I have grown to love children’s poetry. There’s some quite sophisticated verse for little ones, not just silly rhymes – although those are fun too! Children’s poetry is light, lyrical, well-crafted, and still conveys deep and poignant messages. Here’s a few of my favorite poetry books for children.
Favorite poetry books for children
I love poetry books for children that come in picture book format, because for the younger crowd, this can hold their attention as you read. But there’s also some wonderful verse novels and poetry collections that can help you introduce poetry to younger kids.
Toasting Marshmallows by Kristen O’Connell George (affiliate link)
Come along with a girl and her family through an entire camping experience – from pitching tent, to fishing her little brother out of the lake, to discovering abandoned cabins and cars in the woods,… and of course, to toasting marshmallows by the fire. The writing is light, lyrical, and conveys a strong sense of setting. You can hear the owl’s “one lone vowel,” sense the vastness of a “small me…staked to a huge planet,” see the “scribbles” of the “river messages.” Listen to some excerpts on the author’s site.
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech (affiliate link)
Verse novels are one of my favorite “new genres” of writing. Love That Dog is a novel written in poetry (verse) that tells the story of a boy named Jack who hates poetry… yet, he’s struggling to tell the story of his dog, Sky. As his teacher offers him poems to try on for size, he finds a way to share the whole story of his dog through poetry. I love how a selection of great, well-known poetry is presented throughout the novel, and readers can learn about poetic style as Jack attempts to understand and emulate each poem. The end of the book includes the original poems that Jack studies in class. (I’d recommend this book for 2nd grade and up). Read an excerpt on the author’s site.
Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher (affiliate link)
Fletcher is a gold mine of an author – his writing ranges from pictures books, to chapter books, to handbooks for parents and teachers to learn and teach writing! I’m a huge fan as a writer, teacher, and book-lover! Twilight Comes Twice is gorgeously illustrated. The poem describes the day from sun up to sun down in magical free-verse stanzas. Watch the words paint the picture: “With invisible arms, dawn erases the stars from the blackboard of night…” (gorgeous, right?). Full of repetition, personification, simile, and stunning imagery, this is a poem you’ll share with your children (and savor for yourself) over and over. The entire book is one poem, presented stanza by stanza on each page, so to a child, it may not even seem like poetry – a great way to sneak in a little beautiful verse without them flinching!
GUYKU, A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka , Illustrated by Peter Reynolds
This gem of a book contains poetry in haiku form that delightfully captures the rollicking moments of a boy’s childhood through all four seasons of the year. Adorable, well-crafted and fun-to-read poems that everyone in the family will enjoy!
Mirror, Mirror a Book of Reverso Verses by Marilyn Singer
What happens when you marry poetry and fairy tales? This picture book! Each page contains a set of poems retelling a familiar fairy tale (which will certainly draw in readers!). BUT… the second poem is a mirror image of the first poem, and gives a different perspective on the fairy tale, from a different character’s point of view! So clever, so fun!
Joyful Noise – Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleishman
This collection of poems are meant to be read out loud, making them perfect for families, homeschoolers, and whole classrooms. Kids can read alternating lines and stanzas about the insect world. As the different voices read aloud, you’ll hear the pulsing sound of the cicada, the drone of honeybees, and feel the soaring music lift from the pages! This is certainly poetry at its most exciting!
A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutzky
Hilarious, silly, crazy poetry collection for kids. This is a great book for elementary readers to read on their own, or for parents to enjoy reading aloud. Includes a backwards poem, a poem that never ends and over 100 more poems to get kids on the silly side!
What’s your favorite poetry book, poem, poetic author you like to read to your children? (Check your picture books – you’ll be surprised to find so many are actually poems in illustrated disguise!).
Shop these favorite poetry books for children!
Here are all the books mentioned above, plus a few others I’ve discovered since originally writing this post – if you like one book in an author’s style, chances are you’ll like another! (Affiliate links are used)
Love That Dog by Creech, Sharon [Paperback (2001)]My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United StatesJoyful Noise: Poems for Two VoicesTwilight Comes TwiceA Pizza the Size of the SunBe Glad Your Nose Is on Your Face: And Other Poems: Some of the Best of Jack PrelutskyIt’s Raining Pigs & NoodlesHailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O’NeillGuyku: A Year of Haiku for BoysDogkuMirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso PoemsEcho Echo: Reverso Poems About Greek MythsThe Robin Makes a Laughing Sound: A Birder’s ObservationsSing a Song of Seasons: A Nature Poem for Each Day of the YearThe Random House Book of Poetry for Children
You may also enjoy these poetry articles:
- Teaching poetry through fingerplays
- Gameschool with Poetry Games!
- 7 ways children learn from poetry
- Try these 7 ways to share poetry with children
- Wordplay with magnetic poetry
- Explore poetry with onomatopoeia activities
Affiliate links have been used in this post. Purchases made through these links may generate a small commission for me.