Grimes, Nikki. Ill. Melody Benson Rosales. 1999. "Juicy Fruit Love," from Hopscotch Love: A Family Treasury of Poems. New York: Scholastic.

Introduce this poem by showing students the book, Hopscotch Love.  Show the Table of Contents page and explain that this book is a collection of poems about love and other sweet things.  From your pocket, pull out these items: some Jujubes candy, a ball of lint, red hots, dirty Gummi Bear and a rubber spider.  Ask students if they have ever tasted the brand of gum called, "Juicy Fruit?"  If so, have them describe the flavors.  Pull out one stick of Juicy Fruit Gum from your pocket.  Have the students watch you unwrap the silver wrapper and savor the flavor.  Ask students if they would like a stick of gum too.  Give each student a stick of Juicy Fruit Gum.  Once everyone has a stick of gum, ask them if they would give their last piece of gum away.  Then read the poem aloud while they chew on the meaning of the words.

Juicy - Fruit Love

My mouth was
dry as dust,

So I searched 
my jeans pocket

for something good 
to chew.

But first

my fingers had to 
wade through


Balls of lint

A handful of red-hots

One dirt-encrusted
Gummi Bear


The rubber spider
that sent my sister
screaming from
my room one night.



I found it:

One last stick 
of Juicy Fruit.

I licked my lips

Started removing

the silver wrapper

And then 

SHE showed up

Smiling that smile.

Brown eyes

locked on

my sugary treasure

And before 

My brain knew

What my heart was up to,

I'd reached out

and handed her

My last stick of gum

And thanked her

For accepting it.

So I suppose

There's really no hope 

for me now.

Extension: Ask students to share how this poem made them feel.  Have them make a list of things they love and invite them to write a short poem about a thing they love.  Ask them if they would be willing to share the thing they love with someone they had a crush on or liked?

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