Books for Young Poets

Last Updated by Laura Dimock on

This April celebrate National Poetry Month with this lyrical selection of readings. You’ll find Mother Goose, alphabet poems in Spanish and English, an ode to Harlem — even a rhyming dog. The playful language in all of these recommended books for kids ages 0-9 makes for great read-aloud fun.

All the Small Poems and Fourteen More

Dog Days: Rhymes Around the Year

Gathering the Sun

 

Hailstones and Halibut Bones

Harlem

My Shadow

 

My Very First Mother Goose

Sing a Song of Popcorn

Under the Sunday Tree

 

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You

 

All the Small Poems and Fourteen More
By: Valerie Worth, Natalie Babbit
Illustrated by: Natalie Babbit
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
The very short poems compiled here explore the ordinary in extraordinary ways. The terse language and simple illustrations do not abbreviate but heighten wonder and delight.

Dog Days: Rhymes Around the Year
By: Jack Prelutsky, Dyanna Wolcott
Illustrated by: Dyanna Wolcott
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Told from a dog’s point of view and viewed from unusual artistic perspectives, these funny, rhythmic and child-like poems bound through a year from January to December.

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English
By: Alma Flor Ada, Simon Silva
Illustrated by: Simon Silva
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Using the alphabet as a pattern, paintings and brief poems explore rural life in Mexico presented first in Spanish and followed by English. From A to Z, brilliant illustrations and fluid poems evoke the plants, and more and the emotional impact on the lives of farm workers.

Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color
By: Mary O’Neill, John Wallner
Illustrated by: John Wallner
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Evocative poems explore a rainbow of color and emotion in vivid language, satisfying rhythm and handsome illustrations.

Harlem
By: Walter Dean Myers, Christopher Myers
Illustrated by: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Experienced readers will enjoy this stunning and sophisticated visit to Harlem in word and image. Landmarks like the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater are included and invite discussion.

My Shadow
By: Robert Louis Stevenson, Glenna Lang
Illustrated by: Glenna Lang
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
A contemporary child delights in observing his shadow is depicted by crisp line and wash paintings in this accessible picture book of a classic poem.

My Very First Mother Goose
By: Iona Opie, Rosemary Wells
Illustrated by: Rosemary Wells
Age Level: 0-3
Reading Level: Pre-Reader
This spritely collection of both familiar and less well known rhymes is presented in an oversized format just right for sharing. Young children will likely examine lighthearted, detailed illustrations as they extend the rhymes’ action with verve and humor.

Sing a Song of Popcorn: Every Child’s Book of Poems
By: Beatrice Shenk De Regniers, Margot Zemach
Illustrated by: Margot Zemach
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Illustrations by nine Caldecott Medal artists are as varied in style and tone as the poems in this handsome, themed and well-organized collection of poetry.

Under the Sunday Tree
By: Eloise Greenfield, Amos Ferguson
Illustrated by: Amos Ferguson, Eloise Greenfield
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader
Poetry and vibrant paintings in the primitive style by a recognized Bahamian artist create memorable portrayals in this unique collaboration of words and images.

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together
By: Mary Ann Hoberman, Michael Emberley
Illustrated by: Michael Emberley
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader
Rhyming tales written for two voices makes an ideal — and humorous — introduction to readers’ theater. Well known fairy tales have been adapted, reorganized and reinvigorated with lively language and sprightly illustrations, worthy of many dramatizations.

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