April is National Poetry Month! This month, we celebrate all things poetry, rhythm, verse, and rhyme.
We’ve selected eighteen cute poetry books for you to share with your little poets.
FOR EVERY LITTLE THING
For morning song and gentle brook,
a faithful friend, a favorite book,
for robin’s eggs and swinging trees,
the daffodils and dancing bees—
For lady bugs and butterflies, bluebirds, breezes, cloud-filled skies,
for kitten’s mew and horse’s neigh,
the golden sun that ends my day,
I thank my God for scales and wings,
for each and every little thing.
— Nancy Tupper Ling
For Every Little Thing
Poems and Prayers to Celebrate the Day
Edited by June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling
Illustrated by Helen Cann
How do you find joy in ordinary moments? How do you mark small wonders like the return of the fireflies or a friend’s helping hand?
Arranged from waking up to falling asleep, For Every Little Thing is an engaging collection of the day and its delights. This inspirational anthology gathers classic selections, modern prayers, and new poems from multiple cultures and faiths. From Emily Dickinson to Amma, from Ken Nesbitt to Rabbi Rami M. Shapiro, fifty-one voices encourage children to be present and thankful at all hours.
Accessible language and richly detailed illustrations celebrate simple pleasures like slurping noodles and splashing in puddles. Perfect for sharing around the table or at bedtime, For Every Little Thing will awaken a sense of gratitude in readers of all ages.
A relatable novel-in-verse about loss… and what happens afterwards
Twelve-year-old Birdie Briggs loves birds. They bring her comfort when she thinks about her dad, a firefighter who was killed in the line of duty. Life without her dad isn’t easy, but at least Birdie still has Mom and Maymee, and her friends Nina and Martin.
But then Maymee gets a boyfriend, Nina and Martin start dating, and Birdie’s mom starts seeing a police officer. And suddenly not even her beloved birds can lift Birdie’s spirits. Her world is changing, and Birdie wishes things would go back to how they were before. But maybe change, painful as it is, can be beautiful too.
With compelling verse and a lighthearted touch, Eileen Spinelli captures the poignancy of adolescence and shows what can happen when you let people in.
At Jerusalem’s Gate
Poems of Easter
A man in the crowd at Jerusalem vies to see Jesus; a disciple recounts details of the Last Supper; Pilate’s wife fears her husband’s decision. Beginning with Christ’s triumphant arrival in Jerusalem, Nikki Grimes explores the first Easter through the voices of those who witnessed it.
The author’s introductions provide a thoughtful framework, and David Frampton’s beautifully intricate and expressive woodcuts illuminate each poem. At Jerusalem’s Gate offers readers of all ages insight into the most important moments in Christian history.
A compelling novel in verse about mental illness
Laura is a typical fifteen-year-old growing up in the 1960s, navigating her way through classes, friendships, and even a new romance. But she’s carrying around a secret: her mother is suffering from a mental illness. No one in Laura’s family will talk about her mother’s past hospitalizations or increasingly erratic behavior, and Laura is confused and frightened. Laura finds some refuge in art, but when her mother suffers a breakdown after taking painting back up again herself, even art ceases to provide much comfort.
Eloquent and compelling, this powerful novel-in-verse tackles complex themes in a way that will have readers rooting for Laura to find the courage to get the answers she needs.
Poems to Our Planet
Written by Joyce Sidman
Illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora
We walk on Earth’s surface every day, but how often do we wonder about the incredible planet around us? From the molten cracks below to the shimmering moon above, Hello, Earth! explores the wonders of the natural world. This playful journey across our puzzle-piece continents does not hesitate to ask questions—even of the Earth itself!
Joyce Sidman’s imaginative poems encourage boundless curiosity, and Miren Asiain Lora’s stunning paintings capture the beauty of Earth’s ecosystems, creatures, and powerhouse plants. The book concludes with extensive scientific material to foster further learning about how the earth works, from water cycles to plate tectonics to the origin of ocean tides.
A gorgeous, expansive celebration of science and art, Hello, Earth! is a book to cherish in whatever landscape you call home.
Poems of Urban Wildlife
Sarah Grace Tuttle
A poetic book highlighting everyday nature
The perfect blend of science and poetry, Hidden City demonstrates that nature can thrive anywhere, even in highly populated areas. In this graceful collection of poems, skyscrapers serve as perches for falcons, streetlights attract an insect buffet for hungry bats, and an overgrown urban lot offers shelter to both flora and fauna. Hidden City also includes engageing supplementary materials, which provide scientific information about the animals and plants featured in the book.
Coupled with beautiful collage illustrations, the poems in Hidden City offer readers the perfect reminder to notice and care about their environment.
I Lay My Stitches Down
This rich and intricate collection of poems chronicles the various experiences of American slaves. Drawn together through imagery drawn from quilting and fiber arts, each poem is spoken from a different perspective: a house slave, a mother losing her daughter to the auction block, a blacksmith, a slave fleeing on the Underground Railroad.
This moving and eloquent set of poems, brought to life by vivid and colorful artwork from Michele Wood, offers a timeless witness to the hardship endured by America’s slaves. Each poem is supplemented by a historical note.
I”ll Root for You
Written by Edward van de Vendel
Illustrated by Wolf Erlbruch
Translated by David Colmer
A collection of poems that’s sure to be a winner
This delightful poetry collection is the perfect cheerleader for young athletes . . . especially ones who may not be the most athletic. Edward van de Vendel introduces readers to a world where elephants figure skate, frogs win the Diversity Olympics, and a pig quits the football team for gymnastics, even though everyone laughs at his leotard. Paired with winsome illustrations, the poems—sometimes silly, sometimes sincere—encourage young readers to pursue their goals, try their best, and take pride in themselves, whether they win or lose.
Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Helen Cann
A lovely retelling of the Christmas story from the perspective of the animals
There is a legend that describes how, at midnight on Christmas Eve, all creatures are granted the power of speech for one hour. In this rich collection, Lee Bennett Hopkins and a dozen other poets imagine what responses they might offer. The poems represent a diverse group of animals, but all come together with one singular purpose: celebrating the joy of the miraculous event.
This collection of graceful poems provides readers with a Nativity story unlike any other — at times gently humorous, at times profound, but always inviting readers to appreciate the wonder of Christmas. This book is a perfect gift for the holiday season.
Edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Illustrated by Jen Corace
How would a clock, nightlight, or teddy bear say good night? In this enchanting poetry collection, Lee Bennett Hopkins and thirteen other poets imagine the wishes whispering through a young girl’s bedroom as she falls asleep. The bookshelf’s stories curl through her head; the pillow transforms into a hot air balloon; the rocking horse waits expectantly for tomorrow’s adventures. Stunning gouache illustrations by Jen Corace offer new details to discover with every reading.
Perfect for bedtime reading and re-reading, Night Wishes will transport young readers into a wonderful, whimsical world of dreams.
Friendship, fear, loneliness — these are things that are universally experienced but difficult to describe. In this arresting poetry collection, Synne Lea explores these concepts and more through the thoughts and experiences of a family. As the family members examine their connections with each other and the world around them, they gain a deeper appreciation of love and friendship and learn how to reach beyond the confines of their own isolation.
Accompanied by breathtaking artwork, these enchanting poems will stay with readers long after they have turned the final page.
A Pond Full of Ink
Annie M.G. Schmidt
A whimsical collection of children’s poems by a beloved author
This delightful collection of poems offers children and the young at heart a refreshing, inventive look at the world from the well-known Dutch author, Annie Schmidt. The rollicking poems tell the stories of such intriguing characters as three elderly otters who long to go boating but find themselves biking instead, animated furniture that comes to life when no one is home, and Aunt Sue and Uncle Steve who nest up in a tree!
The poems in A Pond Full of Ink transform ordinary events and places into extraordinary adventures full of imagination, much like the work of Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky. Accompanying the poems is bold and expressive artwork that makes this book too charming to resist.
Ages 4 to 8
A poetry collection celebrating the wonders of the natural world
This haiku collection will enchant both nature lovers and budding poets. The spare, lyrical text describes a series of short vignettes, each of them taking place in a different kind of rain, from thunderstorms to falling flower petals. The poems—some serious, some gently humorous—depict scenes from all over the globe: a horse struggling to plow a field, a father changing a tire while his children play, and two friends making up after a fight.
With its majestic artwork, this introduction to a classic poetic form will inspire readers to write their own haiku as they experience the amazing world around them.
A River of Words
The Story of William Carlos Williams
A Junior Library Guild Selection
Willie loved to write — words gave him freedom and peace. But he also knew that he needed to earn a living, so when he grew up he went off to medical school and became a doctor — one of the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing.
In this picture book biography of poet William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed- media illustrations celebrate the amazing man whose poems about ordinary, everyday things will inspire young readers to create poems of their own.
Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile
Written by María José Ferrada
Illustrated by María Elena Valdez
Translated by Lawrence Schimel
“Birds pray, trees pray, flowers pray, mountains pray, the winds and rain pray, rivers and the little insects pray as well. The whole earth is in constant prayer, and we can join with its great prayer,” says award-winning author and illustrator Paul Goble.
Every element of creation — from the magpie to the minnow — glorifies God in its own way in this bold and brightly illustrated work, adapted from The Book of Common Prayer. Goble invites readers to join with the land and the animals in singing praise to God.
A poetic story inspired by Psalm 121
Jordan lives in fear of Tanya, the class bully. But Tanya has worries of her own, no matter how much she tries to ignore them. It seems impossible that Jordan and Tanya could be anything other than enemies, but the Lord is watching over them, guiding each of them along a path that might just help them to understand one another.
Nikki Grimes takes the words of a Psalm 121 and masterfully transforms them into a golden shovel poem of compassion, friendship, and faith. Coupled with powerful artwork from Bryan Collier, this heartfelt story is one that readers will treasure.
When Daddy Prays
When Daddy prays
my fear of darkness disappears
and angels tiptoe down the hall.
I hear them through the door and wall . . .when Daddy prays.
In this collection of new poems by Nikki Grimes, a child learns about prayer from his father, whose prayers carry the family through each day — no matter what the circumstances.
Nikki Grimes believes that spirituality and prayer are signs of true strength and power. When Daddy Prays celebrates fathers who help their children see this. Nikki writes, “In my view there is no more powerful image than that of a strong man bowing before God.”
And illustrator Tim Ladwig has created remarkable images, rich with tenderness and touches of affectionate humor, to enhance and complete this exceptional book.
A Year with Mama Earth
Written by Rebecca Grabill
Illustrated by Rebecca Green
In September, Mama Earth sighs out the first autumn frost, which crunches under children’s feet. Mama Earth looks after nature’s plants and animals throughout the year—singing lullabies to fat bears in the fall, dressing evergreens in icicles in winter, and waking up the crocuses in spring. And in the summer, Mama Earth sends warm sunbeams to her beloved children, so they can play outside and enjoy the amazing world around them.
With enchanting text and radiant artwork, A Year with Mama Earth offers a joyous celebration of nature’s beauty and the changing seasons.