What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
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Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in 1943.
|Grades||1 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
The first recipient of the Rosa L. Parks Woman of Courage Award and a Langston Hughes Medal winner for her poetry, Nikki Giovanni prides herself on being "a Black American, a daughter, a mother, and a professor of English." She was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1943, and is the author of over 30 books for both adults and children, as well as a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech.
Using Nikki Giovanni's poem "My First Memory (of Librarians)" as a model, encourage students to connect memory, their senses, and the language of poetry.
Write on the board or display on an overhead projector the prompt "My First Memory (of ... )" and ask students to think of a person, place, thing, or experience for which they can recall specific early memories. Ask them to brainstorm any sensory images: sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile images.
Then share "My First Memory (of Librarians)," encouraging students to take inspiration from Giovanni's structure and use of language as she reveals her feelings and attitudes toward her subject.
- Nikki Giovanni
Featuring a wealth of resources, Nikki Giovanni's official site offers biographical information, links to essays and conversations, and multimedia content.
- Nikki Giovanni: Academy of American Poets
Nikki Giovanni's page on the Academy of American poets features biographical information and the text of some of her poems.
- Nikki Giovanni: The Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation page for Nikki Giovanni provides information on her life, career, and bibliography, as well as the text of several of her well-known poems.
Grades 9 – 12 | Professional Library | Book
The first volume in the NCTE High School Literature Series, this small, practical book features primary source materials including many of Giovanni’s poems reprinted in full, easily adaptable lessons and activities, and a resource section for students and teachers wishing to study Giovanni further.
Grades 6 – 8 | Professional Library | Book
Jaime Wood offers middle school English language arts teachers material for teaching poetry by Nikki Giovanni, Li-Young Lee, and Pat Mora; the text includes graphic organizers and other resources.