Saturday, July 28, 2012

Books of Poetry - For Teachers Not Sure Where to Start

Pssst!  Come closer and I will let you in on a secret...poetry completely baffles me.  I know.  I am an educator.  I am supposed to teach this stuff, and maybe even like it.  To be honest, I have had to work at it.  I have to thank my friends like Paul Hankins and Donalyn Miller and John Schumacher for getting me to even crack open a poetry book.  

Guess what?!  Some of those books of poetry aren't so bad.   I have even recommended some books of poetry that I have found to those same friends.  I am learning and growing which means you can too if you think you might not like poetry.

I don't review many books of poetry on the blog.  I sound kind of weird just writing "Read this. I liked it." So, instead, I am sharing my top 10 books of poetry for children that are kid friendly and could be used by teachers to have some fun with poetry in the classroom. And I can say confidently - Read these!  You'll like them. (Please note, these are not in any kind of order...I really like them all.)

Mirror, Mirror! by Marilyn Singer, Illustrated by Josee Masse - This one is really my all time favorite.  I am in awe of Singer's skills at writing these reversible poems. If you haven't seen this one, it is a must read.

Roots and Blues: A Celebration by Arnold Adoff; Ilustrated by R. Gregory Christie - This book of poetry has a jazz feel that just drips off the pages. 

My People by Langston Hughes; Photographs by Charles R. Smith, Jr. - This was one of the poems that hooked me into Langston Hughes' poems. 

Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw; Illustrated by Eugene Yelchin - I love this book.  Even 18 months after it's release, I still remember and like this one.

Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed From a Single Word by Bob Raczka; Illustrated by Nancy Doninger - This one and Singer's Mirror, Mirror! are two must owns (in my opinion) for teachers. 

Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems by Kristine O'Connell George; Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter - Maybe I appreciate this one because I am a big sister, but I love how this collection of poems tell a story.

Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts About Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines - Yes, I just really like this collection of poems. 

A Meal of the Stars: Poems Up and Down by Dana Jensen; Illustrated by Tricia Tusa - Another one that can challenge children to have fun with poetry.

Mother Poems by Hope Anita Smith - This is just a beautiful volume of poetry and the torn paper art is fantastic and Smith is funny in person (though grab a tissue when reading this one).  Aren't those reasons enough to read it?

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech- Though this is really a novel in verse, I had to add this book to the list.  I learned a lot about poetry from this small book.  

What poetry books would be on your list?


  1. Fantastic list of poetry books! I love The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt/Tony diTerlizzi and Technically It's Not My Fault by John Grandits and many others... Feeling inspired by your list!

    1. I love DiTerlizzi's illustrated version of The Spider and the Fly too. Need to look for the other one you mentioned.

  2. Replies
    1. It was hard just keeping it to 10. I could have a list of just Joyce Sidman's poetry.

  3. Replies
    1. It wouldn't be complete without you Sharon. :-)

  4. Wow, Alyson...I'm honored and Emma is fluffing her purple boa!

    1. Kristine - My honor to know you and to include your work.