April is National Poetry Month!
April is National Poetry Month, and we can’t think of a better way to celebrate than to introduce a whole new generation of children to the delights of poetry. The Academy of American Poets agrees and has introduced Poet-to-Poet, an educational initiative to inspire the poet in all children. Children in grades 3-12 are encouraged to listen to poems by members of the Academy of American Poets Board of Chancellors and then write their own poems in response. Each poem submitted will be considered for publication on poets.org in May!
All writers need to read, and all young poets need to read poetry. Here you will find poems to entertain, teach, and help your child—even poems to assist with the most difficult of bedtimes.
Steam Train, Dream Train
By: Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld
The team behind the #1 New York Times bestseller Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site returns with another fabulous book for bedtime! The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, bouncy kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls. Sweet and silly dreams are guaranteed for any budding train enthusiasts! Ages 3-6 (Publisher’s Marketing)
What Does the Fox Say
By: Ylvis and Svein Nyhus
Do you know what the fox says? Based on the hugely popular YouTube video with more than 200 million views, this picture book is packed full of foxy fun.
Dog goes woof. Cat goes meow. Bird goes tweet and mouse goes squeak…
But what does the fox say?
The lyrics of Ylvis’s YouTube sensation “The Fox (What Does the Fox Say?)” meet Svein Nyhus’s playful illustrations in this irresistibly entertaining read-aloud picture book. Ages 4-8 (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Margaret Wise Brown
From Margaret Wise Brown, author of the beloved Goodnight Moon, comes a previously unpublished collection of charming lullabies, gorgeously illustrated by 12 award-winning artists. The roster of celebrated names includes Carin Berger, whose The Little Yellow Leaf was a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book; Eric Puybaret, who brought the bestselling Puff, the Magic Dragon to life on the page; Coretta Scott King Honor Award winner Sean Qualls; and Caldecott Honor medalist Melissa Sweet. An accompanying CD, with lilting songs beautifully composed and sung by Emily Gary and Tom Proutt, makes this the perfect gift to wish children a sweet goodnight. Ages 3-5 (Publisher’s Marketing)
I Carry Your Heart with Me
By: E.E. Cummings
I Carry Your Heart with Me is a children’s adaptation of the beloved E. E. Cummings poem, beautifully illustrated by Mati Rose McDonough. Showing the strong bond of love between mother and child, within nature and throughout life, Cummings’ heartfelt words expressed through McDonough’s lovely illustrations combine to create a fresh, yet classic, portrayal of love. First published by Liveright Publishing in 1952 in Complete Poems: 1904-1962 by E. E. Cummings, as “[i carry your heart with me (i carry it in],” I Carry Your Heart with Me has become a classic and very popular poem over the years. McDonough’s illustrations provide a new artistic interpretation on this familiar poem. Ages 2-6 (Publisher’s Marketing)
Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons
By: Jon Muth
Eating warm cookies
on a cold day
every thrown stone
skip skip splash
With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth—and his delightful little panda bear, Koo—challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons. Ages 4-8 (Publisher’s Marketing)
Gazpacho for Nacho
By: Tracey Kyle
Nacho likes to eat only one thing: gazpacho! Gazpacho for breakfast, gazpacho for lunch, gazpacho for dinner, for snacks, and for brunch. Nacho won’t even try other dishes until he discovers miles and piles of mouthwatering vegetables at the market. This lively rhyming story, sprinkled with Spanish, will delight little chefs. A recipe for Gazpacho and a Spanish glossary are included. Ages 5-8 (Publisher’s Marketing)
The Everglades is a poetry book for kids with half of the poems serene and half of the poems snorty. Follow the silly antics of warthogs and alligators at home in The Everglades. For children aged 6+ (or those younger with a good sense of humor) due to a naughty alligator. Ages 6 and up (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Jon Scieszka
What if a boring lesson about the food chain becomes a sing-aloud celebration about predators and prey? A twinkle-twinkle little star transforms into a twinkle-less, sunshine-eating and rhyming Black Hole? What if amoebas, combustion, metamorphosis, viruses, the creation of the universe are all irresistible, laugh-out-loud poetry? Well, you’re thinking in science verse, that’s what. And if you can’t stop the rhymes . . . the atomic joke is on you. Only the amazing talents of Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, the team who created Math Curse, could make science so much fun. Ages 7 and up (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Ringo Starr
Who wouldn’t like to visit an octopus’ garden? Well, now you can! This lively picture book, complete with a CD of the beloved song, brings Ringo Starr’s joyful underwater tale to life and is perfect for reading, sharing, and singing again and again. Ages 4-8 (Publisher’s Marketing)
Forest Has a Song
By: Amy Ludwig Vanderwater
A spider is a “never-tangling dangling spinner/knitting angles, trapping dinner.” A tree frog proposes, “Marry me. Please marry me…/Pick me now./Make me your choice./I’m one great frog/with one strong voice.” VanDerwater lets the denizens of the forest speak for themselves in twenty-six lighthearted, easy-to-read poems. As she observes, “Silence in Forest/never lasts long./Melody/is everywhere/mixing in/with piney air./Forest has a song.” The graceful, appealing watercolor illustrations perfectly suit these charming poems that invite young readers into the woodland world at every season. Ages 6-9 (Publisher’s Marketing)
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar
By: J. Patrick Lewis
Out of a windless August night
A luna moth in ghostly light
Beat softly on my window screen
Tick-tick-ticking-all silver green.
She whispered secrets in my ear—
I am but a stranger here.
The stars are scrawled across the sky
By ghostwriters, the Moon and I.
You will not see me here tonight—
I have a thousand stars to write.
What could be better than cuddling up with your child and this book on your lap and allowing your imaginations to soar with the words and images? Lovingly selected by U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis and paired with vibrant animal photography, this collection of poems is an exuberant celebration of the animal kingdom and a beautiful introduction to this genre of literature. Designed for family sharing but targeted to ages 4-8, this dynamic, fresh, yet still classic collection of animal poems is a must-have for the family bookshelf. Ages 4-8 (Publisher’s Marketing)
How I Discovered Poetry
By: Marilyn Nelson
A powerful and thought-provoking Civil Rights era memoir from one of America’s most celebrated poets. Looking back on her childhood in the 1950s, Newbery Honor winner and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson tells the story of her development as an artist and young woman through fifty eye-opening poems. Readers are given an intimate portrait of her growing self-awareness and artistic inspiration along with a larger view of the world around her: racial tensions, the Cold War era, and the first stirrings of the feminist movement.
A first-person account of African-American history, this is a book to study, discuss, and treasure. Ages 12 and up (Publisher’s Marketing)
By: Neil Gaiman
Trust your heart,
and trust your story.
A renowned storyteller whose words have transported readers to magical realms and an acclaimed illustrator of lushly imagined fairy-tale landscapes guide a traveler safely through lands unknown and yet strangely familiar. . . and home again. Ages 4-8 (Publisher’s Marketing)
Poem-Mobiles: Crazy Car Poems
By: J. Patrick Lewis
The U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate and an award-winning children’s poet join their prolific forces in this picture book of poems about cars. But they’re not just any cars: there’s the Sloppy-Floppy-Nonstop-Jalopy (“So unique there is no copy”); the Bathtub Limosine (“With hot water heating/And porcelain seating”); and the High Heel Car. Each of the thirteen quirky, inventive poems will speak directly to the imaginations of children, as will Holmes’ high-concept, detail-filled illustrations. Ages 6-9 (Publisher’s Marketing)
The Next Place
By: Warren Hanson
A classic, The Next Place brings gentle verse revealing a safe and welcome destination free from earthly hurts and filled with wonder and peace. A comforting message of hope and a gift of compassion for the bereaved. Ages 5 and up (Publisher’s Marketing)
“Stand Back,” Said the Elephant, “I’m Going to Sneeze!”
By: Patricia Thomas, Pattye Echo Thomas, and Wallace Tripp
All the animals are in a panic. The elephant’s sneeze would blow the monkeys out of the trees, the feathers off the birds, the stripes off the zebra. Even the fish and the fly, the crocodile and the kangaroo, know what a catastrophe that sneeze would be. “Please don’t sneeze!” they beg.
The classic story of an enormous sneeze in the making, told in sprightly nonsense verse, has been newly illustrated in full color to delight a new generation of fans. Ages 4-8 (Publisher’s Marketing)