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June 07

Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in 1943.

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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.


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Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Childhood Remembrances: Life and Art Intersect in Nikki Giovanni's "Nikki-Rosa"

Students explore what Carol Jago calls the place "where life and art intersect" by reading Nikki Giovanni's poem, "Nikki-Rosa," and then writing about childhood memories of their own.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Entering History: Nikki Giovanni and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nikki Giovanni's poem "The Funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr." is paired with Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, taking students on a quest through time to the Civil Rights movement.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Discovering a Passion for Poetry With Langston Hughes

Through a study of Langston Hughes' poetry, students connect his writing to his place in history.