Brod Bagert’s HeART of Science
Poet Brod Bagert is the author of over ten books of poetry for children, young adults, and adults. A former lawyer and New Orleans City Councilman, Bagert penned his first poem as a favor to his daughter, who needed a poem to recite in a school program. Bagert realized that few poems written in children’s voices were available, and so wrote one himself. Since then, he has helped change children’s poetry in America, focusing on performance as well as the poem itself.
According to Timothy Rasinski, a literacy instructor at Kent State University, Bagert’s poems allow children to “study art” through analysis of the poems, and then “create art” when they perform them.
“Since he is one of the few poets to (truly) write in the voice of a child, it’s easy for (students) to use his material for expressiveness,” Rasinski told the New Orleans Times Picayune in a feature on Bagert. The Picayune noted that part of Bagert’s appeal to children was his ability to capture their swirling moods and emotions: “Bagert’s verses often feature the private emotions—raw, complex, humorous—of youthful characters he created,” the article’s author, Ramon Antonio Vargas, noted. Bagert’s books of poetry for children include Elephant Games and Other Playful Poems to Perform (1995), The Gooch Machine (1997), Giant Children (2002), Shout! Little Poems that Roar (2007), and School Fever (2008). His collections for adults include A Bullfrog at Café DuMonde (2008) and Steel Cables (2008).
An active presence in schools nationwide, Bagert compares himself to Johnny Appleseed because he journeys across America, planting a love of poetry in children. He both performs poetry for children and instructs teachers in his Performance Method, “a system which recognizes that poetry is an oral art, and that, for children, a poem comes alive when they perform it,” Bagert commented.
Of his work’s overall impact on children, Bagert noted: “It’s an important moment when a child stands before an audience for the first time. There’s a lot of self-esteem at stake. My children wanted poems they could act out and make everybody laugh. They wanted poems that would help them succeed.”
What is the HeART of Science Series?
A Magic Lamp
The science teacher is skeptical but decides to give it a try.
“OK, genie, here’s my wishes:
1- I want a comprehensive collection of content literature to teach the basics in every field of science.
2- I want it to be accurate science, good literature, and totally entertaining, so my students will love it.
3- And I want all of it to be dramatic, so students and teachers can perform it for multiple grade levels, and everybody will be learning and having fun at the same time. “So it shall be!” The genie exclaims, as out of thin air six words shimmer in the space between them—Brod Bagert’s HeART of Science Series.
Using literature to teach science has become a popular notion, but the problem has been where to find it? With the first four books of this series, Brod Bagert (award-winning author of over 20 books for children and adults) has become part of the solution. Organized by area of science, each of Bagert’s books is a richly illustrated collection of plays and dramatic poems (ranging from profound to hilarious) that teach the science. Nothing like it has ever been attempted but seeing is believing.