Poetry Collections for Children

We love poetry for so many reasons and try to incorporate at least one poem into our family reading routine every night. Here are some of our favorites.
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A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long

From the award-winning creators of An Egg Is Quiet, A Seed Is Sleepy, A Butterfly Is Patient, and A Rock Is Lively comes this gorgeous and informative look at the fascinating world of nests. From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor. Poetic in voice and elegant in design, this carefully researched book introduces children to a captivating array of nest facts and will spark the imaginations of children whether in a classroom reading circle or on a parent’s lap.


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Zen Socks by John J Muth

Leo and Molly love their new neighborhood. Most of all they love their friend Stillwater. The three friends are quite a team! From Caldecott Honoree Jon J Muth comes a story about sharing, another about patience,
and a third about compassion. With warmth and fun, they learn from one another in the most surprising ways….


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Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes and Elizabeth Zunon

During a visit to her grandma s house, a young girl discovers a box of poems in the attic, poems written by her mother when she was growing up. Her mother s family often moved around the United States and the world because her father was in the Air Force. Over the years, her mother used poetry to record her experiences in the many places the family lived. Reading the poems and sharing those experiences through her mother s eyes, the young girl feels closer to her mother than ever before. To let her mother know this, she creates a gift: a book with her own poems and copies of her mother s. And when she returns her mother s poems to the box in the attic, she leaves her own poems too, for someone else to find, someday. Using free verse for the young girl s poems and tanka for her mother s, master poet Nikki Grimes creates a tender intergenerational story that speaks to every child s need to hold onto special memories of home, no matter where that place might be.


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The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects by Paul B. Janeczko and Chris Raschka

A book-eating moth in the early Middle Ages. A peach blossom during the Renaissance. A haunted palace in the Victorian era. A lament for the hat in contemporary times. Poetry has been a living form of artistic expression for thousands of years, and throughout that time poets have found inspiration in everything from swords to stamp albums, candles to cobwebs, manhole covers to the moon. In The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects, award-winning anthologist Paul B. Janeczko presents his fiftieth book, offering young readers a quick tour of poets through the ages. Breathing bright life into each selection is Chris Raschka’s witty, imaginative art.


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Lend a Hand: Poems About Giving by John Frank and London Ladd
Making a difference in the world can be as simple as planting a tree, giving up your seat on a bus to a disabled person, or training a puppy to become a guide dog. These are just a few of the simple acts of kindness featured in this collection of fourteen original poems. Each poem emphasizes the compassion and the joy of giving. Representing diverse voices―different ages and backgrounds―the collection shows the bridging of boundaries between people who are often perceived as being different from one another. The first step in bridging those boundaries is to extend a hand. John Frank is an accomplished poet and the author of several children’s books, including three highly-praised poetry collections. Coupled with London Ladd’s emotive illustrations, Lend a Hand demonstrates that empathy and social awareness can start at an early age.


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Mama Built a Little Nest  by Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins

A delightful exploration of the incredibly variety of nests birds build for their babies, illustrated by a Caldecott Honoree.

Mama built a little nest
inside a sturdy trunk.
She used her beak to tap-tap-tap
the perfect place to bunk.

There are so many different kinds of birds—and those birds build so many different kinds of nests to keep their babies cozy. With playful, bouncy rhyme, Jennifer Ward explores nests large and small, silky and cottony, muddy and twiggy—and all the birds that call them home!



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Poem Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems by Patrick Lewis, Douglas Florian, and Jeremy Holmes

The U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and an award-winning children’s poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they’re not just any cars: there’s the “Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop-Jalopy” (“So unique there is no copy”); the Bathtub Limosine (“With hot water heating / And porcelain seating”); and the “High Heel Car.” Each of the thirteen quirky, inventive poems will speak directly to the imaginations of children, as will Holmes’s high-concept, detail-filled illustrations.



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Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko and Melissa Sweet

It only takes a few words, if they’re the right words, to create a strong image. Whether listened to in the comfort of a cozy lap or read independently, the thirty-six very short poems in this collection remind readers young and old that a few perfect words and pictures can make the world glow. Selected by acclaimed poet Paul B. Janeczko and gorgeously illustrated by Melissa Sweet, Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems invites children to sample poems throughout the four seasons.


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Rutherford B. Who Was He? Poems About Our Presidents by Marilyn Singer and John Hendrix

Forty-three men with forty-three passions, but with one thing in common: a presidential place in America’s history.

With her gift for unforgettable rhythm and innovative rhyme, Marilyn Singer brings the presidents of the United States to life-from Washington to Obama-and contextualizes them in their time. Illustrations by John Hendrix are full of hilarious wit and refined exuberance, and backmatter enriches the experience with short biographies, quotes by each president, and more.


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Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater and Robbin Gourley

A spider is a “never-tangling dangling spinner / knitting angles, trapping dinner.” A tree frog proposes, “Marry me. Please marry me… / Pick me now. / Make me your choice. / I’m one great frog / with one strong voice.” VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems. As she observes, “Silence in Forest / never lasts long. / Melody / is everywhere / mixing in / with piney air. / Forest has a song.” The graceful, appealing watercolor illustrations perfectly suit these charming poems that invite young readers into the woodland world at every season.


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Book Speak: Poems About Books by Laura Purdle Salas and Josée Bisailloa

Laura Purdie Salas, the acclaimed author of Stampede!, is back with another collection of wild and weird, wacky and winsome poems about all the magic to be found on a single bookshelf. In BookSpeak!, each poem gives voice to a group that seldom gets a voice . . . the books themselves! Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore!Illustrator Josée Bisaillon’s mixture of collage, drawings, and digital montage presents page after page of richly colored spreads filled with action and charm. Together, Salas and Bisaillon deliver a unique collection brimming with ideas as much about spines and dust jackets as they are about adventure and imagination.


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Dear Wandering Wildebeest And Other Poems from the Water Hole by Irene Latham and Anna Wadbam

Spend a day at a water hole on the African grasslands. From dawn to nightfall, animals come and go. Giraffes gulp, wildebeest graze, impalas leap, vultures squabble, and elephants wallow. Irene Latham’s gorgeous poems are accompanied by additional facts that provide further details about the animals and their environment. Imaginative illustrations from Anna Wadham complete this delightful collection.


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Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons by Jon J Muth

Caldecott Honoree and NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author/artist Jon J Muth takes a fresh and exciting new look at the four seasons!

Eating warm cookies
on a cold day
is easy

water catches
every thrown stone
skip skip splash

With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth–and his delightful little panda bear, Koo–challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.


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On the Wing by David Elliott and Becca Stadtlander

Take to the sky to explore a glorious array of all things avian, from the tiny, restless hummingbird to the inscrutable horned owl to the majestic bald eagle. David Elliott and Becca Stadtlander bestow a sense of wonder onto such common birdfeeder visitors as the sparrow, the crow, and the cardinal and capture the exotic beauty of far-flung fowl like the Andean condor, the Australian pelican, and the Caribbean flamingo. Concise, clever verse from an award-winning author pairs with striking artwork from a debut illustrator to make this a true pleasure for anyone who loves birds.

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Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen

In this outstanding picture book collection of poems by Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman (Song of the Water Boatman, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night)discover how animals stay alive in the wintertime and learn about their secret lives happening under the snow. Paired with stunning linoleum print illustrations by Rick Allen, that celebrate nature’s beauty and power.