Launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996, National Poetry Month reminds the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K–12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, families, and, of course, poets, marking poetry’s important place in our lives.
Our Youth Services Department put together a wide selection of diverse books, from a range of voices and on a range of topics, to help introduce kids and teens to the world of poetry!
All of the titles featured here we have in our collection. To see if an item is available to check out or place on hold, click the cover image or button to the right of the description.
Out of Wonder
by Kwame Alexander — ALL AGES
Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder. Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award-winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.
And the People Stayed Home
by Kitty O'Meara — ALL AGES
Kitty O’Meara has been called the ‘poet laureate of the pandemic’ by O, The Oprah Magazine. This illustrated and beautifully produced children’s book will also appeal to readers of all ages. O’Meara’s prose poem, with its hopeful and timeless message about healing of people and the Earth, written in March 2020, quickly went viral on a global level. O’Meara, a former teacher and chaplain, clearly captured an important aspect of the pandemic experience’s zeitgeist while offering a thoughtful and optimistic view of the future.
The Village Blacksmith
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow — ALL AGES
The neighborhood blacksmith is a quiet and unassuming presence, tucked in his smithy under the chestnut tree. Sturdy, generous, and with sadness of his own, he toils through the day, passing on the tools of his trade, and come evening, takes a well-deserved rest. Longfellow’s timeless poem is enhanced by G. Brian Karas’s thoughtful and contemporary art in this modern retelling of the tender tale of a humble craftsman. An afterword about the tools and the trade of blacksmithing will draw readers curious about this age-honored endeavor, which has seen renewed interest in developed countries and continues to be plied around the world.
Where the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein — ALL AGES
A boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale are only two of the characters in a collection of humorous poetry illustrated with the author’s own drawings. Come in – for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.
by Jon J. Muth — ALL AGES
“Michael,” said Karl. “There’s a really big bear in the backyard.” This is how three children meet Stillwater, a giant panda who moves into the neighborhood and tells amazing tales. To Addy he tells a story about the value of material goods. To Michael he pushes the boundaries of good and bad. And to Karl he demonstrates what it means to hold on to frustration. With graceful art and simple stories that are filled with love and enlightenment, Jon Muth — and Stillwater the bear — present three ancient Zen tales that are sure to strike a chord in everyone they touch.
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers — ALL AGES
Through songs, puppets, and honest conversations, Mister Rogers instilled the values of kindness, patience, self-awareness, and self-esteem in his young viewers. But most of all, he taught children that they were loved, just by being who they were. With classics such as “It’s You I Like” and “Many Ways to Say I Love You” as well as dozens of others that range from funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the 75 songs in this collection deal with such universal topics as difficult feelings, new siblings, everyday routines, imagination, and more. Perfect for bedtime, sing-along, or quiet time alone, this beautiful book of meaningful poetry is the perfect gift for every child-including the child in every one of us.
Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry — ALL AGES
A collection of poems for children with the various themes of self, family, going outside, and when it is time for bed. This exuberant celebration of poetry is an essential book for every young one’s library and a gorgeous gift to be both shared and treasured. Sit back and savor a superb collection of more than sixty poems by a wide range of talented writers, from Margaret Wise Brown to Gertrude Stein, Langston Hughes to A. A. Milne. Greeting the morning, enjoying the adventures of the day, cuddling up to a cozy bedtime – these are poems that highlight the moments of a toddler’s world from dawn to dusk.
'Twas the Night Before Christmas on Sesame Street
by Lillian Jaine — ALL AGES
It’s the night before Christmas, and Cookie Monster is dozing peacefully, until a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer land on Sesame Street. Cookie Monster is delighted to have a visit from Santa, but there’s just one problem, he’s already eaten all of Santa’s cookies! Luckily, Elmo and the rest of the Sesame Street friends are ready to help! Includes reading tips for parents and guided prompts to help extend story time and make reading together a more interactive experience.
Writing a Poem
by Cecilia Minden and Kate Roth — SCHOOL AGE
Writing is an important skill that kids use almost every day. The goal of the Write it Right series is to make kids writing experts. Writing a Poem is full of tips and tricks to help kids channel their creativity, from distinguishing rhyme from rhythm to organizing stanzas.
Write Your Own Haiku for Kids
by Patricia Donegan — SCHOOL AGE
In this fun Japanese children’s book, kids will learn to create haiku– elegant and simplistic Japanese poems. Haiku is a uniquely Japanese form of poetry that uses vivid words and imagery to capture a feeling or a moment in just three lines. Short but powerful, haiku poems are easy and fun to write and share with your friends. Haiku has become increasingly popular in school curriculums around the world, particularly among teachers introducing students to the art of poetry as well as Asian history and heritage. The activities in this haiku-for-kids book will show you how to create haiku and will help you to think up meaningful words and images with which you can write beautiful poetry.
Punching the Air
by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam — TEENS
From award-winning, bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam of the Exonerated Five comes a powerful YA novel in verse about a boy who is wrongfully incarcerated. With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth, in a system designed to strip him of both.
Shout: A Poetry Memoir
by Laurie Halse Anderson —TEENS
Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now, inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #MeToo and #TimesUp, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice– and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.
by Ellen Hopkins — TEENS
Kristina Georgia Snow is the perfect daughter, gifted high school junior, quiet, never any trouble. But on a trip to visit her absentee father, Kristina disappears and Bree takes her place. Bree is the exact opposite of Kristina. Through a boy, Bree meets the monster: crank. And what begins as a wild ecstatic ride turns into a struggle through hell for her mind, her soul – her life.
For Every One
by Jason Reynolds —TEENS
Originally performed at the Kennedy Center for the unveiling of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and later as a tribute to Walter Dean Myers, this stirring and inspirational poem is New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the young dreamers of the world.
For Every One is just that: for every one. For every one person. For every one dream. But especially for every one kid. The kids who dream of being better than they are. Kids who dream of doing more than they almost dare to dream. Kids who are like Jason Reynolds, a self-professed dreamer. Jason does not claim to know how to make dreams come true; he has, in fact, been fighting on the front line of his own battle to make his own dreams a reality. He expected to make it when he was sixteen. Then eighteen. Then twenty-five. Now, some of those expectations have been realized. But others, the most important ones, lay ahead, and a lot of them involve kids, how to inspire them. All the kids who are scared to dream, or don’t know how to dream, or don’t dare to dream because they’ve NEVER seen a dream come true. Jason wants kids to know that dreams take time. They involve countless struggles. But no matter how many times a dreamer gets beat down, the drive and the passion and the hope never fully extinguish—because just having the dream is the start you need, or you won’t get anywhere anyway, and that is when you have to take a leap of faith.