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8 Poetry Picture Books with “Elementary Energy” (updated 3/2024)

This collection is perfect for elementary school age readers… but readers of all ages will enjoy the whimsical artwork and rhymes. Wordsong, an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers, has poetry books for kids at every age & every stage!

This Poem Is a Nest

This beautiful poetry collection introduces readers to the art of found poetry as the poet writes a 37-line poem, “Nest,” then finds 160 smaller poems within it.

★ “Each nestling [poem] is a warm, accessible, bite-size poem. Some are playful and some are profound. Young writers will be motivated to find their own nestlings and to think deeply about the power of words. Wright’s soft illustrations are gentle, and the ink washes create a lush, dreamy feel. A beautiful, emotional, and incredibly creative poetry book that inspires reflection, dreaming, and writing. A must for libraries and schools.” —School Library Journal, starred review

★ “A gifted poet demonstrates the remarkable versatility of words through one kind of found poetry. ‘[N]ested’ poems are hidden inside larger poems like nesting dolls. These short poems cover simple themes, such as colors, days, seasons, and animals, as well as more complex ones. The invitations to think metaphorically and to discover poetry that might be right at hand are friendly and clear… The repetition of words becomes an echo of a familiar melody running throughout the collection as they become the molecules of new poems and become fresh again. Wright’s art in full-page section-introducing illustrations, along with spot illustration and margin art, gives a warm and lighthearted dimension to the pages. Delightful. ” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

★ “Latham… suggests poems are nests in which poets ‘gather words, ideas, and dreams, and then . . . set about weaving, arranging, and structuring.’ A lengthy 37- line opening poem, titled “Nest,” solidifies this concept by combining imagery of birds and poets at work throughout the seasons. Latham then uses this anchor poem as a source for 161 very short found poems or ‘nestlings.’ These nestlings… encourage metaphorical thinking in young readers, while Wright’s grayscale, loosely drawn illustrations enhance these sentiments. Latham ends her work with tips for budding poets to create or find their own nest poems and nestlings, such as using verbs as nouns (or vice versa), joining words to make unique words, and experimenting with the placement of words on the page. This clever poetry exercise will inspire reflection, recreation, or simple enjoyment.” —Booklist, starred review

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

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A Bunch of Punctuation

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!)

“A collection of peppy poems and clever pictures explains different forms of punctuation. ‘A Punctuation Tale’ kicks off the proceedings with a punny description of a day full of punctuation…(and) ‘Question Marks’ is particularly delightful. The 12 poets included work with a variety of devices and styles for an always-fresh feel. Bloch’s illustrations are delightfully surprising, both illustrating each poem’s key points and playfully riffing on the punctuation itself. Both playful and enlightening, period.” – Kirkus Reviews

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

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. 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.

★ “Thirteen playful poems give young performers a chance to noisily shine as they explore the denizens of the wild. Poems are highly evocative…and many poems include notes to further guide readers in maximizing the mimicry (and the fun). The result is an opportunity for some startlingly effective natural noises, lively poetry, and glorious chaos… this work offers an irresistible invitation to its audience to join in the woooooooo, pzzzz pzzzz pzzzz, and peep of the natural world.” – The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

A NCTE Notable Poetry Book

Soccerverse: Poems about Soccer

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.

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.

“Twenty-two poems celebrate, from a young person’s perspective, the beautiful game that is soccer. Ikê’s digitally created art is stylized and full of motion. His lighthearted illustrations incorporate some poetic fantasy elements and flourishes…Each poem uses one or more of 13 poetic forms described briefly in an author’s note—something that will surely charm teachers and aspiring poets. A pitch-perfect ode to the details and delights of playing soccer.” –Kirkus Reviews

A NCTE Notable Poetry Book

Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist

What were all those fairy-tale characters thinking? Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich answer this question in paired poems, with sometimes startling results. 

This stunning collection includes end notes that briefly describe the tales and their history and an introduction that invites readers to imagine their own poems from unusual perspectives.

“Yolen and Dotlich refashion 15 classic fairy tales into incisive poems told from dual perspectives. . . Mahurin’s inky illustrations make theatrical use of dimension, light, and shadow as the characters bound from their expected roles.” —Publishers Weekly

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

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!

This is a quirky collection of poems that readers will laugh their way through again and again.

★”A loopily meta collection of silly, interactive poetry. Madan’s collection of rhymed verse lives up to its subtitle thanks to a poem with 12 numbered blanks and 12 lists of seven words or phrases each to insert, mix-and-match style, in those blanks…that equals seven-to-the-12th-power possible poems! You do the math. There is a ‘cracked-concrete’ poem (some of the words have fallen to the bottom of the page), a rebus chant composed entirely of pictures of Australian animals, and some poems in comic strips. The cast appears to be of many races and species. This collection will encourage several giggle-filled read-throughs.” — Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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
ALA/ALSC Summer Reading Pick 2021
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book

Welcome to the Wonder House

This collection of poems, creatively presented in the format of an allegorical house, will engage anyone who has ever wondered “why?” as it shows young readers that wonder is everywhere—in yourself and in the world around you.

★ “Crisp and concise, with internal rhymes and alliteration, these poems beg to be shared and read aloud. Freedman’s illustrations complement and add whimsical details, including a stargazing penguin and a scaly, red dragon glimpsed amidst a jumble of blocks…Thoughtful readers will relish the figurative language and imagery, and pore over the well-crafted illustrations. An excellent resource for teachers looking to inspire students in an array of topics, from science and nature studies to creative writing.” —School Library Journal, starred review

★ “Set within 12 ethereal ‘rooms,’ 29 poems contemplate the wonders of Earth, sea, sky, and beyond…The poets infuse their verse with vibrant, child-accessible imagery….This slim volume teems with STEAM extensions, from exploring poetic forms and devices to investigating scientific facts and hypotheses. A beautifully conceived invitation: to look, see, wonder.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

A 2023 School Library Journal Best Book
A 2024 CCBC Choice 

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

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

“A dog and a child joyously demonstrate gravity, friction, inertia, and other physical phenomena…With an eye to her STEM-centric theme, Peters outfits her free-verse romps with titular references to physics and parenthetical identifications of relevant topics or principles…Playfulness and pedagogy intertwined.” —Kirkus Reviews