Rabindranath Tagore turns 150

I first encountered the writing of Rabindranath Tagore when I was pretty young.  I owned a little collection of poetry called Silver Pennies that once belonged to my grampa.  It included Tagore’s poem Paper Boats, about a boy sending paper boats down the stream away from his village.

The poem is in the first person, and so as a child I assumed that it was written by a young person (as the introductions pointed out, some of the poems in the book  were, like the ones by Hilda Conkling).  I didn’t realize then that many of the poems and poets included in the book were quite famous.

By the time that little “Collection of Modern Poems for Boys and Girls” was published, Tagore had already won the Nobel Prize for Literature.  He was the first Asian to do so.  In addition to poetry, he wrote essays, plays, and stories.  The library owns some of his books translated into English and Hindi, as well as movies in Bengali (his native language).  The first time a patron asked if we had his books, I recognized the title in the children’s department but all the rest were new to me.

If you look at the quotations decorating the children’s department, you will find the opening lines to “Paper Boats” in the canopy of the “tree” with the hanging globes in the World Park.  If you would like to take advantage of all the puddles outside and float your own paper boats, you can find directions for making them online.  H. A. Rey also included good instructions in Curious George Rides a Bike.

-Miss Sarah

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