As teachers, we know that introducing children to the world of poetry can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only can poetry help young readers express themselves and understand their emotions, but they get to realize that many of us share the same feelings and find the same things funny, too. Poetry also provides our students with an opportunity to discover poetic devices, word play, and humorous language — concepts they might not have been exposed to yet.
But how do you choose the best poetry books for your students? Yes, we want them to develop a love of poetry, but how? I’ve done the research for you! These are poems that I’ve loved and used countless times and they go back over 15 years!
So, take a look at this collection of some of my favorite books of poetry. Make a list, and head over to your media center or Amazon! Grab a book today and get ready to explore the magical world of poetry with your favorite little learners! Together you can create lifelong memories as they discover new WORDS, new WORLDS, and new concepts through these wonderful poems, written just for young people!
Children's Poetry Books
If you’re looking to introduce young children to the world of poetry, look no further than Kristine O’Connell George! Her collection of favorite poetry books for kids is perfect for teaching and inspiring. Whether it’s a poem about caterpillars or pirates, there’s something in her library for every child.
Who knows – maybe even you will remember them fondly when they’re grown up too!
So what are you waiting for? Let’s start reading and exploring!
Children's Poetry Book #1: Old Elm Speaks
Old Elm Speaks. Wow…this book is a powerful tool for teaching poetry to kindergarten and first grade students!
Old Elm Speaks is written by Kristine O’Connell George, one of my favorite poets! This collection of poetry is filled with beautiful imagery and powerful messages that are perfect for teaching young learners. Old Elm Speaks will inspire your students to think, create, and maybe even explore their own original poem.
You can use Old Elm Speaks as a teaching resource that covers themes such as nature, animals, family, imagination and friendship. Students will be captivated by the vivid illustrations and beautiful rhythms of the poems. Plus, you’ll find teaching tips throughout the book to help your students create their own poems. Yes, we want our students to become young poets too!
Old Elm Speaks is a must-have teaching resource for kindergarten and first grade teachers. It’s an incredibly powerful teaching tool that will help your students grow in both creativity and knowledge. Get ready to be inspired! Your students are sure to love Old Elm Speaks as much as you do.
Children's Poetry Book #2: Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems
This collection of 30 delightful poems is another favorite written by Kristine O’Connell George. Whether your kids can relate to camping or not, this book of poems, and the gorgeous illustrations, will inspire them in so many ways! captures all the warmth and nostalgia of summer, from first trips to the beach to backyard barbecues. With its light-hearted look at childhood memories and experiences, this collection is sure to bring a smile to your face and a sparkle in your eye! From charming descriptions of s’mores, frogs, and bicycles to treats like ice cream and lemonade stands, Toasting Marshmallows offers up a delightful glimpse into the joys of childhood summers. With its inviting imagery and thoughtful descriptions, this book will make you feel as if you’re right there with the characters on their summer adventures.
Children's Poetry Book #3: The Great Frog Race
Oh my–your kids will absolutely LOVE it when they read about a garden hose that has dreams! The Great Frog Race is another favorite by Kristine O’Connell George. This is a collection of 28 poems with beautiful (and relatable) illustrations. Each little poem is just so sweet!
The Great Frog Race is filled with delightful rhymes and whimsical illustrations that the whole class will enjoy. It’s a fantastic way to show your kindergarten students how rhymes work
The lyrical poems teach the importance of teamwork, the value of determination and the power of kindness. They also create an engaging story that’s so much fun to read aloud. It’s a great book that’s sure to be a hit with the young readers in your class!
Children's Poetry Book #4: Least Things
When you’re ready to introduce your students to haikus, the book Least Things by Jane Yolen is a great way to give them examples of these simple poems. This collection of poems in a small little book is perfect to add to your collection of lessons and ideas for Earth Day activities!
Jane Yolen’s Least Things is a collection of poems that transports young readers into a world of discovery and imagination through its charming animal characters. In one poem, a frog teaches his young ones that life is full of small but meaningful moments – the least things. In another, a clever sparrow wants to see beyond the limits of his tree branch and take flight into the unknown.
With its accessible language and engaging stories, and gorgeous photos, the Least Things is an ideal book for teaching children about haikus, and poetry in general. Young people are usually quite intrigued by the idea of animals having advanced thoughts. This poetry collection will inspire them to explore even more creative ideas with poetry writing!
Children's Poetry Book #5: Zoo's Who
Another favorite collection of poems for teaching poetry to kindergarteners is Zoo’s Who by Douglas Florian. This is a beautiful book of delightful poems and gorgeous watercolor illustrations, (the author is also an artist!) Florian amuses his young readers with clever rhymes and portrays zany zoo animals in humorous situations.
From the zebra, with his zig-zag stripes, to the giraffe zig-zagging his neck, Zoo’s Who is bound to capture the imagination of children (and their teachers). With creative alliterations and tongue-in-cheek humor, Zoo’s Who will have your kindergarteners laughing and learning about poetry at the same time. It’s a fantastic way to spark an interest in poetry, which can sometimes be daunting to tackle with young children.
Children's Poetry Book #6: Poetrees
Also by Douglas Florian, Poetrees, is a collection of 18 entertaining poems about, you guessed it, TREES! Kids will be engaged by the vertical formation and fun illustrations of the poems in this funny and favorite book of poems for young readers!
Children's Poetry Book #7: Silver Seeds
Silver Seeds by Paolli and Brewer, is another beloved collection of poems. Children enjoy it because it asks the question that kids love: Is everything we see really just as it seems? Are the stars really stars? What about the falling leaves?
The little book is full of beautiful imagery, deep thoughts, and inspiring words that will lift your spirit and your young readers’ as well. Silver Seeds addresses the beauty of nature, the power of community, and the importance of perseverance. Each poem serves as a reminder that, even in bad times, there is always hope.
This book is also a great way to introduce young readers to acrostic poems!
The Poetry of Shel Silverstein
If you are looking for kindergarten poetry that stands the test of time, then look no further than Shel Silverstein’s poems. Everyone I know, whether it’s teachers, kids, or just regular ol’ human beings, loves Shel Silverstein books! They are so much fun to teach poetry with because kids love the hilarious poems and the word play! Bonus: They are great as poetry picture books as well! Let’s take a look at 3 of my favorites!
From “Where the Sidewalk Ends” to “The Giving Tree,” to “A Light int the Attic” these books offer a unique perspective on the natural world, life, humor, and even friendship. Silverstein’s classic and humorous poems will inspire children of all ages. His books will bring joy, laughter, and a love of poetry into your homeschool or kindergarten class!
Children's Poetry Book #8: A Light in the Attic
Who are the crazy character that live in the attic? Kids love this iconic book that makes them laugh out loud! Generations of children have loved this book, perhaps even more than their favorite nursery rhymes! Shel Silverstein, with his hilarious way of looking at life, has a way of appealing to both kindergarten students, and older children too. He has a talent for writing poems with a unique blend of humor, imagination, and thought-provoking messages.
Children's Poetry Book #9: Where the Sidewalk Ends
This has also been another favorite of mine for many years. Since 1974, kids have loved this book! Silverstein appeals to kids because he writes about their common thoughts and fears. “Why do I have to take the garbage out, or go the dentist?” In a uniquely funny manner, and using silly poems, Silverstein addresses kids struggles in a way that easily engages young minds!
Children's Poetry Book #10: Edgar Allan Poe's Pie
If you’re looking for kindergarten poetry that’s as fun as it is educational, then look no further than J. Patrick Lewis’ math puzzle poem book, called Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems.These delightful and clever poems combine mathematics with rhyme and rhythm to make learning math enjoyable. Lewis uses classic poems, such as Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven” and Langston Hughes’s “April Rain Song” and mixes them with math and puzzles. Young children will have a good time solving the puzzle and learning about poetry and math!
Whether your kindergarten student needs help with basic addition or more complex equations, these poems will get them engaged with math in a creative and fun way. Kids will love the challenge of uncovering the solution to each poem, and parents can rest assured that their children are learning essential skills for kindergarten success. Edgar Allan Poe’s Pie: Math Puzzlers in Classic Poems will definitely get your kindergarteners excited about math!
Children's Poetry Book #11: Poetry for Kids by Robert Frost
Yes, Robert Frost’s poems are a great fit for kindergarten students! Younger readers love the vivid imagery and inspiring stories found in his poetry. The illustrations in this edition make it a great read-aloud! that gave them something to relate to. My kindergarten classrooms always had a copy of Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” hanging prominently in the classroom, and I would often read it aloud to my students. It would mesmerize them with its peaceful imagery of nature and they would take turns reading it out loud.
Children's Poetry Book #12: The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury
“The 20th Century Children’s Poetry Treasury” edited by Jack Prelutsky This huge book is a classic that your own kindergarten might have had on the shelf and read to your class! This kettle-bell weighted anthology contains over 250 poems from some of the most renowned children’s poets of the twentieth century. Some of the classics are from Aileen Fisher, Karla Kuskin, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Each poem is accompanied by colorful illustrations that bring the words to life on each page. This book is perfect for introducing kindergarteners to a variety of different authors and styles of poetry.
Choosing Poetry for Your Class
When selecting poetry books for children, it’s important to choose books from a variety of writers that cover a large range of topics. This will help ensure that all your students can find something they enjoy. I also share some of my original poetry with students!