When most people think of poetry for kids, Shel Silverstein often comes to mind, and rightly so since his poems are a silly and delightful right-of-passage for any child. April, being National Poetry Month, offers the perfect time to take a look at the variety and scope of poetry for children beyond the Silverstein collections. We’ll be taking a look at classics, rhymes, meter, and novels in verse. Today, we feature books that are favorites of BookKids staff.
Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs, illustrated by Meilo So
This is an amazingly beautiful collection of poems that are all ocean-related. The poems are fun and perfectly capture the romance and allure of the sea. Each page is exquisitely illustrated in sea-glass hues and blue watercolors that depict the motion of the waves.
The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright
This is the classic Mother Goose collection with the very best illustrations! My son had it, I had it, my mother had it . . . The quintessential Mother Goose – every kid should have it!
Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes collected by Elizabeth Hammill, by illustrated by 77 different illustrators
This is an excellent, global-minded collection of nursery rhymes, each one illustrated by a different artist. The variety of the rhymes goes well-beyond the familiar, and incorporates favorites from other cultures and countries. A wonderful keepsake for any youngster’s library.
Rutherford B., Who Was He?: Poems About Our Presidents by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by John Hendrix
There is in this country no greater call
than to serve in our nation’s highest hall.
This book is about the men
who were meant to be this country’s president.
From Washington who served us first,
to Harding who arguably served us worst.
In 226 years, 43 men have served.
Some good, some bad,
a few better than we’ve deserved.
The office of President deserves our great respect
and this poetical tome gives us a chance to reflect
in beautifully written rhyming lines
those the people would elect sometimes
perhaps with little thought
other times with great intent
to serve as our nation’s president.
Should You Be a River: A Poem about Love by Ed Young
This is a book for anyone who has ever loved someone. Ed Young wrote this love letter poem after his wife passed away and he became a single father to his two daughters. It’s not a sad poem. It’s a beautiful, tender, poem about love – the love of a parent, a child, a sibling, a partner – all kinds of love. The art is different and almost abstract. Made of collage of paper and nature photographs, the images have depth and so much texture that it looks like one should be able to feel them on the page. The poem is written in Chinese on the front end paper and in its entirety in English at the end. Seems like this poem could be recited at weddings, funerals, christenings, and other celebrations of love and life.