Written by Aimee Lacasse, Children’s Specialist.
You’re never too young to celebrate National Poetry Month! We all know and love Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. Here a few more great children’s poetry collections for kids of all ages.
For babies and 2 year olds:
Goodnight Songs by Margaret Wise Brown – Goodnight Songs is a collection of previously unpublished lullabies, written by the late Margaret Wise Brown who brought us Goodnight Moon in 1947. The book is gorgeously illustrated by twelve award-winning artists and comes with a CD.
Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies – Outside Your Window is a collection of beautiful and simple nature poetry, about everything from buzzing bees to Winter snow. Its large, thick pages are perfect for little hands, and Mark Hearld’s colorful collage-like illustrations are sure to enchant both toddlers and their parents.
For ages 3-6:
When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano – There are many children’s poetry books about changing seasons, but we think 2016’s When Green Becomes Tomatoes is special. Julie Fogliano takes us through a year of joy and frustration with short, relatable free verse poems that both celebrate and criticize every kind of weather. Julie Morstad’s lovely illustrations bring this year to life. Keep a lookout for this collection when award season rolls around!
Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child’s Book of Poems edited by Mary Michaels White – This 1988 classic contains the child-friendly work of famous poets, from Emily Dickinson to Shel Silverstein. Nearly every poem that you remember from your childhood that wasn’t written by “Mother Goose” can be found in Sing a Song of Popcorn, along with plenty of pieces that you have never read before.
For ages 6+:
Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat edited by Nikki Giovanni – This collection contains African-American poetry and raps on a variety of subjects, from the importance of friendship to the Civil Rights Movement. The selections are by everyone from Harlem Renaissance poets like Langston Hughes, to modern hip-hop artists like Queen Latifah. The book comes with a CD, on which many of the poems are performed by their authors.
Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer – This book invites you to re-imagine your favorite fairy tales. The poems can be read from start to finish and from finish to start. Just look at how the stories change! We like Mirror Mirror just as much!
For more awesome collections of children’s poetry, consult JMRL’s Goodreads shelf.