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On January 20, on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, Amanda Gorman managed to stir the hearts and minds of the nation through poetry. Joining the ranks of Robert Frost and Maya Angelou, the Inaugural Poets that came before her, this 22-year-old didn’t just offer hope to a divided country—she inspired a run on bookstores too.
With the national spotlight now shining bright on the world of poetry, it’s the perfect time to dive into a new collection with your little one. Through rhyme and wordplay, children’s poetry can be a treat to read at any age. But a good poem makes for more than just a fun read; it has real educational potential too. Katie McMiller, the founder of the creative writing non-profit 916 Ink, shared that poetry can be the key to unlocking a child’s imagination.
“Language is playful, it’s what makes our species incredible,” she said. “Young people know how to play, and teaching them the world of metaphors, symbols, and more is a joyful act of learning.”
Ready to inspire your child through rhyme and verse? Read on for nine children’s poetry collections that promise a memorable and thought-provoking experience.
A stunning entry into the world of traditional haiku, this award-winning collection features classic poems in Japanese, alongside their English translations. A thoughtful conversation prompt accompanies each poem, as well as dream-like illustrations.
Poetry for Young People
In this award-winning compilation, young readers will find some of Hughes' most beloved poems—each
lyrical, powerful, and infinitely recite-able. Here, in memorable verse, he reflects on Black America, freedom, and social justice in a format that's perfectly suited to little ones.
A natural fit for these high-anxiety times, Coombs' "Breathe and Be" aims to introduce young readers to mindfulness, through a series of simple, calming poems that engage the senses and ground kids in the here and now.
Perfect for any curious animal-lover, Hosford's poetry collection promises to lull little ones to sleep while leading them through the strange-but-true snoozing habits of animals around the world.
Award-winning poet Louise Greig invites little readers to stroll a quiet forest in this gorgeous, one-of-a-kind book. A work of art in itself, "A Walk Through the Woods" beckons kids with paper-cut illustrations that leap from the page.
Hopeful, uplifting, and tender: these are the poems compiled in this collection from the work of National Book Award winner Nikki Giovanni. A thoughtful and rainbow-colored read, "I Am Loved" is an altogether enticing, warm, and fun pick for kids.
Selected by Sylvia M. Vardell
Billed as a comprehensive poetry primer, "A World Full of Poems" covers every topic under the sun, from history to friendship, in easy and engaging rhyme.
What children's poetry list is complete without the beloved classics of Shel Silverstein? If you like your poems with a side of giggles, reach for these silly and strange musings from one of the greats.
Selected by Laurie Stansfield
Introduce your little book-lover to a host of new poets through "Poems Out Loud!" Meant to be fun, silly, and thought-provoking, this book covers a range of interests and includes an audio CD so kids can listen in and follow along.