Wednesday, April 1, 2015

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 your local library to help you and the child in your life celebrate poetry during the month of April. Here are a few of my favorite poetry books to get you started!

Janeczko, Paul B., and Christopher Raschka. A Kick in the Head: an Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. Cambridge, Mass.: Candlewick Press, 2005.

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.

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.

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.

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