Thematic Reading List: World Poetry Day
Poems are one of the most beautiful and enjoyable forms of human writing. Poems express feelings of joy, sorrow, love, and wonder. In a celebration of World Poetry Day, this collection of books of poems introduces readers aged 7-12 to the world through poems. Using this style, even reluctant readers can access the stories they tell because of the shorter sentences and lyrical rhythms. The books in this list include both fiction and nonfiction to provide a subject for each unique reader.
Contributed by: Mary Lanni
By: Multiple Authors
Illustrated by: JooHee Yoon
Poetry and children belong together, and for a long time, the music and playfulness of verse wove itself through children’s days and lives. Beastly Verse aims to help return the wonder of poetry to children’s lives through sixteen exquisitely illustrated poems, four of which have the surprise and pleasure of being foldouts. Consisting of playful as well as powerfully memorable poems, Beastly Verse transports the reader into a richly worded world of tigers, hummingbirds, owls, elephants, pelicans, yaks, snails, and even telephones! A playful romp through verse, rhyme, and gorgeous images, this book carries children into the poetic realm in a way that is not only fun and inviting but inspiring as well! Representing poems from Anonymous, as well as some lesser well-known poets, this volume also includes poems from Lewis Carroll, William Blake, Robert Desnos, Hilaire Belloc, William Cowper, Christina Rossetti, and D.H. Lawrence. Both short and long, these poems can be read and reread, committed to memory, and enjoyed all life long. JooHee Yoon is an illustrator and printmaker committed to the art of bookmaking.
|Bigfoot is Missing!
By: J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt
Illustrated by: Minalima
A poetry collection about cryptozoological creatures (the Loch Ness monster, Bigfoot, Chupacabra, etc.) from around the world, written to allow the design of the book to disguise the fact that the collection is poetry.
By: Andi Diehn
Illustrated by: Bryan Stone
Introduces the many different forms of poetry while delving into a variety of literary techniques such as personification, metaphor, and alliteration, and includes creative writing exercises designed to reinforce language arts skills.
|Feel The Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing
By: Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by: Kristi Valiant
Marilyn Singer has crafted a vibrant collection of poems celebrating all forms of social dance from samba and salsa to tango and hip-hop. The rhythm of each poem mimics the beat of the dances’ steps. Together with Kristi Valiant’s dynamic illustrations, the poems create a window to all the ways dance enters our lives and exists throughout many cultures. This ingenious collection will inspire readers to get up and move!
|Hidden City: Poems of Urban Wildlife
By: Sarah Tuttle
Illustrated by: Amy Schimler-Safford
A poetic book highlighting everyday nature. The perfect blend of science and poetry, Hidden City demonstrates that nature can thrive anywhere, even in highly populated areas. In this graceful collection of poems, skyscrapers serve as perches for falcons, streetlights attract an insect buffet for hungry bats, and an overgrown urban lot offers shelter to both flora and fauna. Hidden City also includes engaging supplementary materials, which provide scientific information about the animals and plants featured in the book. Coupled with beautiful collage illustrations, the poems in Hidden City offer readers the perfect reminder to notice and care about their environment.
|Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
By: Maya Angelou
Illustrated by: Jean-Michel Basquiat
Maya Angelou’s brave, defiant poem celebrates the courage within each of us, young and old. From the scary thought of panthers in the park to the unsettling scene of a new classroom, fearsome images are summoned and dispelled by the power of faith in ourselves. Angelou’s strong verse is matched by the daring vision of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose childlike style reveals the powerful emotions and fanciful imaginings of youth. Together, Angelou’s words and Basquiat’s paintings create a place where every child–indeed every person–may experience his or her own fearlessness.
|My Daddy Rules the World
By: Anita Hope Smith
A picture book of poems that celebrate fathers from a two-time Coretta Scott King Honor-winning poet.
By: Synne Lea
Illustrated by: Stian Hole
This poetry collection explores important concepts, such as friendship, fear, and loneliness.
|One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
By: Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by: Cozbi E. Cabrera
In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance — including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era — by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using “The Golden Shovel” poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking. This special book also includes original artwork in full-color from some of today’s most exciting African American illustrators, who have created pieces of art based on Nikki’s original poems. Featuring art by Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Nikki Grimes, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon. A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author’s note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish but a wonderful resource and reference as well.
|Orangutanka: A Story in Poems
By: Margarita Engle
Illustrated by: Renee Kurilla
All the orangutans are ready for a nap in the sleepy depths of the afternoon–all except one. Written in a series of linked poems in the tanka style, an ancient Japanese form of poetry.
|Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry
By: Vern Kousky
Otto the Owl doesn’t fit in because he would rather recite poetry than hunt mice.
|What is Poetry?: The Essential Guide to Reading & Writing Poems
By: Michael Rosen
Illustrated by: Jill Calder
Over many years as a working poet, Michael Rosen has thought a great deal about what poems are, what they can do, and the pleasure that comes from writing and reading poetry. In this invaluable handbook, he shares this knowledge and experience in book form for the very first time. Starting with a detailed analysis of a number of classic poems, he offers a real writer’s guide to writing and performing poems, as well as a wealth of technical information and tips. He then takes a fascinating look at a selection of his own poems and explains how and why he wrote them. Complete with an appendix of poets and useful websites, and beautifully illustrated by award-winning artist Jill Calder, this is the only guide to poetry children and teachers will ever need.