19 Books for National Poetry Month

Books of poems perfect for kids of all ages and reading levels

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April is National Poetry Month! From haiku to limericks and nonsense rhymes to story poems, introduce your kids to the fun-filled poetry in these books.
19 Books for National Poetry Month


1. Boom! Bellow! Bleat!

Written by: Georgia Heard

Illustrated by: Aaron DeWitt

Ages 59

This playful collection of poems—peppered with an astounding variety of animal sounds—is meant to be read aloud together and is an ideal collection for parents and children to share, or for a fun, interactive classroom read-aloud. Laced with humor, the poems are a delight to read aloud and cover all major classes of animals: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, and even a crustacean!

2. In the Middle of the Night

Written by: Laura Purdie Salas

Illustrated by: Angela Matteson

Ages 48

What do the things in your home do when you're asleep? They play, of course! In this compendium of poems by Laura Purdie Salas, everything from stuffed animals to clothing to writing utensils comes to life under the cover of night. Accompanied by Angela Matteson's beautiful acrylic-on-wood illustrations, this book will spark young readers' imaginations and is a perfect choice for bedtime reading.

3. I'm the Big One Now!

Written by: Marilyn Singer

Illustrated by: Jana Christy

Ages 48

A perfect gift for a new big brother or big sister, this collection of 21 poems celebrates growing up and milestones both large and small in a young person's life, such as learning how to whistle, riding the school bus alone, and becoming an older sibling.

4. School People

Written by: Lee Bennett Hopkins

Illustrated by: Ellen Shi

Ages 58

Award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins presents 15 never-before-published poems celebrating the wonderful, caring people children encounter during the course of a school day. Each poem features the people who inspire, encourage, and help children in their own unique ways. This marvelous compendium, with its heartfelt and thoughtful perspective, is the perfect back-to-school book.

5. Read! Read! Read!

Written by: Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Illustrated by: Ryan O'Rourke

Ages 510

Twenty-three poems capture the joys of reading from that thrilling moment when a child first learns to decipher words to the excitement that follows in reading everything from road signs to field guides to internet articles to stories. These poems also explore what reading does, lyrically celebrating how it opens minds, can make you kind, and allows you to explore the whole world. Ryan O’Rourke’s rich artwork beautifully captures the imagination and playfulness in these poems.

6. A Bunch of Punctuation

Written by: Lee Bennett Hopkins 

Illustrated by: Serge Bloch

Ages 7+

In this land of punctuation, the exclamation mark is a superhero who tells a story chock-full of bops and bams, the comma lets you pause to enjoy the weather, and the period is where you must come to a full stop—or else the Grammar Police will get you. With humor and imagination, award-winning poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins takes a universal topic and makes it accessible, fun, and inviting for kids.

7. Crawly School for Bugs

Written by: David L. Harrison

Illustrated by: Julie Bayless

Ages 59

Here is a winning combination for poetry fans and bug enthusiasts alike. Termites, stinkbugs, gnats, and more insects galore attend the Crawly School for Bugs, where a mosquito nurse always wants to draw blood, noisy crickets take classes in “How to Be Annoying,” and the Golden Rule is “never eat a friend at school.” Julie Bayless’s delightful illustrations hilariously portray these buzzy students and provide the perfect match for the clever, funny poems.


8. Keep a Pocket in Your Poem

Written by: J. Patrick Lewis

Illustrated by: Johanna Wright

Ages 510

Thirteen classic poems by poets such as Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Emily Dickinson, and David McCord are paired with parodies written by J. Patrick Lewis that honor and play off of the original poems in a range of ways. This playful introduction to classics will inspire imagination and wonder even as it tickles funny bones. 

9. A Mirror to Nature

Written by: Jane Yolen

Photographed by: Jason Stemple

Ages 912

Water possesses reflective qualities, creating fascinating patterns and doubled images that allow us to see things in new ways. Celebrated writer Jane Yolen and photographer Jason Stemple capture these natural beauties in 12 thoughtful poems and breathtaking pictures. This artistic collaboration gives readers a unique opportunity to contemplate their world. 

10. Thunder Underground

Written by: Jane Yolen

Illustrated by: Josée Masse

Ages 510

In this collection, noted children’s poet Jane Yolen takes readers on an expedition underground, exploring everything from animal burrows and human creations, like subways, near the surface—to ancient cities and fossils, lower down—to caves, magma, and Earth’s tectonic plates, deeper still below our feet. This book contains science, poetry, and an adventure story all rolled into one. This thought-provoking collection will evoke a sense of wonder and awe in readers as they discover the mysterious world underneath us.

11. Garvey's Choice

Written by: Nikki Grimes

Ages 812

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey’s life changes. Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.

12. Words with Wings

Written by: Nikki Grimes

Ages 8+

Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, of friendship, of one girl’s indomitable spirit, and of a teacher’s ability to reach out and change a life.

13. Catching a Storyfish

Written by: Janice N. Harrington

Ages 812

This lyrical and deeply emotional novel in verse celebrates the power of story and of finding one’s individual voice.

14. Fresh Delicious

Written by: Irene Latham

Illustrated by: Mique Moriuchi

Ages 48

Take a memorable trip to the farmers’ market in this playful collection of 21 poems that will inspire readers to look at fruits and vegetables—and the whole world—in new ways. This celebration of the power and joy of poetry includes six recipes featuring the fruits and vegetables in the book.

15. Grumbles from the Town

Written by: Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich

Illustrated by: Angela Matteson

Ages 59

Poets Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich take 14 Mother-Goose rhymes that have been enjoyed by generations of children and twist them in ways sure to delight modern kids. These poem pairs feature wildly different voices and perspectives, and Angela Matteson’s stunning illustrations add further hilarious details.

16. Jumping Off Library Shelves

Written by: Lee Bennett Hopkins

Illustrated by: Jane Manning

Ages 511

Here is the library, not just as a place that houses books, but as an experience. Fifteen poems celebrate the thrill of getting your first library card, the excitement of story hour, and the joy of discovering that the librarian understands you and knows exactly which books you’ll love. The poems, compiled by noted poet and anthologist Lee Bennett Hopkins, pay homage to the marvels of books and reading. Accompanied by Jane Manning’s colorful, imaginative illustrations, this collection lyrically celebrates the magic of libraries.

17. Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky

Written by: Georgia Heard

Illustrated by: Jennifer Owings Dewey

Ages 69

Creatures of land, water, and sky are featured here in short poems for early readers. Noted poet and educator Georgia Heard writes about baboons and bears, eagles and bats, dragonflies and frogs. Naturalist and illustrator Jennifer Dewey captures each animal in dramatic detail. The book is written and illustrated with a reverence for the natural world and for wildlife and will find an audience not only in children but in nature lovers of all ages.

18. Voices from the March on Washington

Written by: J. Patrick Lewis and George Ella Lyon

Ages 1014

The powerful poems in this poignant collection weave together multiple voices to tell the story of the March on Washington, DC, in 1963. From the woman singing through a terrifying bus ride to DC, to the teenager who came partly because his father told him, “Don’t you dare go to that march,” to the young child riding on her father’s shoulders, each voice brings a unique perspective to this tale. As the characters tell their stories of this historic day, their chorus plunges readers into the experience of being at the march—walking shoulder to shoulder with strangers, hearing Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech, heading home inspired.

19. If You Were a Chocolate Mustache

Written by: J. Patrick Lewis

Illustrated by: Matthew Cordell

Ages 811

In this tasty collection, J. Patrick Lewis displays the breadth and depth of his talent, giving readers of any and every sensibility something to make them laugh out loud. Baked in Lewis’s brilliant imagination and sprinkled with Matthew Cordell’s warm, witty drawings, the result is a collection to delight the taste buds.