Library services across the country are in a sort of limbo at the moment. While your library may be open today, there’s no telling if the same will be true next week or next month. I’m currently functioning in a work-at-home fugue as we all do our best to figure out what an entirely remote library service model looks like, in a time when no one’s sure what the future holds. Whether your library is open or closed, National Poetry Month is quickly approaching. And while I may be using these titles in a different way than I’d originally imagined – it’s a bit difficult to do a book display without shelves – here are some of my top poetry picks for kids:
Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess, and Deanna Nikaido
National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore’s work pairs beautifully with the winged, webbed, wild poems in this collection. Special attention is given to endangered and disappearing species.
Beastly Verse by JooHee Yoon
If you’re unfamiliar with this collection, you need to track it down ASAP! Such well-known animal poems as “The Tiger” and “The Eel” join possibly lesser-known gems like “Eletelephony.” The best news: Quite a few of the poems are out of copyright, so if you’re looking for digital storytime materials, this collection is a great place to start!
Bigfoot is Missing! by J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt
A playful collection of poems about 18 cryptids, from Bigfoot to the lesser-known Australian bunyip, this one is a great recommendation for kids looking for something comically creepy.
Blooming Beneath the Sun by Ashley Bryan and Christina Rossetti
Straight talk: I mostly included this collection because I’ve loved Christina Rossetti since my first poetry class in undergrad. But Ashley’s illustrations are exquisite as expected, and poems like “Who Has Seen the Wind?” will be winners for adults and children alike.
Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Charles Waters and Irene Latham
What happens when a book of poetry and a dictionary combine? If you’re Charles Waters and Irene Latham, you get an adorable, accessible guide on how to make the world a better place – told through poems, quotes, anecdotes, and simple action steps.
Follow the Recipe: Poems about Imagination, Celebration, and Cake by Marilyn Singer
While we all enjoy a good cookie recipe, this collection of poems from the inimitable Marilyn Singer takes that love and adds a twist by providing readers with recipes for ideas and feelings. While my personal favorite is “Recipe for Courage,” there’s certainly something for every reader here.
Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It: False Apology Poems by Gail Carson Levine
Probably the oldest collection on this list – but definitely one of the most fun – Forgive Me, I Meant to Do It is filled with poems modeled after the William Carlos Williams’s classic “This Is Just to Say.” If you’re unfamiliar with false apology poems, this is one you need to read ASAP!
Sipping Spiders Through a Straw: Campfire Songs for Monsters by Kelly DiPucchio
Before Gaston and Zombie in Love, the talented Kelly DiPucchio put out a collection of poems perfect for kids who like things scary – just not too scary. Here, DiPucchio took sing-along classics like “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean” and “Skinnamarink” and made them more “monster-friendly,” pairing with illustrations that are just creepy enough to balance out the inherent silliness in these song parodies.
Wannabe Farms by Brian McCann
If you’re a Shel Silverstein fan looking for a next read, Brian McCann’s new Wannabe Farms may be just the thing. Presented as a collection of longer poems, all vignettes featuring different groups of animals on the farm, this zany book introduces readers to a group of bovine car enthusiasts, a poultry play-acting group, and more.
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood
A beautiful new collection of poems to inspire the younger generation, Woke tackles such topics as privilege, ableism, and gender head on. My personal favorite is Acevedo’s “The Good Body,” which takes on body image and declares, “Your body is always a good body / because it carries the good in you.”
Looking for more Poetry Month recommendations and resources? Check out these great posts:
16 Poetry Picture Book Recommendations for National Poetry Month from Here Wee Read
50 Must-Read Poetry Books for Kids from Book Riot
Diverse Novels in Verse for National Poetry Month by School Library Journal
Poetry in Action! from ALSC
Poetry Month Wrap-Up Illustrated from ALSC
This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: IV. Knowledge, Curation, and Management of Materials