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Poetry for Children

In Every Tiny Grain of Sand: A Child’s Book of Prayers and Praise collected by Reeve Lindbergh

In this beautifully illustrated picture book are collected poetic writings from many faiths.  There are blessings and poems, psalms and proverbs from the Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Native American and Christian faiths.  The writings are divided into four categories: For the Day, For the Home, For the Earth and For the Night.  Four different illustrators bring the joy and wonder of childhood to life in the pictures that accompany the writings.


The Great Frog Race and Other Poems by Kristine O’Connell George

From spring to winter, the poet and illustrator celebrate the simple joys of country life in this collection of poems.  Children find polliwags in puddles, have tea with the spring wind and officiate evening frog races.  The poems are simple and short, with easily understood words and images.  It’s a perfect book for reluctant readers of poetry.

Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines

The author’s poems and quilts work together to portray and celebrate the seasons of the year.  “Mirage” talks about the beauty of spring flowers, and the poem is displayed in the middle of a quilt covered with pink and purple flowers.  “Pageantry” describes trees in autumn, “wearing scarlet gowns and golden crowns” and is surrounded by a quilt of red, orange and yellow fabric.  In the back of the book, the author descibes the inspiration behind the book and how she turned it into reality.

We The People by Bobbi Katz

The history of America is here recounted in verse and in individual voices, some real and some based on real people.  In chronological order, the poet takes readers from a young man arriving in America in 1607 to a young boy arriving in a new year on December 31, 1999.  Some of the voices are well known, as in “The First Airplane” by Orville and Wilbur Wright.  Others are unknown, could-have-been voices, like “A Letter to China” by Kun-Yang Lin.  In this poem, Katz speaks with the voice of an immigrant working on the transcontinental railroad in 1867.  At the bottom of each page are timeline markers informing readers what important historic events occurred around the time of the poetic protagonists’ lives.

Freedom Like Sunlight: Praisesongs for Black Americans by J. Patrick Lewis

In this collection, the poet celebrates the lives of thirteen black Americans whose stories have come down through history to inspire and encourage others.  The courage and achievement of Jesse Owens, who set a world record at the Olympics in Hitler’s Germany, is detailed in the poem, “I Decided…To Stay Up in the Air Forever.”  The talent and virtuosity of blues singer Billie Holiday is celebrated in “Lady Day,” where the poet describes Holiday’s abilities with the stanza, “Lady could pour you a song / Coffee and a little cream / Stir it the whole night long / Into a brown-sugar dream.”  Color portraits or scenes from the lives of the people celebrated accompany each poem.

Come with Me: Poems for a Journey by Naomi Shihab Nye

The sixteen poems in this collection speak of different sorts of journeys, from those out into the world and those inside our own imaginations.  In the big city adventure of “Where are We Going?” the poet discovers, “Everything we thought we knew / is different here, and just as true.”  In the quietness of “Secrets” the poet makes the observation “Because a secret is a ticket and without it the trip would be too lonely.”  The fanciful poems are accompanied by equally fanciful full-page illustrations that are paintings and collages, colorful mixtures of cardboard, plywood and maps.

The Pig in the Spigot by Richard Wilbur

In this book of poetry, the author enjoys playing with the words one can find in larger words – like “pig” in “sPIGot.”  Sometimes the word in another word makes sense, as in, “Because he swings so neatly through the trees / An ape feels natural in the word trapeze.”  Others don’t seem to go together very well at all.  The author complains, “I don’t see why a belfry should contain / an elf.  The notion strikes me as insane.”  Computer-generated illustrations bring to life the crazy world of the author’s wordplay.

Color Me a Rhyme: Nature Poems for Young People by Jane Yolen

This gorgeous book of nature photography and poetry brings to life a rainbow of colors found in the outdoors.  From the new green of a fern to the weathered gray of a dead tree, from the dry brown of desert sand to the juicy orange of a sunset, Nature and her wonders are celebrated in word and picture.  The poet encourages her readers to create poems inspired by these photographs as well and offers color synonyms and colorful quotes from literature.

Daddy Poems selected by John Micklos, Jr.

This collection contains poetry for, by and about dads and their kids.  Some poems are unabashedly sentimental while others are unabashedly silly.  There are all sorts of families represented in this collection, like families with a stepdad (“My Jose”) and families with absent dads (“My Father”).  The families may be different, but the love between the fathers and their children is the same. 

Words with Wings: A Treasury of African-American Poetry and Art selected by Belinda Rochelle  
J811.08 Words

The rich and varied tradition of African-American artists and poets is here collected and combined.  There are poems by celebrated authors such as Paul Lawrence Dunbar, Gwendolyn Brooks, Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes.  Accompanying each poem is a full-color print of paintings or sculptures by artists such as William H. Johnson, Romare Bearden, Augusta Savage and Henry Ossawa Tanner.  Together, the poetry and the art bring emotions and experiences of African-Americans and all people to life.  Short biographical information on the artists and authors are included at the back of the book.

My First Oxford Book of Poems compiled by John Foster

This compilation of poetry for children includes classics of literature by A.A. Milne, Edward Lear and Emily Dickinson as well as works by newer poets such as Ted Hughes and Karla Kuskin.  Subject categories divide the poems into chapters such as “Creatures,” “Fantastical and Nonsensical” and “Weather and Seasons.”  Colorful illustrations by several artists accompany this comprehensive collection of poetry to be enjoyed by children of all ages.

Poetry for Kids

Poetry for Kids
Funny, original poems by Ken Nesbitt. Some poems are illustrated.
Giggle Poetry
Do you like to laugh? Then check out these funny poems - You can read school poems, try out poetry theater, or enter your poems in a contest.
Word Dance
"Creative writing magazine and Web site for and by kids. Read samples of stories and poetry, play games, and submit your own work."
English Online Writer's Window
Writers, from age five to seventeen, are encouraged "to share their work and help each other improve their writing. Published works are categorized by age range and genre, and reader feedback is solicited about each piece. Categories include short stories, poetry, research papers, book reviews, television reviews and movie reviews. There are also five continuous stories that you can add to."
Edward Lear's Nonsense Works
Do you think poetry written long ago is boring? Then check out these poems with pictures - They'll crack you up!
Poetry Links for Kids from the Internet Public Library


by Carole Boston Weatherford


Kids who like rhythm

Kids who like rhyme

Kids on the fast-track

Kids who take their time

Kids who keep journals

Kids who love to write

Kids who curl up with a book

on a warm and cozy night

Kids who watch too much TV

and think reading’s a bore

Kids who hate writing

and claim math’s a chore

Kids who are laid back

Kids who can’t sit still

Kids who are motor-mouths

Kids who need to chill

Kids who like to sing

Kids who feel the beat

Kids who like motion

Kids with dancing feet

Kids who like word-play

Kids who like to rap

Kids who crave a little treat

to savor in a snap.
Award-winning writer Carole Boston Weatherford is the author of 16 books of poetry, nonfiction and children's literature, including Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People; Sidewalk Chalk: Poems of the City; Jazz Baby; and The Sound that Jazz Makes. She has won the Carter G. Woodson Award from National Council for the Social Studies and the Juvenile Literature Award from American Association of University Women-North Carolina. She lives in High Point, N.C.  This poem was inspired by a school visit to kick-off National Poetry Month.