Sunday, July 1, 2012

Poetry and children

I wrote a post a while ago about poetry for children, and specifically discussed some of my favorite books for teaching poetry to kids (read it HERE). This time, I want to share with you some of my favorite poetry collections for children, as well as our favorite ways to enjoy poetry.

First up are two classics: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children,edited by Jack Prelutsky and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, and A Children's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Before moving from California to New York, we lived with my mom.  Often after dinner, we would sit at the kitchen table and take turns reading poems from these two books out loud.  It was a great way for my son and his grandmother to bond since they didn't always get along, in addition to just being a nice way for the three of us to spend some time together.

Of course, no post on poetry for children would be complete without the works of Shel Silverstein - Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Giving Tree, A Light in the Attic, and more!  I can't think of a single person in my inner circle of friends and family that wasn't in love with Shel Silverstein's books as a kid. And for most of us, that love continues into our adult lives.  My son also still loves these books.
In our family, we usually read these curled up under blankets together at bedtime.  However, for the more silly poems, it is great to take turns with one person reading a poem aloud as the other acts it out, then swap.  A sure way to get a case of giggles!

One of my favorite poets is Ted Hughes.  Most people familiar with Hughes through his poetry collections that are more appropriate for adults (Birthday Letters or The Hawk in the Rain), or are familiar with Hughes as the ex-husband of poet Sylvia Plath.  However, he wrote many collections of poetry for children.  My favorite is Collected Poems for Children by Ted Hughes.
And, for children just learning to write, and struggling with punctuation, consider Punctuation Celebration by Elsa Knight Bruno.  This is a cute collection of poems about the proper use of various punctuation marks.

And, a few more that my son enjoyed as a younger child (and still enjoys as a teen, although you won't get him to admit it!).  In addition to most of these being hilarious, the illustrations in some are also amazing.  Check out:
Giant Children by Brod Bagert and Tedd Arnold
The Dragons Are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky
For Laughing Out Loud edited by Jack Prelutsky
Vile Verses and Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Science Verse by Jon Scieszka
I hope you find some new titles in my list, and that you and your family will read together today.  Even when your kids are teenagers, or young adults, keep reading aloud together.  No one is ever too old for a good read along!  Or, set aside an afternoon for what my son calls "Read-a-Palooza".  Pile a bunch of books on the floor, grab pillows and blankets and snuggle all together.  Then spend the afternoon reading either silently, but still next to each other, or take turns reading aloud, or go in bursts of silent and out loud. Reading is a great family bonding activity.
Please note: All titles are linked to for easy ordering, but of course check out your local library or favorite book retailer for these books.


  1. These are great resources. Thanks, M & J!

  2. Great books! Thanks so much :) I love Shel Silverstein's books

  3. Oh, I am excited about that Punctuation Celebration book! I teach writing to homeschoolers and this could be a lot of fun!

  4. My youngest is a poetry nut! He reads and writes poetry. I think it was his way of being different from the rest of us but still including us.

  5. I will have to check some of those out! Thanks!


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