April is National Poetry Month

Use some of my favorite poetry books to read a poem daily to your students.

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse.  Marilyn Singer.  Dutton , 2010.
A brilliant collection of fairy tale style poems that can be read two ways-both up and down which gives a different perspective or meaning.  Vibrant artwork is a perfect compliment.  The last page encourages readers to write their own reverso poem.  Outstanding Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

And I Love You.  Ruth Krauss.  Scholastic, 2010.
Steven Kellogg’s luminous artwork gives new life to this 1987 poem from Krauss’ picture book, Big and Little.  A kitten hands his mother a book and they embark on a magical journey depicting how big things love little things.  Books play an important part in the artwork as they become archways, a sailboat, city buildings.  Warm and reassuring.
Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd Grade

Around the World on Eighty Legs.  Amy Gibson.  Scholastic, 2011.
More than 50 poems about some of the world’s fascinating animals are arranged geographically: “From the Andes to the Amazon: South America (and Beyond).”
Kids will enjoy the clever wordplay and may want to find out more about these animals.  A “Menagerie of Facts” is included at the end.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Barnyard Slam. Dian Curtis Regan.  Holiday House, 2009.
Yo Mama  Goose organizes a poetry slam for all the farm animals.  Loaded with puns and animal jokes for older elementary kids.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-5th grade

Button Up! : Wrinkled Rhymes.  Alice Schertle.  Harcourt, 2009.
15 articles of clothing tell their stories in this wonderful collection of rhymes.
Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Dear World.  Takayo Noda.  Puffin Books, 2005.
A beautifully illustrated collection of poems about how children see the world.  Handmade paper and watercolor collages are exquisite.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade

Dinothesaurus : Prehistoric Poems and Paintings.  Douglas Florian.  Atheneum, 2009.
Twenty witty and informative dinosaur poems.  Mixed media collage art provides a visual treat.  Pronunciation guide appears under the title of each poem.
Florian is one of our best poets for children.  He does not disappoint.
Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade

Dirty Laundry Pile : Poems in Different Voices. Paul Janeczko.  HarperCollins, 2001.
A fabulous collection of 27 “persona” poems from some of our best children’s poets.
Useful for teaching metaphor and imagery.

Dogku.  Andrew Clements.  Simon & Schuster, 2007.
Through haiku we see the charming story of Mooch, a lost dog, who is taken in by a family.  Touching and funny.  A great way to introduce haiku.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-5th grade

A Foot in the Mouth : Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout.  Selected by Paul B. Janeczko.
Candlewick, 2009.
A collection of more than 3 dozen poems begging to be shared aloud.  Includes rhymes, toungue twisters, bilingual, and poems for two voices.  A gem!
Read-aloud 4th-6th grade

Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich : And Other Stories You’re Sure to Like, Because They’re All About Monsters, and Some of them are also About Food, You Like Food Don’t You? Well, All Right Then. Rex Adam.  Harcourt, 2006.
A collection of humorous poems describing the everyday life of well-known monsters.  Very clever with just the right amount of gory, gross humor and great illustrations.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-5th grade

Give Me Wings. Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  Holiday House, 2010.
13 poems by various poets from Mother Goose to contemporary, with a common theme of the magic of wings.  Most depict an individual child with a dream.  Very nicely illustrated with ink and acrylic on double-page spreads.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-3rd grade

Good Dog. Maya Gottfried.  Dragonfly Books, 2008.
Sixteen full-page portraits of different dog breeds are accompanied by poems that beautifully capture their personalities.  Irresistible!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud- All ages

Guyku : A Year of Haiku for Boys.  Bob Raczka.  Houghton Mifflin, 2010.
Organized by season, this delightful collection of haiku depicts boys having fun in nature.  Picture Book.  Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

Handsprings : Poems and Paintings.  Douglas Florian.  Greenwillow, 2006.
Twenty- nine rhyming poems celebrating the joy of spring; flowers, baseball, skateboarding, rain, mud.  Puns and wordplay make this worthy of a broad range of ages.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-5th grade

I Am the Book. Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins.  Holiday House, 2011.
A fabulous collection of 13 poems about books and reading.  Begs to be read-aloud.  Back matter includes brief information about each poet.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

I Didn’t Do It. Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest.  HarperCollins, 2010.
Delightful poems about three puppies and their discoveries and antics.  Beautifully written and illustrated.  Shows a real understanding of life from a puppy’s point of view.
Read-aloud K-5th grade

A Light in the Attic : Special Edition.  Shel Silverstein.  HarperCollins, 2009.
This new edition of an all-time favorite has 12 previously unpublished poems.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

M is for Mischief : An A to Z of Naughty Chidren.  Linda Ashman.  Dutton, 2008.
An alliterative 8 line rhyme for each letter of the alphabet describes a naughty child and the consequences of their behavior.  Funny, clever, rambunctiously illustrated.  Could your students write one about themselves?  A great writing model.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

Messing Around on the Monkey Bars : And Other School Poems for Two Voices. Betsy Franco.  Candlewick Press, 2009.
These 19 poems written for 2 or more voices provide a fun romp through common school experiences.  A great introduction to poems for multiple voices, easy to perform.  I just wish the librarian was not a “shusher.”
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade

Orangutan Tongs : Poems to Tangle Your Tongue. Jon Agee.  Hyperion, 2009.
The illustrations enhance this celebration of wordplay.  Great wordsmithing.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade

Peaceful Pieces–Poems and Quilts About Peace.  Anna Grossnickle Hines.  Henry Holt, 2011.
A broad collection of poems demonstrating how peace and tolerance relate to our everyday lives.  Each detailed, handmade quilt is a work of art.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

Pizza, Pigs and Poetry : How to Write a Poem. Jack Prelutsky.  Greenwillow Books, 2008.
Prelutsky uses personal anecdotes to demonstrate how he uses everyday experiences to create humorous poems.  He includes practical writing tips and advice, a glossary and a list of “Poem starts to Get You Started.”  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

Poetrees.  Douglas Florian.  Beach Lane Books, 2010.
Eighteen poems celebrate trees with humor, wordplay, puns and facts.  The vertical design is perfect for sharing with large groups.  He uses a variety of artistic techniques to create the illustrations, including rubber stamps, collage and water colors.  A verbal and visual treat.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

Sharing the Seasons :  A Book of Poems. Lee Bennett Hopkins.  Margaret K. McElderry, 2010.
This is a beautiful collection of 48 poems, 12 per season.  David Diaz’s dazzling  illustrations using the colors of each season bring the poems to life.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade

A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes :  A Pocket Book.  Elizabeth Garton Scanlon. HarperCollins, 2004.
It takes just a little shift in thinking to find pockets everywhere.  “ A pocket for a family is a home”, “a pocket for a ring is a phone”.  Your students will come up with many more.
Great fun!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4th grade

There’s No Place Like School : Classroom Poems. Selected by Jack Prelutsky.  Greenwillow Books, 2010.
A collection of 18 light-hearted poems by 13 poets.  A companion to What a Day it Was at School.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-3rd grade

The Underwear Salesman : And Other Jobs for Better or Verse.  J. Patrick Lewis.  Atheneum, 2009.
A rhyming survey of 49 poems describing traditional and nontraditional occupations.
Humor and puns everywhere, verse and illustrations.
Read-aloud 4th-6th grade

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