It’s easy to neglect reading our kids poetry. But poetry can give our children an appreciation for words, rhythms, sounds and meaning like nothing else. Poems show you the world with a new view. They can be endearing, funny, or breathtaking; the best poems will move you in some way.
Make sure your kids experience the joys of poetry!
I think the following books will hook your kids on poetry.
Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso Poems and Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer–These poems amaze me every time. Each Reverso poem is two side-by-side copies of the same poem only with the lines reversed and the perspective changed. You really have to read these to believe them! Each set of poems tells a classic fairy tale from two perspectives. I recommend these for kids 8 and older as they really need to see how the author has crafted her words to appreciate it (and wrap their heads around the perspective switch).
When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne–Maybe you didn’t realize that the author of Winnie-the-Pooh also wrote poetry. His poems are beautifully told from the perspective of a child (Christopher Robin, I believe). I adore these poems, and I think that you and your children will love them too.
100 Great Poems for Girls edited by Celia Johnson and 100 Great Poems for Boys edited by Leslie Pockell–These books offer great poems that appeal to either boys or girls at an age where they most want to be different than each other. They contain many classic poems and some more recent ones. My oldest daughter has especially loved her copy.
GUYKU: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka–I love that this book was written especially for boys. Poetry is too often considered to be a girly thing. This book proves that wrong. It’s also a great introduction to Haiku that boys (or any kid) will find interesting.
A Child’s Garden of Verses is a classic book of poems by Robert Lewis Stevenson. They are written from a child’s perspective. Since they are older poems, some bear the marks of a time gone bye. They offer a unique look, for children, at the way things once were and the simplicity of childhood.
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings, Falling Up, and A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein–Shel Silverstein just gets kids’ humor. His poems (and drawings) are just hilarious. Sometimes I come across one of his poems that is mildly inappropriate, but over all, they are just good fun. My kids (especially my son) love these books.
A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa. This books is beautifully illustrated and full of classic poetry written for children. My kids loved it as much as I did.
Eric Carle’s Animals Animals by Eric Carle. Who doesn’t love Eric Carle’s art? He did a fabulous job in this book finding short, well written, interesting poems about the various animals in this book.
Douglas Florian writes poetry books about science. He’s written tons of them, but the ones we have read and enjoyed include Comets, Stars, the Moon, and Mars: Space Poems and Paintings and Poetrees (poems about trees). The poems are fun and actually make my kids more interested in the science behind them. We’ve tried other fact-based poetry, but these are the one’s my kids have enjoyed.
What is your favorite kids poetry book? I’d love to hear about it!