Your 2 1/2-year-old will enjoy pointing out familiar places and people in your neighborhood.
Tips for reading and sharing:
- Discuss the people and places you and your child regularly see in your neighborhood
- Identify each character, then pause to let your child fill in his or her activity
- Make up rhymes about people you know
- For additional tips and more information on Harper Growing Tree, visit our website at
About the Author
Eve Merriam is one of the most anthologized poets in the United States today. She wrote more than fifty books for adults and children, and she won the Yale Younger Poets Prize and the National Council of Teachers of English Award for excellence in children's poetry. She died in 1992, but her poetry lives on in several beloved collections.
Eve Merriam was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the youngest child of Russian-born parents who owned a chain of women's dress shops. Books and reading were an important part of her growing-up years, and the written word captivated her from a very young age. Eve Merriam found several avenues of expression as a writer, most notably as a poet and playwright. She wrote close to fifty books of prose and poetry for both adults and children, including Rainbow Writing, Mommies at Work, and The Inner City Mother Goose. The last was adapted into the Broadway musical Inner City, and Ms. Merriam's own career as a playwright included an Obie award for The Club.
Eve Merriam is one of the most anthologized poets in the United States today, and she won the Yale Younger Poets Prize and the National Council of Teachers of English Award for excellence in children's poetry. She died in 1992, but her poetry lives on in several beloved collections.
She once described the origins of her joy in poetry. "Growing up, my brother and I were taken to Gilbert and Sullivan, and we used to chant all those tongue-twisting verses of Gilbert's. The local column of the Philadelphia Bulletin used to print light verse, and my brother and I would read aloud great, declaiming things like 'Gunga Din' or 'The Highwayman.'
"I started to write when I was quite young. I was writing poems when I was about seven or eight. By the time I got into high school I was writing serious poems for the high school magazine, as well as political and light verse for the weekly newspaper at school. It never occurred to me that someday I might like to be a writer. I just wrote. I think one is chosen to be a poet. You write poems because you must write them, because you can't live your life without writing them.
"I've sometimes spent weeks looking for precisely the right word. It's like having a tiny marble in your pocket; you can just feel it. Sometimes you find a word and say, 'No, I don't think this is it. Then you discard it and take another and another until you get it right. I do think poetry is great fun. That's what I'd like to stress more than anything else: the joy of the sounds of language. "
Melanie Hope Greenberg has illustrated several books for children, including On My Street, by Eve Merriam. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.