens on a wide variety of subjects, including writing and revision (You Have to Write), diversity and community (Apple Pie 4th of July), peer pressure (Me and Rolly Maloo), chess (Alex and the Wednesday Chess Club), and yoga (Twist: Yoga Poems). Together with Sylvia Vardell, she is the co-creator of The Poetry Friday Anthology series and Poetry Friday Power Book series published by Pomelo Books. Her most recent book is A Suitcase of Seaweed & MORE, a 2020 NCTE Poetry Notable. Find Janet online at and Pomelo Books at


#WaterPoemProject Series Posts:

Project Introduction
Prompt 1: Irene Latham, The Language of Water
Prompt 2: Elizabeth Steinglass, What Would a Raindrop Say?
Prompt 3: Linda Mitchell, Found Haiku
Prompt 4: Shari Green, Fogbow Fibonacci
Prompt 5: Margaret Simon, The Taste of Water
Prompt 6: Heather Meloche, The Shape of a Wave
Prompt 7: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, A Water Memory
Prompt 8: Laura Shovan, Rainy Day Opposites
Prompt 9: Kathryn Apel, Silly Solage
Prompt 10: Buffy Silverman, A Watery Home
Prompt 11: Kara Laughlin, Frozen Fog
Prompt 12: Debbie Levy, Jump into a Limerick
Prompt 13: Joy McCullough, What Are Water Bears?
Prompt 14: Linda Baie, Frozen Water Skinny
Prompt 15: Chris Baron, The Hidden World of Water
Prompt 16: Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Water Wordplay
Prompt 17: Susan Tan, The Sound of Water
Prompt 18: Mike Grosso, Waterplay!
Prompt 19: R. L. Toalson, Wishing Well
Prompt 20: Margarita Engle, Ode to the Shore
Prompt 21: Faye McCray, Poem in a Bubble
Prompt 22: Meg Eden, Surprising Connections
Prompt 23: Beth Ain, Water with Salt
Prompt 24: Kevin Hodgson, A Poem about Peepers
Prompt 25: Laura Purdie Salas, Be a Snow-Maker!
Prompt 26: Amanda Rawson Hill, Where Does Water Come From?
Prompt 27: Nikki Grimes, Word? Play!
Prompt 28: Heidi Mordhorst, Try a Definito!
Prompt 29: Lee Gjertsen Malone, Dirty Water
Prompt 30: Janet Wong, Write a Gift Poem

Please support the #WaterPoemProject authors by buying their books from your favorite independent bookstore.

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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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