Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft. This is a great time to introduce children of all ages to the power of poetry and show them how fun creative writing can be. Whether you’re a teacher or a parent/guardian, you’ll find several poetry books at the Naperville Public Library to help you and the child in your life celebrate poetry during the month of April. Here are a few fun poetry books to get you started!
Lobel, Arnold. (1983). The Book of Pigericks. New York: Harper & Row Publishers.
This charming book consists of many funny limericks ("pigericks") alongside amusing illustrations depicting the funny scenes in the poems. The book begins with a limerick of "an old pig with a pen, who wrote stories and verse now and then..." and ends with the same mustached pig who "...sat quietly with his comfortable cat... while he rested his brushes and pen." Some of the poems and illustrations also include pigs with long necks, a pig with 16 coats on, and even a pig nightly slumbered with eggs on his head. Despite this book being 30 years old, Lobel's limericks are sure to amuse children and adults of all ages in 2014.
A Kick in the Head is a fun collection of poems written in several different forms selected by Paul Janeczko. After reading this book, young readers will be surprised to learn that there are so many different forms of poetry in the world! Each poem in the book has a short description of what the form entails, providing readers with the chance to gain insight into the art form known as poetry. The illustrations in blue, red, yellow, and green are very inviting and also help bring the fun poems to life. Best suited for children grades 3-8.
Sidman, Joyce, and Rick Allen. Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night. Boston, Mass.: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010.
This is a beautiful book of poetry by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Rick Allen, and is best suited for children grades 3-8. The eloquent poems contained in this book describe the magic of nocturnal animals while detailing the fascinating sights seen in nature at night. In addition to the poems, the book provides a wealth of factual information regarding the scene described in the poem, such as facts about the world of mushrooms. The illustrations, made by a process of relief printing, result in beautiful multicolored illustrations that exceptionally complement the theme of nocturnal animals. Overall the book is well written, designed, and organized while being very aesthetically pleasing.
Milne, A. A. (1961). When We Were Very Young. New York: Dutton.
Written for A. A. Milne’s son Christopher Robin, this collection of 44 poems covers an array of topics in a cheerful and upbeat manner that both children and adults would enjoy. From friends and animals to kings and queens, whatever the topic, Milne finds ways to incorporate such themes throughout the collection while adding charm and humor to them. The poems have great rhymes and rhythms and are each accompanied by black and white illustrations that bring the poems to life. When We Were Very Young is best suited for children Grades 2-4, but can be enjoyed by anyone.
Florian, Douglas. (2004). Omnibeasts: Animal Poems and Paintings. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, Inc.
This beautifully illustrated collection contains engaging animal poems with great pace, rhyme, rhythm, and physical presence on the page. For example, the poem about the anteater has a structure that reflects the animal’s long nose, while the one about the porcupine gives the impression of its arched back and prickly spine. It is an indispensable item for any poetry collection, as many children go through an obsessive animal phase. Perfect for children grades 1-3.