April is National Poetry Month, which makes it a great time to introduce your kids to haiku. Haiku and quick to read, fun to write, and deceptively difficult to master. These books of haiku for kids will get you started.
How to Haiku
Haiku: Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids by Patricia Donegan is a wonderful guide to writing haiku for kids. Donegan does a great job clarifying just what makes a haiku and gives examples from authors as well as kids. (Some of my favorites were written by kids). Even though the title says “arts and crafts,” this book is primarily about how to write haiku. I highly recommend it for anyone planning to study this poetic form with their kids or class.
Haiku Picture Books
If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky Illustrated by Ted Rand–Prelutsky is an amazing children’s poet, and this book is no exception. These haiku are delicious to read. Each one describes a particular animal without saying its name. The picture gives it away, but you could certainly hide the picture and have kids guess. This book is aimed at older elementary schoolers.
Guess Who, Haiku by Deanna Caswell illustrated by Bob Shea is very similar to If Not for the Cat in that each haiku is an animal guessing game. But this book is meant for much younger children. Preschoolers and early elementary schoolers will enjoy guessing each of these animals while discovering haiku.
I Haiku You by Betsy Snyder may sound like it’s full of love poems, but, really, these haiku are about loving all kinds of things from a morning bird to snow angels. These sweet haiku are kid-friendly and would make a great Valentine’s gift.
Guyku: a Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds was specifically written for boys. I love that Raczka was inspired to help boys to learn to love poetry. These haiku follow the course of a year with activities a boy (or any kid) might do in nature like playing in a stream or raking leaves. Any kid–not just boys–will enjoy this nature-filled book.
Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw illustrated by Eugene Yelchin tells the story of a cat getting adopted from a shelter. And just like the title says, the story is told entirely in haiku. And just like any good haiku, this book ends with a great little twist.
More Fun With Haiku
Haikubes–I used this fun game when I taught poetry to our homeschool co-op last year. I altered the rules a bit, and the kids really enjoyed it and came up with some clever and hilarious haiku.