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Poetry Picture Books

Mother and kids outside smiling in sunglasses

Don’t you love it when something is enjoyable and good for you? Kind of like chocolate, come to think of it…. Well, when they’re done right, poetry picture books are the picture book equivalent of chocolate.

Poetry has so many benefits for kids, including developing an awareness of language, phonic patterns, and rhythms, and helping children to express their own experience through writing.

Author Renée LaTulippe is one of those talented writers who uses poetry and storytelling to transport children into delightful worlds of imagination … and often, silliness.

Below, Renée shares a few of her personal favorite poetry picture books for young children.

You can learn a little more about each book in the synopses below, or you can download our free library list to take with you on your next visit to the library.

Stardines Swim High across the Sky and Other Poems book cover

Stardines Swim High across the Sky and Other Poems by Jack Prelutsky

The poems in this collection pair real animals with inanimate objects to create beasts such as stardines, panteaters, bluffaloes, and swapitis. Illustrated with incredible shadow boxes and dioramas straight out of the natural history museum, these extraordinary creatures come to life to inspire and amaze young readers again and again.

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems book cover

Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems by Joyce Sidman

The fascinating lives of pond dwellers are laid bare in this beautiful collection of poems. Atmospheric Caldecott Honor-winning woodcuts portray the teeming life of the pond and scientific information accompanies each melodic poem, making this a wonderful book to encourage readers to look more closely at the natural world.

The Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems) book cover

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo (Poems) by Linda Sue Park

Everyday life is the stuff of poetry in this collection of sijo, a brief Korean verse form with a witty twist at the end. From clean socks and breakfast to houseplants and long division, nothing escapes the poet’s pen as these poems delight readers with unexpected surprises and humorous observations.

Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems book cover

Poem-mobiles: Crazy Car Poems
by J. Patrick Lewis and Douglas Florian

If you have a car lover in your house, you’ll want to share this quirky collection of nonsense poems sure to amuse and delight. Silly and entertaining, this collection will inspire young readers to create their own funny poems—and probably some crazy cars as well!

Meet Danitra Brown book cover

Meet Danitra Brown
by Nikki Grimes

This collection of spirited poems introduces readers to Danitra Brown and her best friend, Zuri. Danitra and Zuri’s friendship shines bright against an urban backdrop as these two proud and happy girls navigate the daily trials of growing up.

Button Up!: Wrinkled RHymes book cover

Button Up!: Wrinkled Rhymes
by Alice Schertle

If you’ve ever wondered what your clothes are thinking, these inventive poems will clear it all up. From frilly undies to snuggly pajamas, the clothes in these whimsical poems have a life of their own and are sure to keep young readers in stitches.

The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes

The Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell

Strap on your bib, because this delicious collection takes readers on a mouth-watering trip through the four seasons. Ruddell’s fantastical imagination and imagery, along with Rankin’s wonderful illustrations, bring to life wacky characters like baked-potato canoes, a corn-eating ogre, and space-exploring popcorn.

Sea Star WIshes: Poems from the Coast book cover

Sea Star Wishes:
Poems from the Coast
by Eric Ode

From seagulls and sandcastles to ferries and fishermen, this whimsical collection celebrates a wide range of seaside sights and sounds. Both lyrical and informative, the poems are as varied as the subject matter. Spending time with these fun coastal poems is nothing short of a day at the beach!

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku book cover

Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku
by Lee Wardlaw

One of the most charming stories ever told in poems, Won Ton will win over kids (and adults) of any age. A series of haiku, the book tells the tale of a sassy Siamese shelter cat who is adopted by Boy and taken to live in a new home. This book is a gem for anyone who loves poetry and the furry friends who share our lives.

Flicker Flash book cover

Flicker Flash
by Joan Bransfield Graham

Kids love concrete poetry, and this collection is one of the best of its kind. Vivid graphics give shape to these rhythmic poems about light in many forms, from bolts of lightning and flickering candles to fireflies and cozy campfires. Fun and inspiring, these poems will light up your young reader’s life!

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems book cover

Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko

Gorgeously illustrated, these brief poems deliver big emotion and imagery as they take readers on a journey through the seasons. Perfect for read-aloud time and independent reading, the collection contains a few classics as well as poems by the top children’s poets past and present. It’s a firecracker of a book!

FREE Poetry Picture Books for Kids Library List

Poetry Picture Books for Kids library checklist download

Would you like to read some of my favorite poetry picture books with your children? Click to download my list to take to your local library.

Looking for MORE books? You can find more great library lists here!

Poetry Picture Books for Kids Recommended by our Readers

  • Poems to Read to the Very Young by Josette Frank (Recommended by Robin W. from AALP)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends or anything by Shel Silverstein (Recommended by multiple readers)
  • Cloud Dance by Thomas Locker (Recommended by Nancy B. via Facebook)
  • Beastly Boys and Ghastly Girls by William Cole (Recommended by Beth M. via Facebook)
  • Sing A Song of Popcorn by Mary Michaels White and Eva Moore (Recommended by Nancy B. via Facebook)
  • Guyku by Bob Raczka and Peter H. Reynolds (Recommended by Venus W. via blog comment)
  • The Complete Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker (Recommended by Karla via blog comment)
  • Animals, Animals by Eric Carle (Recommended by Amanda W. via blog comment)
  • On the Farm, In the Sea, and In the Wild by Holly Meade (Recommended by Viki A. via blog comment)
  • Red Sings from the Treetops by Joyce Sidman (Recommended by Laura via blog comment)
  • Poetry for Young People by Langston Hughes (Recommended by Tiffany G. via blog comment)
  • The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems (Recommended by Beth K. via blog comment)
  • The Llama Who Had No Pajama by Mary Ann Hoberman (Recommended by Isabelle via blog comment)
  • Behold the Bold Umbrellaphant by Jack Prelutsky (Recommended by Jennifer S. via blog comment)
  • Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost/Susan Jeffers (Recommended by Kit via blog comment)
  • When I Heard the Learn’d Astronaut by Walt Whitman/Loren Long (Recommended by Kit via blog comment)
  • Hailstones and Halibut Bones by Mary O’Neill (Recommended by Abigail F. via blog comment)
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Leave a Comment

Amy

says:

Thanks for this list! We’re going to check out some of these books. One more poetry book to add to this great list is:
Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Thank you for the additional recommendation, Amy!

Kit

says:

I love picture books that use famous poems for the text. Some of our favorites include Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening (http://www.amazon.com/Stopping-Woods-Snowy-Evening-Robert/dp/0525467343) and When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer (http://www.amazon.com/Heard-Learnd-Astronomer-Golden-Honors/dp/0689863977).

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kit,
These are great recommendations! Thank you.

Sandra

says:

Thank you for recommendations! Just what I was looking for.

Tina

says:

Thank you for this list!!

We have a collection of children’s books for famous poets such as Walt Whitman and Robert Frost- one book per poet. My four year old brings them out occasionally and I am always surprised at her focus!

Tina M

says:

Thank you for this list. I’m scheduling poetry into our homeschool this year and this will be great for some ideas. We are going to have a weekly teatime and poetry reading.

Merry at AALP

says: Customer Service

Oh, my daughter used to love “Tuesday Tea.” I should add that in again!

Rhonda

says:

Thank you! I just added a handful of books to our library request list, and we can’t wait until they come in!

Cari Whittenburg

says:

Thank you so much for the list. I’m excited to share some of these books with my son.

Chadd

says:

My son loves to read poetry. I think poems are short enough to hold his attention and keep him interested in reading

samantha abell

says:

I love to read!!! And now, my 9 yrs. old is following in those same footsteps. She is an avid reader and devours books. She is constantly making up words and being goofy with language just for the sake of how it sounds and how it makes her laugh. She even gets her 4 yrs. old sissy in on it and they lay there and just go to town. I cannot wait to really introduce poetry to her. We put focus on literature, but this year I want to do a unit on poetry in specific and introduce her to all different kinds. Thank you for the valuable list of resources and for you AAR/AAS. It is awesome to see my older daughter reading and spelling with confidence. And now her sister gets to experience it through her AAR Pre-reader. THANK YOU!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Samantha,
It is great to hear that we have been able to be a help to you and your children. Thank you so much for sharing.

Karen Wallace

says:

Poetry has always been a struggle for me and my tendency would be to ignore it in my curriculum. Thank you for NOT ignoring it! I will be definitely be using these books. I so appreciate all of your book lists. They have provided us some of our children’s favorite books ever!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Karen,
It’s great to hear that our lists are appreciated. Thank you.

Beth Bartlett

says:

I need to work on incorporating more poetry in our language arts studies, as well as our regular “just for fun” reading. It’s not something that is a strength of mine, but I do want to encourage it in my children. Thanks for the printable list to take to our library and try some new books!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Beth,
I recommend finding a poetry book you think your kids will like, and purchasing it. Then just keep it lying around next to where every you read “just for fun”, and pick it up once or twice a week and read one or two poems before starting your other reading. You can get through a lot of poetry each year that way, but it never feels hard and it’s never enough in any one week to get tired of it.

Dara

says:

Ooo, new suggestions to add to my list!

Rachel Poe

says:

Most of my favorites are already on your list :). I have a few to add to MY list now, though. Thank you :)

Rachel Poe

says:

Most of my favorites are already on your list :). I have a few to add to MY list now, though. Thank you :)

Kathryn

says:

Thanks for the fun suggestions for introducing poetry. It seems to be a lost art these days, but is so valuable for our learning and imaginations.

Carol

says:

Great list! I’ve been looking for some poetry books my kiddos might enjoy; so far they are pretty turned off by it but I think with the right fun / funny poems they will change their minds!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Carol,
I am convinced that there is some poetry out there for everyone, but you may have to search to find it.

Finding funny and silly poems is a great start, but also consider either making a big to-do about it or making it it no big deal. You could set aside a special day each week, or every other week, and have a tea party, complete with tea and goodies, and enjoy poetry during that time. The goodies do help with the enjoyment :D. Or, you could just read one or two poems once or twice a week, and then go on, making it just something you do but no big deal.

I’m a “no big deal” poetry person, but here is a link to how one homeschool mom does a big to-do most weeks. http://www.bravewriter.com/program/brave-writer-lifestyle/poetry-teatimes/

Lynn

says:

Thanks for the list. I am excited about the book of car poems.

Angela Beauchamp

says:

This is why I love AAR/AAS. I am really not familiar with poetry at all. But with this program I get to learn right along side my children. I love the guidance this program provides to moms who need a little help with unfamiliar subjects.

Vanessa

says:

Wonderful! I’ll check those out for sure!

Tracy O.

says:

My kids love Shel Silverstein. Where the Sidewalk Ends, Light in the Attic, etc.

Mickey

says:

Thanks for the list!

Alicia

says:

Poetry just isn’t my favorite, but I am excited to review the list above!

Neima

says:

Amazing list. Thank you

Kayla

says:

Thank you for making this as a download. I’m trying to get better about reading poetry to my kids while they are still young and will listen to anything I read. I’m sure that will change soon enough.

Jen S

says:

Love having this list at the beginning of the school year. Looking forward to checking out these books.

Flavia

says:

I can’t wait to get my order!

Kristi

says:

Awesome List!

A Shannon

says:

I love all the poetry book suggestions! Thanks so much!

katie

says:

Great List!

Amber

says:

The Popcorn Astronauts looks like a cute book! I am excited to start using the All About Learning Press Products!

Katherine Kastner

says:

Hi. My name is Katherine and I am homeschooling my last child. She is 8 years old. She has trouble sliding letters together to form short words. In fact I cannot get her to do it. I am interested in all the help I can get. What worked for my older children is not working for her. She has recently been diagnosed with epilepsy. Another issue that her older siblings do not have. I do not know if she is dyslexic. I do not think so. I think she guesses at words. She has displayed guessing behavior when I have her read a short, short little reader.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Katherine,
Here is a Symptoms of Dyslexia Checklist that you may find helpful.

And here is an article on Breaking the “Word Guessing” Habit. The article discusses the different reasons why kids may guess at words, and the solution is our blending procedure. The article includes detailed instructions on how to teach blending that you may find helpful.

However, if your daughter doesn’t have a good knowledge of phonograms, she may be unable to blend well because she is unsure what sounds letters and letter pairs ought to make. All About Reading teaches phonograms, blending, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and other aspects of reading. Let us know if we can help you with placement or anything else.

Davelle Jones

says:

We will have to check out some of these books.

Wendy Thelen

says:

What a great list. I can’t wait to check some of these out at the library.

Heather

says:

What great book suggestions, thanks!

Sarah Cylkowski

says:

I’m excited to introduce our kids to these books, especially Meet Danitra Brown and The Popcorn Astronauts.

Alycia A

says:

One of my fondest school memories was when I was in the 2nd grade, and a poet came to our class!
We spent the day writing silly poems and having him help us make them even better. It started a livelong love of writing poetry!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Alycia,
What a great experience! I can see how something like that would definitely have a impact on a student’s love for poetry. Thank you for sharing.

Stephanie Nelson

says:

Thank you! I love reading and teaching poetry. These book will fit right into our curriculum!

Michele Pleasants

says:

It’s funny, poetry books are my least favorite to read and my son’s most favorite to hear!

Monica

says:

My kids will love these. Thanks for the recommendations!

Beth

says:

Thank you for the wonderful tips on encouraging a love of poetry.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Beth,
You are welcome. Let’s fight the “poetry is boring” myth one kid at a time! There is simply so much poetry out there, in so many different forms and subject matter, that I am confident that everyone can find something to enjoy.

Wendy Clark

says:

I think poetry is such a fun way to introduce the power of words to children.

Brook

says:

My daughter has just started your reading program, and is loving it. These books will definitely be added to our list of books to read. Thanks!

Rachel Todd

says:

As much as I love all things Suess and Silverstein I am always up for another kids poet! Thanks so much for the recommendations!!

Abigail F

says:

We just picked up Hailstones and Halibut Bones for our boys, and I’m so excited to see how they like it. Thanks for all of the suggestions!

Rachel

says:

Jack Prelutsky is an old favorite.

Lisa

says:

Thank you for the list. I can not wait to look at the books.

Amanda

says:

Going to pick up some of these books! Thanks for the list!

Corrie

says:

Thank you for these suggestions. I downloaded the list and took it to my library today. Unfortunately they didn’t have many of the titles, but I have other places to look. :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Corrie,
Speak with the children’s librarian. Most librarians are interested in helping people find the books they want, and they may be able to get the titles from another library or they may even order them.

Christine Bodkins

says:

Where the sidewalk ends!

Erin

says:

Great list!

Katherine H

says:

Thanks for the list!

Jenni N

says:

I really need to add more poetry to our reading selections. Thanks for the list!!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Jenni,
Brave Writer, a homeschool writing company, recommends a “Tuesday Tea” each week, where you drink tea, eat good things, and read poetry. http://www.bravewriter.com/bwl/poetry-teatimes/

I have always thought the whole “tea party” would be great, but it has never happened here. Instead, I took away from the idea that I would read poetry to my children at least once a week. I prefer to read 1 to 2 poems 2 times a week, before reading aloud from a chapter book usually, but I feel happy if I read at least 1 poem to them each week. I typically work through just one poetry anthology each year, just keeping it where I stack our current read alouds.

Betsy

says:

Thank you for the great ideas! I look forward to checking out some of these.

Jennifer C.

says:

Thanks for the list. I cannot wait to get started!

Charley Zirbel

says:

Poetry is so important, and I’m so glad there are programs like this out there that can help homeschoolers teach such an essential part of Language Arts!

Elizabeth

says:

Our favorite poem book is A Child’s Book of Poems by Gyo Fujikawa. I am amazed at how my children are drawn to poetry. I’m looking forward to looking into the suggested books!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Elizabeth,
Two of my boys are very analytical types, loving order, precision, and construction of all types. Yet, these two, more than any of my other three children, are drawn to poetry. It really leaves me in awe, and left me rethinking the American assumption that poetry is just for the artsy, no-rules type of people.

Jenaya Cones

says:

I just love poetry and my kids are slowly but surely getting excited about it. My youngest son has been able to pick out different variations of poetry faster than his older brother and sisters! These books would be a great addition to my library!

Lauren

says:

Sweet! Thanks for the help :)

Jessica Maulding

says:

We absolutely LOVE AAS. Thank you for the fantastic products and the online tips and tricks.

Ashley Perry

says:

Great list! We have read Won Ton and Firefly July a couple of times and they are awesome books! Can’t wait to read the others on the list. Thanks for sharing

Kimberlee Rackley

says:

Great selections!

Melissa Bills

says:

These look fantastic! Thanks for sharing.

Amanda W.

says:

Thank you for the list! We just finished reading Eric Carle’s “Animals, Animals” for the 10th time and will be returning it late to the library. My girls will look forward to these. :)

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Amanda,
Yes! We love Eric Carle’s Animals, Animals too.

Margarita Cooper

says:

Great list of books. Thank you for sharing!

Viki Ash

says:

I would like to recommend 3 wonderful books of short animal poems by David Elliott. All 3 with dramatic woodcut illustrations by Holly Meade.

On the Farm
In the Sea
In the Wild

Amy Krohn

says:

Great list! I especially want to read the Won Ton book written in haiku:)

Carolyn

says:

We love Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer! Each poem is based on a fairy tale, and when read backward tells the story from a different perspective! Great for older elementary kids. :)

Melinda

says:

Awesome list! Will have to look into these =)

Laura

says:

Red Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman. She also has written a number of beautiful nature poetry books.

Mirror, Mirror by Marilyn Singer

Leslie

says:

It’s already on the list, but my kids loved all things Shel Silverstein!

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Leslie,
If you enjoy Shel Silverstein, check out Jack Prelutsky too. We especially love his poem, New Kid on the Block (found in the book of the same name).

Sandrine

says:

Thank you.

Kerry

says:

Thank you, we always need to know about new things to read :)

Elaine Honigmann

says:

anything at all by the British poets Michael Rosen and A A Milne

Paula

says:

My kids have read from Favorite Poems Old and New compiled by Helen Ferris for years now. It’s such a great collection of hundreds of poems organized by theme. Looking forward to checking out Won Ton.

Sandi

says:

We’ve really enjoyed Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost (http://www.amazon.com/Poetry-Young-People-Robert-Frost/dp/1402754752). There are others in the series as well.

Beth K

says:

Our family has really enjoyed The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems. Thanks for your list od suggestions!

Heather Pike

says:

These look fantastic! Thank you so much.

Ana

says:

My kids love reading poetry!! We have enjoyed the best times together lost in books…

Renae

says:

I struggled with enjoying poetry in school, therefore, I tend to shy away from it when reading to my 4 year old. Thank you for providing a list of great, fun poetry books for kids. I am motivated now to rent some from the library.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Renae,
I recommend Poems to Read to the Very Young for just that age group because it is full of poems that are relevant to young children. It is lovely (and now nostalgic for me) introduction to poetry, with topics like birthdays, soft bunnies, mom baking, and more.

But, there are lots of other great poetry books out there that are much more approachable than much of what was presented to us in school. Jump in, and keep trying until you find poetry you can enjoy.

Tracie White

says:

I can’t wait to check out these suggestions with my children! Thanks!

Dominica

says:

Great suggestions by readers and on the library checklist!

Kristen

says:

I’ve really been wanting to incorporate more poetry into our read-alouds. What a great list of suggestions! THANK YOU for this resource!

Laura Coker

says:

Thanks so much for the library checklist. So excited

Isabelle

says:

The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems by Mary Ann Hoberman

Kara Strawn

says:

Maybe poetry is something I should try to get my child into since he has a hard time grasping words.

Robin E. at All About Learning Press

says: Customer Service

Kara,
Yes! Rhyming poetry is especially good to help children start to anticipate what will be next.

cindy

says:

My 9 year old sons loves when I read poetry (often silly poetry) to him! Thanks for the many book suggestions!

Amy

says:

I was surprised at how well my son memorized poems with a little work each day!

Jennifer Spencer

says:

Behold the bold umbrellaphant : and other poems by Jack Prelutsky is great! We loved the ordinary objects turned into animals with onomatopoeia effects and made up words. It was a stretch for me as a non-poetry person, but I liked the fantastical nature.

Robin Grimm

says:

Poetry is wonderful. I remember memorizing it as a kid and hope to have my kids to the same.

Poetry for Young people~Langston Hughes

Rachel Izu

says:

We love song a song of popcorn and anything by jack prelutsky or David Crowley. Thanks for your list

Karla

says:

We love the Complete Book of Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker. The poems are wonderful and the illustrations are amazing and keep my girls attention. Also good for science and flower identification!

Sonja Z

says:

This is great! Thank you for the library checklist. I can’t wait to check these out to read to my kids.

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