Celebrate National Poetry Month, April 2012!

Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.  Edgar Allan Poe


Bookspeak!Poems About Books.  Laurie Purdie Salas.  Clarion, 2011.
A delightful, clever, humorous collection of 21 poems of various styles about different aspects of reading and books.  Imagine a poem about an Index, or a Cliffhanger, or a Sequel or a Plot!  Wonderful, wonderful!  Several are worth memorizing.  Great illustrations, too.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade


Dear Hot Dog : Poems About Everyday Stuff..  Mordicai Gerstein.  Abrams Books, 2011.
Everyday activities are seen through the eyes of three children: summer sun, socks, ice cream cones, toothbrush, toes, autumn leaves, etc.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-2nd grade


Emma Dilemma : Big Sister Poems.  Kristine O’Connell George.  Clarion Books, 2011.
A wonderful collection of 34 poems in which fourth-grader, Jess, shares the positive and negative aspects of life with her three-year-old sister, Emma.  Very relatable and engaging.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade



Every Thing On It.  Shel Silverstein.  Harper, 2011.
Silverstein’s family did a wonderful job of selecting 130 poems from his archives to creat another classic Silverstein romp just when we thought we would not hear from him again.  A treasure!
Read-aloud 3rd grade and up



The Hound Dog’s Haiku and Other Poems for Dog Lovers.  Michael J. Rosen.  Candlewick Press, 2011.
The characteristics of twenty dog breeds are represented in these engaging haiku.  great for dog lovers and aspiring haiku writers.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade


How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird.  Jacques Prevert.  Illustrated and translated by Mordicai Gernstein.  Roaring Brook Press, 2007.
An allegory for the creative process of painting as described in this translation of Prevert’s 1949 poem.  Beautifully shows that the process requires care, patience and dedication, and that the joyful end result is worth the struggle.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade

Lemonade and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word.  Bob Raczka.  Roaring Brook Press, 2011.
Part poems and part puzzles, Raczka has created poems by rearranging the letters of a single word.  Imaginative and not always easy to figure out.
3rd-8th grade



Poems I Wrote When No One Was Looking.  Alan Katz.  Margaret K. McElderry, 2011.
Clever, delightful, silly, funny.  These 100 poems will be popular with fans of Silverstein, Prelutsky and Florian.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade



Reading, Rhyming, and ‘rithmetic.  Dave Crawley.  Wordsong, 2010.
These 20 poems about typical school experiences are humorous, relatable and sometimes thought-provoking.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-4rd grade



Red Sled.  Patricia Thomas.  Boyds Mills, Press, 2008.
A boy and his father have a wonderful time sledding on a winter night.  This story poem is clever and told in just 70 words.  The style is inspired by an ancient form of writing called chiasmus which “creates a kind of mirror image, with thoughts, words, or even word sounds flowing toward a center point, then reversing to reflect that order as it reaches the end.”  Sounds more complicated than it is.  Thomas uses lots of rhyming pairs like “Sad lad.  Sad dad.  Fat hat.  Knit mitt.”  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-1st grade


Swirl by Swirl : Spirals in Nature.  Joyce Sidman.  Houghton Mifflin, 2011.
This stunning non-fiction poetry book is my pick for the Caldecott Medal.  It is a poetic and visual exploration of spirals in nature.  It has many curriculum uses such as writing poetry, patterns and shapes in nature, Fibonacci sequence, scratchboard art.  Or it can just be enjoyed for the visual and verbal feast that it is. I am disappointed it weasn’t in the running for the Caldecott.  Go to the author’s website for great ideas on using this book with students.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade

Thanks a Million.  Nikki Grimes.  Greenwillow, 2006.
These sixteen illustrated poems show the power in being thankful for simple, everyday experiences.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

Today at the Bluebird Cafe : A Branchfull of Birds.  Margaret K. McElderry, 2007.
Twenty-two rhyming couplets, each about a different bird.  Thoughtful, humorous, charming watercolor illustrations.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud K-4th grade


Ubiquitous : Celebrating Nature’s Survivors.  Joyce Sidman.  Houghton Mifflin, 2010.
A great blend of poetry, science and art about everything from bacteria to coyotes.  The left page contains the poem; many styles of poems are represented.  The right page includes excellent facts about the subject.  There is something for everyone here.  A glossary and author’s note are included.
Picture Book.
Read-aloud :  all ages

Under the Mambo Moon.  Julia Durango.  Charlesbridge, 2011.
Simple blank verse poems about the people who stop by Marisol’s father’s music store on a hot summer night.  Latin American music and dance are celebrated.
Read-aloud 4th-7th grade


Won Ton : A Cat Tale Told in Haiku.  Lee Wardlaw.  Henry Holt, 2011.
This story is told with a series of senryu, three unrhymed lines similar to haiku, but focusing on human nature.  A shelter cat is adopted.  He reveals a feisty yet vulnerable personality.  Warm, funny and well-crafted.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-5th grade


We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart.  Walter Dean Myers.  Collins, 2011.
These 14 short free verse poems pay tribute to events and people who have shaped our country:  Chief Tecumseh, Abraham Lincoln, Barbara Jordan, Jimi Hendrix, soldiers, immigrants from all over the world.  Myers incorporates text from our important documents as well as quotes from notable people.  Striking artwork helps to illuminate this thought provoking tribute.  Picture Book
Read-aloud 5th-8th grade


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