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April is National Poetry Month. It’s a great time to share poetry that children will want to read all year long. Handing a child a book of poems about their favorite topic helps foster a love of poetry. Whether they are obsessed with dinosaurs or dogs, can’t get enough of Greek mythology or music, love sports or school, there’s a book of poetry for them.
FOR THE FUTURE PALEONTOLOGIST
by Jeff Moss, illustrated by Tom Leigh
Filled with scientific information and dino-vocabulary, these playful poems are like a day spent romping through the dinosaur exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History.
FOR FIDO’S BEST FRIEND
Stella, Unleashed: Notes from the Doghouse
by Linda Ashman, illustrated by Paul Meisel
This dog’s-eye view of family life is narrated by Stella, who loves splashing in mud, building forts, and eating treats with her human siblings. A fun introduction to a variety of poetic forms.
A Fuzzy-Fast Blur: Poems about Pets
by Laura Purdie Salas
Striking photos pair with well-crafted wordplay in these themed introductions to rhyme and rhythm. Poems in various forms celebrate everything from three-headed zebras to mysterious school lunches.
I am the Dog, I am the Cat
by Donald Hall and Barry Moser
A hilarious, affectionate portrait in contrasts of our companions (and often best friends). Evocative words and masterful paintings capture the essential qualities of dog and cat that everyone will recognize.
FOR THE FAN OF GODS AND MONSTERS
by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse
Whether they fell in love with Greek mythology through the Percy Jackson books or the Harry Potter series, children are fascinated with these stories. Singer’s reverso poems tell familiar myths from two different points of view.
FOR THE BUDDING MUSICIAN
Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat
Edited by Nikki Giovanni, illustrated by Kristen Balouch, Michele Noiset, Jeremy Tugeau, Alicia Vergel de Dios, and Damian Ward
Well-known poets like Langston Hughes and Lucille Clifton appear in this anthology alongside hip hop artists like Queen Latifah, Common, and A Tribe Called Quest. Includes a CD that brings the connection between music and poetry to life.
FOR THE ATHLETE
Opening Days: Sports Poems
selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Scott Medlock
Harcourt Children’s Books
Beautiful watercolor illustrations of young athletes accompany the poems in this collection. The sports represented range from popular ones like soccer to an “Ode to Weightlifting” by Gary Soto.
FOR THE STUDENT
Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School
by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Steven Salerno
A perfect introduction to simile and metaphor. This hilarious book of short poems includes a math student wishing for a centipede’s hundred feet to count on, a desk filled with special treasures reimagined as a fox’s secret den, and a maze of hallways that makes the new kid feel like a lost mouse.
About the Author
Laura’s Debut Novel-in-Verse
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
by Laura Shovan
Wendy Lamb Books
Laura Shovan’s engaging, big-hearted debut is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.
But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill’s fifth-grade class
has” “plans for you.
They re going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.