You’re never too young for poetry! Introduce kids to the magic of poetry this poetry month with these 8 magical kid’s books.
If you’d like to purchase any of these books, we’d highly recommend seeking out your local independent bookstore. Your business helps ensure the survival of these vital cultural institutions during this difficult time.
Humpty Dumpty’s Nursery Rhymes Illustrated by R. Pagnoni
Recommended for Ages 2-5
This cheerfully illustrated board book will quickly become a favorite with toddlers. Die-cut in the shape of a smiling Humpty Dumpty sitting on his wall, the book is a miniature anthology of favorite nursery rhymes. Included are Hickory Dickory Dock; Twinkle Twinkle Little Star;, Humpty Dumpty; Little Miss Muffet; Jack and Jill; Ring Around the Rosie; Rub-a-Dub-Dub; and Simple Simon. Each rhyme is cleverly illustrated with an amusing color illustration.
The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson, Illustrated by Julie Morstad
Recommended for Ages 1-3
“How do you like to go up in a swing?”
Delightful images by Julie Morstad bring to life Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic poem The Swing. Share this gorgeous board book with your baby or toddler and revel in the magical images and words.
Explosion at the Poem Factory by Kyle Lukoff, Illustrated by Mark Hoffmann
Recommended for Ages 6-9
Rich with wordplay and humor, author Kyle Lukoff and award-winning illustrator Mark Hoffman bring poetry to life in this story about Kilmer Watts, a former piano teacher who decides to investigate a new job at the poem factory.
Kilmer Watts makes his living teaching piano lessons, but when automatic pianos arrive in town, he realizes he’s out of a job. He spots a “Help Wanted” sign at the poem factory and decides to investigate — he’s always been curious about how poems are made.
The foreman explains that machines and assembly lines are used for poetry these days. So Kilmer learns how to operate the “meter meter” and empty the “cliché bins.” He assembles a poem by picking out a rhyme scheme, sprinkling in some similes and adding alliteration.
But one day the machines malfunction, and there is a dramatic explosion at the poem factory. How will poetry ever survive?
Kyle Lukoff’s funny story, rich in wordplay, is complemented by Mark Hoffmann’s lively, quirky art. The backmatter includes definitions of poetic feet, types of poems (with illustrated examples), and a glossary of other terms.
My First Book of Haiku Poems by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, Illustrated by Tracy Gallup
Recommended for Ages 5-9
My First Book of Haiku Poems introduces children to this ancient poetry form that’s still a favorite among teachers, parents and children. These concise poems are easy for readers of all ages to understand and appreciate.
Each of these 20 classic poems by Issa, Shiki, Basho, and other great haiku masters is paired with a stunning original painting by award-winning illustrator Tracy Gallup—which children will want to dive into and adults will want to frame.
A fully bilingual children’s book, My First Book of Haiku Poems includes the original versions of the Japanese poems (in Japanese script and Romanized form) on each page alongside the English translation to form a complete cultural experience.
An Emotional Menagerie Edited by Alain de Botton, Illustrated by Rachael Saunders
Recommended for 5-11
Children experience all sorts of emotions: sometimes going through several very different ones before breakfast. Yet they can struggle to put these feelings into words. An inability to understand and communicate their moods can lead to bad behavior, deep frustration, and a whole host of difficulties further down the line. Like adults, they need help to recognize and verbalize their inner state. The greater their emotional vocabulary, the more likely they are to grow into happy, healthy, and fulfilled adults.
An Emotional Menagerie is an emotional glossary for children. A book of 26 rhyming poems, arranged alphabetically, that bring our feelings to life—Anger, Boredom, Curiosity, Dreaminess, Embarrassment, Fear, Guilt, and more. The poems transform each emotion into a different animal to provide a clear and engaging illustration of its character: how it arises; how it makes us behave and how we can learn to manage its effects. Boasting a rich vocabulary, the poems also give children a wide variety of options for describing their feelings to others.
This is a Poem that Heals Fish by Jean-Pierre Siméon, Illustrated by Olivier Tallec
Recommended for Ages 4-8
This delightful, educational book follows young Arthur as he ventures into his neighborhood to find out what a poem is.
Carry On: Poetry by Young Immigrants Illustrated by Rogé Girard
Recommended for Ages 9-12
Carry On began in a high school in Outremont, Quebec, where author and poet Simon Boulerice conducted creative-writing workshops for young newcomers to Canada. As the students began writing, their poems gave voice to their reflections on leaving family, friends, and countries of origin to make new homes and connections in their new home, Canada.
Paired with expressive portraits by award-winning artist Rogé, each young writer reflects on the experience of leaving one home for another. The collection of poems express feelings of anxiety, sorrow, anticipation, gratitude, and hope for the future. With thoughtful verse and evocative illustrations, Carry On is a tribute to human resilience, the voices of newcomers, and creating empathy for all those who wonder about their place in the world
Poems to See By by Julian Peters
Recommended for Ages 13-18
This stunning anthology of favorite poems visually interpreted by comic artist Julian Peters breathes new life into some of the greatest English-language poets of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
These are poems that can change the way we see the world, and encountering them in graphic form promises to change the way we read the poems. In an age of increasingly visual communication, this format helps unlock the world of poetry and literature for a new generation of reluctant readers and visual learners.
Grouping unexpected pairings of poems around themes such as family, identity, creativity, time, mortality, and nature, Poems to See By will also help young readers see themselves differently. A valuable teaching aid appropriate for middle school, high school, and college use, the collection includes favorites from the Western canon already taught in countless English classes.
Includes poems by Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Carl Sandburg, Maya Angelou, Seamus Heaney, e. e. cummings, Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Christina Rossetti, William Wordsworth, William Ernest Henley, Robert Hayden, Edgar Allan Poe, W. H. Auden, Thomas Hardy, Percy Bysshe Shelley, John Philip Johnson, W. B. Yeats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Tess Gallagher, Ezra Pound, and Siegfried Sassoon.