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8 Beautiful Gifts to Read Together: Great Poetry Books to Give!

poetry gifts

Reading poetry aloud together can make the holidays magical. Poems can elevate simple moments into wonderful experiences and infuse day-to-day interactions with more meaning. Poetry can be silly, informative, educational, and transformative, and this collection has a poem for every reader!

1. A Hatful of Dragons: And More Than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems

Recommended for Grade 2 & Up

Poetry and illustration by Vikram Madan

Ideal for fans of Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein, this collection of hilarious poems is perfect for any young reader who likes to read — and laugh!

  • Texas Bluebonnet Book Award Master List 2021-2022
  • South Dakota Prairie Bloom Book Award Finalist 2022-2023
  • A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year 2021
  • A New York Public Library Best Books for Kids 2020
  • A Denver Public Library Best and Brightest Poetry Book of 2020
  • An Evanston Public Library 101 Great Books for Kids 2020
  • School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 Blog – 2020 Best Poetry Books
  • School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 Blog – 2020 Funniest Books of the Year
  • American Library Association ALSC Summer Reading Pick 2021

2. Boom! Bellow! Bleat!: Animal Poems for Two or More Voices

Recommended for Grades K – 4

Poetry by Georgia Heard, illustrated by Aaron DeWitt

A NCTE Notable Poetry Book • This playful collection of poems–peppered with an astounding variety of animal sounds–is meant to be read aloud together.

These poems for two or more voices explore the myriad sounds animals make–from a frog’s jug-o-rum to a fish’s boom! to an elephant’s bark. Laced with humor, the poems are a delight to read aloud and cover all major classes of animals: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, even a crustacean! Readers will learn how to estimate the temperature by counting a cricket’s chirps and see how creatures make sounds at specific pitches and frequencies, so that they can be heard despite other noise around them. Extensive end notes provide more information on the animals and how and why they make the sounds they do. Written by noted children’s poet Georgia Heard, this is an ideal collection for parents and children to share, or for a fun, interactive classroom read-aloud.

3. If This Bird Had Pockets: A Poem in Your Pocket Day Celebration

Recommended for Preschool – 3rd Grade

Written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Emma J. Virján

In this collection, a child imagines the poems animals might carry in their pockets, if they had pockets. What would a hummingbird write? A fox? A sea otter? These poems capture the essences of animals furry, feathery and finny, exploring what makes each unique. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird sings with its wings, Red Fox’s poem is a fiery tail flashing in the dark, and Sea Otter’s poem is its secret pocket. Which poem will capture the heart of the child narrator? A poem about loving animals, of course!

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4. Construction People

Recommended for Preschool – 3rd Grade

Written by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Ellen Shi

Kirkus Reviews Best Book
NCTE Notable Poetry Book
Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year

★ “Fourteen poems capture a skyscraper’s construction, from beginning to completion, in vivid detail. Apart from enjoying jaunty rhymes that scan well and include numerous delightful turns of phrase, readers gain insight into the many workers who collaborate on a new building’s successful, safe skyward climb. Lively, appealing artwork grounds this collection… (a) lovely foundation for forays into poetry and for building a love of buildings.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review 

5. Thunder Underground

Recommended for Grades K – 4

Written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Josée Masse

In this collection of poems, noted children’s poet Jane Yolen takes readers on an expedition underground, exploring everything from animal burrows and human creations, like subways, near the surface—to ancient cities and fossils, lower down—to caves, magma, and Earth’s tectonic plates, deeper still below our feet. At the same time, in Josée Masse’s rich art, a girl and boy, accompanied by several animals, go on a fantastic underground journey. This book contains science, poetry, and an adventure story all rolled into one. But it’s also more than that: In these poems we see that beneath us are the past, present, future—history, truth, and story. This thought-provoking collection will evoke a sense of wonder and awe in readers, as they discover the mysterious world underneath us.

6. Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer

Written by Elizabeth Steinglass, illustrated by Edson Ikê

An NCTE Notable Poetry Book • 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.

From the coach who inspires players to fly like the wind, to the shin guard that begs to be donned, to soccer dreams that fill the night, Soccerverse celebrates soccer. Featuring a diverse cast of girls and boys, the poems in this collection cover winning, losing, teamwork, friendships, skills, good sportsmanship, and, most of all, love for the game. Elizabeth Steinglass cleverly incorporates thirteen different poetic forms throughout the book, defining each in a note at the end, and Edson Ikê’s bold artwork is as creative as the poems are surprising.

7. Catching a Storyfish

Recommended for Grades 3 – 7

Written by Janice N. Harrington

  • A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
  • Winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
  • Arnold Adoff Poetry Honor Award

This lyrical middle-grade novel-in-verse celebrates the power of story and of finding one’s individual voice.

Keet knows the only good thing about moving away from her Alabama home is that she’ll live near her beloved grandfather. When Keet starts school, it’s even worse than she expected, as the kids tease her about her southern accent. Now Keet, who can “talk the whiskers off a catfish,” doesn’t want to open her mouth. While fishing with her grandfather, she learns the art of listening and gradually, she makes her first new friend. But just as she’s beginning to settle in, her grandfather has a stroke, and even though he’s still nearby, he suddenly feels ever-so-far-away. Keet is determined to reel him back to her by telling him stories; in the process she finds her voice and her grandfather again.

A Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices Selection

8. Garvey in the Dark

Recommended for Grades 3-7

Written by Nikki Grimes

“Garvey in the Dark is more than a beautifully crafted novel in verse. It’s a story that faces news headlines and captures the wild emotional roller coaster of the COVID-19 pandemic with honesty and courage. A must-read for young people who lived through the early days of the outbreak as well as those who will be curious about it in years to come.” —Kate Messner, New York Times bestselling author

“With deceptive simplicity, Grimes captures characters and emotions by wielding a poetic form—the tanka—with superb and superhuman strength, and the result is a beautiful and brilliant book about how faith, grace, and familial love can help us triumph over adversity…” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home

Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Garvey, a beloved character, Nikki Grimes’s newest novel in verse shows readers how to find hope in difficult times.

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Coming soon in February 2023! A poetry collection all about physics.

Push-Pull Morning: Dog-Powered Poems About Matter and Energy

Recommended for Preschool – 3rd Grade

Written by Lisa Westberg Peters, illustrated by Serge Bloch

Introduce children to physics through play, poetry, and a puppy in this joyous celebration of how physics matters in our everyday lives.

This remarkable picture book explores scientific concepts (gravity, magnetism, electricity, friction, etc.) through the story of the relationship between a child and a puppy. Acclaimed author Lisa Westberg Peters’s poems convey concepts in a way that children will remember—often with humor. Who could forget the various phases when they’re presented in the form of a dog—solid when eating dinner, liquid when pouring herself into her basket, and gas when leaping erratically after a fly? Serge Bloch’s whimsical illustrations extend the humor—and the love—in this tale of a child, a dog, and the energy that abounds in their world.

Extensive notes at the end of the book define and explain the physics subjects included in the poems.