17 Poetry Books for Kids
Today we’re talking about something many children (and adults) just can’t quite wrap their heads around, and that is poetry for children. If we really think about it, our first memory of reading is probably of a rhyming picture book that was read aloud by a parent. Just like comics and stories, poetry books for kids is just another form of literature that if introduced at an early age can encourage a child’s interest in reading.
Why Should Children Read Poetry?
One of the biggest reasons why young people should read books of poetry is because it helps you to master how to write, read and speak. Every little detail from the words, the rhythm, the nuances and grammar all play a huge role in conveying the poem’s message.
Cultivating an interest in reading and understanding poetry will help your child stay a step ahead of the curve. Taking apart the many facets of a poem calls for analytical thinking which automatically improves through reading poetry. Even simple poems read aloud by parents help children from a young age to challenge and understand what they’re reading.
The biggest benefit of poetry in our humble opinion is that it fine-tunes grammar skills. Poetry is all about grammar, and the more children read poetry the more they’ll be able to understand complicated forms of grammar. Structure, tense, alliteration, assonance etc. all have such a huge role to play in understanding, reading and writing poetry. If your child reads poetry books from a young age, comprehension of these grammatical concepts come more naturally.
Now that we’ve given you a taste as to why children should be reading poetry books, let’s get down to the 17 that we think are great ones, to begin with!
1. On the Wild Side by author Katie Bagli
This book of poetry revolves around animals in various situations. Poems about otters splashing around in rivers to owls chilling on window awnings, these animal-focused poems are a delight to read. If your children are young, you can read aloud to them at bedtime, as many of the poems have a story like quality that is perfect for getting them to sleep.
Read On The Wild Side HERE
2. Read Aloud Rhymes For the Very Young by author Jack Prelutsky
Image courtesy Penguin
When it comes to children’s rhymes and poems, Jack Prelutsky is a household name. ‘Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young’ is a collection of more than 200 poems written by popular twentieth-century poets, that have been selected by poet Jack himself. These poems revolve around any and every aspect of a child’s life from waking up to trying to sleep the whole night – poems that resonate with little minds and parents.
3. The Llama Who Had No Pajama by Mary Ann Hoberman
Image Courtesy Mary Ann Hoberman
This book of poems for children has over 100 poems on a variety of subjects, thus making it a great book to introduce poetry. Parents can read aloud poems about people, childhood dramas, concepts of time and animals amongst other themes. The poems are further enhanced by beautifully illustrated pictures, that makes it easier for first-time poetry readers to comprehend their messages.
4. The Zoo Around You by author Katie Bagli and Medha Rajadhyaksha
There are so many creatures around us, but just how much do we know about them? Well, the poems in this book shed some light on the many zoos around us – from the garden zoo to even the book zoo! There are so many animals that we coexist with on this lovely planet and this book of children’s poems is a great way to learn about them.
Read The Zoo around Us HERE
5. Revolting Rhymes by author Roald Dahl
Image courtesy Penguin
No book list of poems is complete without ‘Revolting Rhymes’ by Roald Dahl. This book was first publishing back in 1982 and it has been a hit with parents and kids ever since. The poems or verses are a parody on traditional folk tales, which makes it really fun for children to read. If your kids like fairy tales, well, the re-interpreted poems of six well-known fairy tales with surprise endings will surely entertain them!
6. Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown by author Malathi Iyengar
Image courtesy Lean and Low
When a multicultural landscape combines with the art of poetry and illustrations, you can bet it’s going to be a beautiful book to read. Malathi Iyengar’s Tan To Tamarind: Poems About the Colour Brown is a collection of poems that celebrates many unique memories focused around shades of brown. Poems about henna on hands and feet at an Indian wedding or sipping on a cup of cafe con leche – the imagery of these poems are a treat for children and parents!
7. Science Verse by author Jon Scieszka
Image courtesy Scholastic
Once your young readers have gotten into the habit of reading poetry you might want to change things up by introducing them to this book of poetry. They can learn about the fun side of science through Jon Scieszka’s ‘Science Verse.’ Your child will be laughing out loud with these poems on everything from food chains, amoebas, viruses and even a black hole!
8. Poetry for Young People: Emily Dickinson By Emily Dickinson
Image courtesy Sterling
Emily Dickinson wrote many poems in her lifetime and 36 of them have been curated for children in this book. Along with every poem, there is a glossary of some of the poem’s words which makes it really easy for children who are still trying to understand poetry. This classic book of poems is one that you must have on your bookshelf.
9. The Cat In The Hat by author Dr Seuss
Image courtesy Harper Collins
When we think of the world of rhyming and poetry, it’s hard not to think of Dr Seuss and his many entertaining books. The Cat In The Hat is a classic and has captivated young readers for centuries. Read aloud with actions and sounds to make this introduction to poetry all the more fun for your child. Once they get the hang of Dr Seuss, we’re sure they’re going to want to read all the others, so get ready to load up on all his books – they’re addictive!
10. When We Were Very Young by author AA Milne
Image courtesy Penguin
AA Milne is not only known for our beloved Winnie the Pooh, but his poems have touched the lives of readers for over 90 years. When We Were Very Young is a collection of poems that transport you to Milne’s enchanting make-believe world that you don’t want to leave. Interesting fact, this book was written two years before Winnie the Pooh and there is a nod to him in this book of poems.
11. Mongal Stole Pongal by author Abhi Krish
The entire story in this book is told through rhyming verses! Mongal is a bit of a trouble maker and has stolen the sun. It’s time for the harvest festival Pongal, which revolves around the sun. The people in the village need Mongal to give back the sun so they can celebrate. Will Mongal help?
Read Mongal Stole Pongal HERE
12. Malu Bhalu by author Kamla Bhasin
Little Malu, the polar bear, is an explorer at heart, but her parents don’t allow her to go too far. One day though, Malu decides to stray away from her family in search of more adventure, that’s when she gets lost! Will her parents find her? The simple rhyming text with charming illustrations makes this an ideal book to introduce poetry to young readers who have never experienced it before.
Read Malu Bhalu HERE
13. Gul in Space by author Richa Jha
If your little ones are fascinated by outer space, then this rhyming book will surely captivate them. It’s Gul’s birthday and all she can think about is the exploration of the universe – she dreams of seeing the sun, moon and stars. Easy rhymes and beautiful illustrations make this an excellent bedtime storybook that can also introduce poetry into your child’s life.
Read Gul in Space HERE
14. Tara’s Elephant by author CG Salamander
It has a TRUNK! It has a TAIL! It has a sign that says FOR SALE! Ohh, sounds interesting doesn’t it? This rhyming book is all about the friendship between Tara and her elephant, an unlikely pair whose story will surely steal your heart!
Read Tara’s Elephant HERE
15. The Big Bad Bull by author Karishma Mahbubani
Here’s a lovely rhyming story about a bully in the shape of an actual bull – He is nasty. He is mean. He’s the biggest bull you’ve ever seen! Azgul makes life on the farm quite unpleasant for the other residents, that is until one little bird devises a clever plan to exact some just revenge.
Read The Bigs Bad Bull HERE
16. Frank Goes to the Market by author CG Salamander
Only beautiful illustrations and rhyming text can soften the central theme of this book, which is about getting lost. Frank goes to the market with his mother only to get distracted by the hustle and bustle of things happening around him. Will his mother find him? You’ll have to read on to find out!
Read Frank Goes to the Market HERE
17. Sit Still by author Karishma Mahbubani
Viji is a lively little tot and she can’t help but keep moving – what to do, she has all this energy! However, everyone keeps telling her to sit still! Can she control her restlessness? Well, find out in this lovely rhyming book!
Read Sit Still HERE
18 Everything On It by author Shel Silverstein
Image Courtesy Shel Silverstein
If your child is ready to move on from nursery rhymes to short poems then this next book might be for you. Popular children’s poet Shel Silverstein has written many mind-bending poems for kids that are just as entertaining for us adults who read them. ‘Everything On It’ is a collection of never-before-published poems and illustrations from Shel Silverstein. From toilet trolls to unusual horns, these poems will tickle the mind and the heart!
19 Mirror Mirror by author Marilyn Singer
Image Courtesy Marilyn Singer
Marilyn Singer is an award-winning author of many children’s books but we most love her reverse poetry books – in particular, the book Mirror Mirror. All the short poems in this book can be read in two ways – up and down. Along with beautiful illustrations, this book of reverso poems will amuse and challenge all who read them. Definitely a book to add to your kid’s poetry collection.
That’s All Folks!
We’re so excited for you and your children as you embark on this journey of children’s poems. These books are a great starting place and will help ease your children into reading poetry. Once they get hooked onto rhymes, verses and maybe even the iambic pentameter – they can then start to write poetry! Wouldn’t that be the most exciting thing for a book-loving parent!? Here’s hoping!
If children’s poetry is still a long way off for your young readers, how about starting them on some incredible Indian children’s books? We have over 100+ books in our online library that children of all reading levels can enjoy. So head to GetLitt! Today and subscribe!
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