shephard-fairey-original-obama-poster-auctionThis week I was happy to hear from my friend Kristin Palm, a poet and teacher who works with California Poets in the Schools (CPITS). Kristin is inviting writing teachers and writers who teacher to join her in a project that involves writing and sending poems to Barack Obama in celebration of his inauguration. Anyone can join in. Kristin would love to hear from you if you and your students decide to participate.

Dear Writers and Teachers—

I am writing to invite you to participate in a national poem writing campaign, Letters to Obama. This project was inspired by poems written by students in Detroit, Michigan, as part of the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, an amazing organization where I used to work (I now work through California Poets in the Schools). The idea is simple and fun: Have your students write “Letters to Obama” poems around inauguration time. Then, add a twist or two:

  • Send the poems to the White House with a letter thanking President Obama for his support of the arts and arts education
  • Hold a student reading or arrange for a display of student poems
  • Or come up with other creative ideas to ensure that our young people’s messages to this historic president are read and heard!

If you would like to participate, I can provide you with a resource kit that contains:

  • Writing prompts
  • Model poems (below)
  • Sample letter to the White House
  • Sample press release
  • Publication/display ideas

If you would like me to email you a resource kit, please email me at Even if you don’t need a resource kit, I’d like to ask you to contact me if you plan to participate so I can know how far this project reaches; please include the name of your school, grade level, and number of students participating. Please feel free to spread this post far and wide—I’d like to get as many students to get involved as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Kristin Palm


Advice to our Next President


Never start drama.

We voted for you because

we believe in you.

Don’t forget to not put

pressure on yourself.

Be sure to be ready

to be president. When

you answer the phone

you can say, This is

the Obama residence.

Are you going to be

ready for all of this?

Are you going to try

to be better than

those other cats?

by Dishuna, 4th grade, Detroit


Advice to the Next President


Always help the homeless.

Watch out for pointy hats.

Remember to share cucumbers.

Give the rich to the poor.

Keep your shoe out of your ear.

Follow your instincts.

Don’t help half of the world.

Help all of the world.

Don’t bail on us.

Stay strong.

Love the people.

Make this a new world.

by Talandra, 5th grade, Detroit


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