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19 Poetry Books for Children! National Poetry Month

Poetry takes complex ideas and breaks them down into feelings—it elevates the most simple moment into a magical experience and celebrates all five senses. It can make mundane interactions feel meaningful, and bring the mysteries of nature to life. Poetry can be silly, informative, educational, and transformative.

April is National Poetry Month, and we’re so proud to share these 19 poetry books for children. There’s a poem in each collection for every reader—from preschoolers learning about nature to young adults developing empathy and delving into concepts of great consequence—your little one will find something they love!

If This Bird Had Pockets by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Emma J. Virján

An ideal gift for children who love animals, this picture book is a celebration of Poem in your Pocket Day and a charmingly illustrated collection of playful poems about 19 different creatures.

A Hatful of Dragons by Vikram Madan

Ideal for fans of Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein, this collection of hilarious poems features delicious vocabulary and a wide range of subjects, as well as recurring characters and subplots in the art that weave the poems together and add to the merriment.

This Poem Is a Nest by Irene Latham, illustrated by Johanna Wright

This beautiful poetry collection named both a Kirkus Reviews Best Book and an NCTE Notable Poetry Book introduces readers to the art of found poetry as the poet writes a 37-line poem, “Nest,” then finds 160 smaller poems within it.

Construction People by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Ellen Shi

Fourteen poems compiled by award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins introduce readers to the various construction people who collaborate to create a high-rise hotel building, from architect to crane operator to glaziers and more.

A Bunch of Punctuation by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Serge Bloch

Selected by noted anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins, this collection of all-new poems is written from the points of view of personality-filled punctuation marks, and is a memorable introduction to grammar for kids (adults, too!)

Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Through a sequence of raw and poignant poems, New York Times best-selling and award-winning poet Carole Boston Weatherford chronicles legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday—the singer’s young life, her fight for survival, and the dream she pursued with passion.

Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke 

Twenty-three poems capture the joys of reading. This poetry explores what reading does—how it opens minds, can make you kind, and allows you to explore the whole world.

Write! Write! Write! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke 

In this NCTE Notable Poetry Book and NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, twenty-two poems capture the amazing power of writing and will inspire even the most reluctant writer to begin putting words to paper.

After Dark by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis

This collection of twenty-two poems explores the fascinating lives of North American nocturnal animals.

Carver by Marilyn Nelson

Beautiful verse explores agricultural scientist George Washington Carver’s life and many achievements, from his work as a botanist and inventor to his unsung gifts as a painter, musician, and teacher.

Boom! Bellow! Bleat! by Georgia Heard, illustrated by Aaron Dewitt

A perfect bedtime read, this playful collection of poems—peppered with an astounding variety of animal sounds—is meant to be read aloud together.

Thunder Underground by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Josée Masse

This thought-provoking collection will evoke a sense of wonder and awe in readers, as they discover the mysterious world underneath us.

Soccerverse by Elizabeth Steinglass, illustrated by Edson Ikê

The perfect gift for young soccer fans, this picture book features twenty-two imaginative poems that capture all aspects of the world’s most popular sport.

School People by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Ellen Shi

Fifteen poems selected by acclaimed poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins celebrate all of the grown-ups that children encounter during the course of a school day.

Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

In her own voice, acclaimed author and poet Nikki Grimes explores the truth of a harrowing childhood in a compelling and moving memoir in verse. Ordinary Hazards has received numerous honors, ranging from multiple starred reviews to being named a Michael L. Printz Honor Book, Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book, Boston Globe/Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book, a Booklist Best Book for Youth, and more. 

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, friendship, one girl’s indomitable spirit, and of a teacher’s ability to reach out and change a life.

Garvey’s Choice by Nikki Grimes

This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

Voices from the March on Washington by George Ella Lyon and J. Patrick Lewis

The powerful poems in this poignant collection weave together multiple voices to tell the story of the March on Washington, DC, in 1963.

Catching a Storyfish by Janice N. Harrington

This lyrical middle-grade novel-in-verse celebrates the power of story and of finding one’s individual voice. It was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year.