April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate we thought it would be fun to round up some of the best current poetry books out there for children. Afterall, teachers and parents can sometimes shrug off exploring poetry with their young ones due to its complex structure and difficult-to-grasp meanings. But poetry doesn’t need to be scary or intimidating. According to an article by Scholastic, poetry is actually a great way to build early literacy skills; rhyme, rhythm, and sound are the emphasis in poetry.
So…. poetry is like a sophisticated nursery rhyme!
Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z
This 2020 book written by Charles Waters & Irene Latham, and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini is, according to the book’s description, “[an] inspiring resource for middle-grade readers organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a “try it” prompt for an activity.”
Kirkus reviews say it is “a creative and inspirational resource for a broad range of ages and uses”.
It would seem despite the stated reading age range of 8-12 years that this book is a valuable resource for all ages to learn about the important topics in today’s society and engage in the conversation.
Plan ahead for Mother’s Day and grab this “Ten Things I Love About You” download and help your kiddo fill it out for their Grandma, Aunt or special neighbor!
H is For Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z
This book, published in 2018, written by Sydell Rosenberg and illustrated by Sawson Chalabi, is inspired by the author’s own experiences living in New York City, and urges readers to pay attention to often overlooked moments in life. Given this book has been out for a few years, it has had time to rack up a tremendous amount of glowing reviews, these next few are collected from Amazon:
“…a delightful exploration of the alphabet through Haiku. Each page explores a moment in time with lovely, lyrical and luscious language. Colorful, playful illustrations complement the poetic text. The illustrations feature whimsical word art that enhances the reading experience.” ―Writers’ Rumpus
H is for Haiku is a true treasure, filled with nuggets of joy and gems of delight―a gentle call to pause and pay attention to the small moments in each day.”―New York Journal of Books
“Artful, wistful, and occasionally puzzling, this slim collection of haiku will appeal most to thoughtful young readers and language enthusiasts.”―School Library Journal
Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice
We’re finishing of strong with this 2020 book by Elizabeth Acevedo, Mahogany L. Browne, and Olivia Gatwood, and illustrated by Theodore Taylor. The book’s self-proclaimed goal is to inspire kids to stay woke and become a new generation of activists.
“Historically poets have been on the forefront of social movements. Woke is a collection of poems by women that reflects the joy and passion in the fight for social justice, tackling topics from discrimination to empathy, and acceptance to speaking out.
With Theodore Taylor’s bright, emotional art, and writing from Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo and Olivia Gatwood, kids will be inspired to create their own art and poems to express how they see justice and injustice.” – Amazon Product Description
“This collection of poems by women of color covers topics relating to social justice, activism, discrimination and empathy, focusing on the need to speak out and inspiring middle-graders.” –Vogue
There is no shortage of poetry to explore! So, this month spend some time finding what inspires and encourages you to think, feel, and act. Then, maybe try your hand at poetry and verbalize those thoughts and emotions that have been taking up space in your mind, or weighing on your soul. Happy reading!
Don’t forget to plan ahead for Mother’s Day and grab this “Ten Things I Love About You” download and help your kiddo fill it out for their Grandma, Aunt or special neighbor!
Kendall is a marketing intern at Cardinal Rule Press this spring and also a student at Michigan State University. She is currently a sophomore studying Communication and Public Relations.