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Poetry for Children

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First off, these aren't just for kids. A good poem has universal appeal, and if it captures a child's imagination it ought to capture an adult's as well. The main difference between "poems for kids" and "poems for adults" is that the former are easier to understand and enjoy at face value.

T.S. Eliot's The Wasteland goes over heads because it's full of allusions and analogies only the well-read are likely to get, whereas Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is self-contained (though there's plenty more going on beneath the surface for older readers to appreciate). And who can argue that John Donne is easier to understand than A.A. Milne?

Of course, "at face value" doesn't mean there are no hidden meanings in children's poetry. It just means kids don't have to pick them up to be impacted by the poem. At the same time, teaching them to do so from a young age with the poetry they love will give them a huge advantage when they're older and encounter Milton, Frost, and Yeats.

Poetry intended for young readers is often marked by what some consider a juvenile rhyme scheme. Yet organizing thoughts and words in a metrical pattern and making it seem effortless isn't the work of some "kiddie writer," but of a master.

Kindling in children a love of poetry (not just rhymes) is essential for helping them reach their full imaginative potential. Stories are important, but poems impart a sense of wonder and an attitude of curiosity and investigation that mere prose can never accomplish. If Keats could transport grown men and women to other realms, why would we think Grahame, Carroll, or Stevenson couldn't do exactly the same thing for kids?

Readers often forget that poetry is intended to be read aloud. While children can have plenty of fun curled up on the couch with their favorite book of poems (probably mouthing each word silently as they read, deaf to the rest of the world), reading aloud with them opens their ears to the beauty of language, its cadences, its mysticism and enchantment. It'll probably do the same thing for you.

Which brings us back to the first point: poetry for children is also poetry for adults. Nowhere else is the ethos of childhood so perfectly rendered than in poems of this kind, where the happiness, terror and innocence of the young is brought to full light not just in the images and words themselves, but in the very way they're structured on the page and spoken out loud. If you feel lost or dead to the world of childhood, read some of the poetry written to and for kids before adulthood squelches any youthfulness of soul you have left.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

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107 Items found Print
All the Small Poems and Fourteen More
by Valerie Worth
from Sunburst Book
Lyrical Poetry for Preschool-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$6.76 $3.50 (1 in stock)
Animal Nursery Rhymes
by Angela Wilkes
from DK Children
for Nursery-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$5.25 (1 in stock)
Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose
by Arnold Lobel
from Random House
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Mother Goose (Location: CPB-02C)
$9.00 (1 in stock)
Arroz Con Leche
by Lulu Delacre
Bilingual from Scholastic Inc.
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Big Ball of String
by Marion Holland
from Random House Books for Young Readers
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer & Patricia Polacco
from Putnam Juvenile
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer & Christopher Bing
1st edition from Chronicle Books
for 2nd-6th grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
Child's Anthology of Poetry
by Elizabeth Hauge Sword
from Ecco Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$21.21
Child's Book of Poems
by Gyo Fujikawa
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Child's Garden of Delights
by Bernard McTigue
First Edition from Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson & Tasha Tudor
from Simon and Schuster
Poetry for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Dover Publications
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$2.55
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Chronicle Books
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$8.40 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Children's Classics
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$4.20 (1 in stock)
Child's Introduction to Poetry
Books for Young Explorers
by Michael Driscoll & Meredith Hamilton
from Black Dog & Leventhal
for 2nd-8th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Children's Own Longfellow
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
from Sandpiper Books
for Ages 9-12
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Classic Book of Best-Loved Children's Poems
by Virginia Mattingly
from Courage Books
for 1st-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$3.50 (1 in stock)
Classic Poetry
by Michael Rosen & Paul Howard
from Candlewick Press
for 1st-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$9.10 (1 in stock)
Classic Poetry
by Michael Rosen & Paul Howard
Reprint from Candlewick Press
for 1st-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$11.04
Close Your Eyes
by Jean Marzollo
Library edition from Dial Books for Young Readers
for Nursery-1st grade
in Clearance: Picture Books (Location: ACL-PIC)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Cornstalks: A Bushel of Poems
by James Stevenson
from Avyx, Inc.
for 4th-8th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Falling Up
by Shel Silverstein
2nd printing from HarperCollins
for 3rd-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$16.14
Family of Poems
by Caroline Kennedy
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$8.40 (1 in stock)
Favorite Poems of Childhood
by Christina Rossetti, Edward Lear, Emily Dickinson, Eugene Field, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sarah Josepha Hale
from Dover Publications
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$2.55
Favorite Poems Old and New
by Helen Ferris
from Delacorte Press
Poetry for All ages
in Poetry Anthologies (Location: APO-05A)
$21.59
Frog Went A-Courtin'
by John Langstaff
from HMH Books for Young Readers
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$5.95
Gargoyle on the Roof
by Jack Prelutsky
First Edition from Greenwillow Books
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Give Yourself to the Rain
by Teri L. Weidner
from Margaret K. McElderry Books
for Preschool-1st grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein
from HarperCollins
Word Books for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$14.44
Grass Sandals
by Dawnine Spivak
from Atheneum
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$11.89
Hailstones and Halibut Bones
by Mary O'Neill
from Doubleday & Company
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Hailstones and Halibut Bones
Adventures In Color
by Mary O'Neill
from Doubleday Book For Young Readers
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Hiawatha
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
1st edition from Puffin Books
Poetry for 4th-8th
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$6.79
Hopeful Trout and Other Limericks
by John Ciardi
from Houghton Mifflin
for 4th-6th grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$2.00 (4 in stock)
It's Raining Pigs and Noodles
by Jack Prelutsky
from Scholastic Inc.
for 1st-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Johnny Appleseed
by Reeve Lindbergh
from Little, Brown & Company
Poetry for Kindergarten-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$4.89
Joyful Noise
by Paul Fleischman
1st edition from HarperCollins
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Kingfisher Book of Nursery Tales
by Vivian French
from Kingfisher
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Knock at a Star
by X. J. Kennedy and Dorothy M. Kennedy
from Little, Brown & Company
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Lafcadio: The Lion Who Shot Back
by Shel Silverstein
40 Anv from HarperCollins
for Nursery-2nd grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Lavender's Blue
by Kathleen Lines
New from Oxford University
for Nursery-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$13.97
Lessons from Nature
by John Bunyan
from Back Home Industries
Lyrical Poems for 3rd-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$16.96
Light in the Attic
by Shel Silverstein
from HarperCollins
for Nursery-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Llama Who Had No Pajama
by Betty Fraser, Mary Ann Hoberman
from Harcourt
for Ages 5-10
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
Lullaby Songbook
from Harcourt
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Clearance: Fiction (Location: ACL-FIC)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Magic Windows
by Ernest Nister
from Philomel Books
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
My People
by Langston Hughes with Charles R. Smith, Jr.
First Edition from Atheneum
for Preschool-1st grade
Coretta Scott King Award
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
My Uncle Emily
by Jane Yolen
from Philomel Books
for Nursery-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$15.29
My Very First Mother Goose
by Iona Opie
from Candlewick Press
for Nursery-kindergarten
in Picture Books (Location: CPB-03)
$4.90 (1 in stock)
New Kid on the Block
by Jack Prelutsky
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: APO-06A)
$2.45 (1 in stock)
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