It’s April! At First Book that means it’s not just springtime, it’s the month that we celebrate all things rhythm, verse and rhyme: National Poetry Month. Here are five of our favorite collections to make poetry fun for kids of varying ages.
Button Up! Wrinkled Rhymes Written by Alice Schertle, illustrated by Petra Mathers
This hilarious book features poems written from the points of view of different articles of clothing. From “Emily’s Undies” to “Bob’s Bicycle Helmet,” each is certain both to get laughs and to help kids think creatively about voice and perspective. Perfect for Kindergarten – 3rd grade.
Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems Edited by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Stunning illustrations fill the pages of this beautiful collection. Hand-picked poems of just a few lines each take readers through the changing moods and weather of the four seasons, making this a perfect book for year-round reading. Ideal for Kindergarten – 4th grade.
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty Written by Linda Glaser, illustrated by Claire A. Nivola
“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” When poet Emma Lazarus penned these words in 1883, she was speaking out for the immigrants arriving on America’s shores and shaping the world’s view of the Statue of Liberty. This simple but powerful biography brings her story to life and invites conversations about U.S. history, women’s history, immigration, and human rights. Recommended for 2nd – 5th grade.
The Wild Book Written by Margarita Engle
Filled with luscious language and rich imagery, this moving novel in verse by Cuban-American poet Margarita Engle tells the story of a girl who is struggling with dyslexia but determined to defy the predictions of those who say she’ll never read. The book offers sensitive insights into life with a disability while showing readers an especially chaotic time in Cuban history, circa 1912. Best for 5th – 8th grade.
You Don’t Even Know Me: Stories and Poems About Boys Written by Sharon Flake
Honest, heartfelt and thought-provoking – three words we’d use to describe the poems and short stories in this collection, each told from a black teen’s point of view. Their voices tell tales of gangs, guns, pregnancy, STDs and abuse; but there’s also love, community and positivity on these pages. In short, it’s a truthful look at life’s realities, told with rhythm, insight and genuine care. This would be terrific for use as reader’s theater or as inspiration for teens to record their own stories in writing. For use with mature middle school and high school students.