Poetry for Children

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's a husband and father who loves church, good food, and 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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151 Items found Print
A Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Gyo Fujikawa
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 2nd-5th grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
All the Small Poems and Fourteen More
by Valerie Worth
from Sunburst Book
Lyrical Poetry for Preschool-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$8.49 $4.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Hunting of the Snark
by Lewis Carroll
from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 8th-Adult
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose
by Arnold Lobel
from Random House
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Mother Goose (Location: PIC-MG)
$10.20 (1 in stock)
Arroz Con Leche
by Lulu Delacre
Bilingual from Scholastic Inc.
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Big Ball of String
by Marion Holland
from Random House Books for Young Readers
for Preschool- 3rd Grade
in Beginner Books (Location: EAR-BB)
Book of Verses for Children
1st THUS from Popular Culture Ink
for Preschool-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer & Patricia Polacco
from Putnam Juvenile
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$5.94
Casey at the Bat
by Ernest L. Thayer & Christopher Bing
1st edition from Chronicle Books
for 2nd-6th grade
2001 Caldecott Honor Book
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$19.99
Child's Anthology of Poetry
by Elizabeth Hauge Sword
from Ecco Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$22.09 $12.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Book of Poems
by Gyo Fujikawa
from Sterling Publishing Co.
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$8.46 $4.80 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Tasha Tudor
from Simon and Schuster
Poetry for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$16.99
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson
from Dover Publications
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$2.55 $1.20 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eulalie
from Platt and Munk Publishers
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Martin & Alice Provensen
from Golden Books
for Preschool-1st grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Cooper Edens
from Chronicle Books
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith
from Random House
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$4.80 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
from Charles Scribner's Sons
for Preschool-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$7.20 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Alice & Martin Provensen
from Golden Press
for 4th-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
Arcadia
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Charles Robinson
from Princess House Books
Poetry for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$7.20 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Eve Garnett
from Puffin Books
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$3.60 (1 in stock)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Florence Storer
from Longmeadow Press
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Joanna Isles
from Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Thomas Kinkade
First Edition, Thus from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for 1st-5th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
for Kindergarten-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Child's Garden of Verses
Books of Wonder
by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Diane Goode
from HarperCollins
for Kindergarten-4th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
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: POET-CHIL)
$16.99 $11.20 (1 in stock)
Child's Introduction to Poetry
Books for Young Explorers
by Michael Driscoll & Meredith Hamilton
First Revised Edition from Black Dog & Leventhal
for 2nd-8th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$16.99
Children's Own Longfellow
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
from Sandpiper Books
for Ages 9-12
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Children's Treasury of Nursery Rhymes
by Linda Bleck
Reprint from Sterling Publishing Co.
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Classic Poetry
by Michael Rosen & Paul Howard
from Candlewick Press
for 1st-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$10.40 (1 in stock)
Classic Poetry
by Michael Rosen & Paul Howard
Reprint from Candlewick Press
for 1st-6th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$12.74
Cornstalks: A Bushel of Poems
by James Stevenson
from Avyx, Inc.
for 4th-8th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$12.00 (2 in stock)
Cotton Sailboats
by Edith Witmer
from Rod & Staff Publishers, Inc.
for 1st-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$2.40 (1 in stock)
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut
by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James
from Agate Bolden
for Kindergarten-3rd grade
2018 Newbery Honor Book
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night
by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen
from Houghton Mifflin
for 1st-4th grade
2011 Newbery Honor Book
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$15.29
Dream Keeper And Other Poems
by Langston Hughes
from Scholastic Inc.
for 5th-9th grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$2.00 (1 in stock)
Edgar Allen Poe’s Pie
by J. Patrick Lewis
from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
for 2nd-6th grade
in Math Picture Books (Location: MATR-PIC)
Family of Poems
by Caroline Kennedy
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$9.60 (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: POET-CHIL)
$2.55 $1.60 (3 in stock)
Favorite Poems Old and New
by Helen Ferris
from Delacorte Press
Poetry for All ages
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$22.94
Firefly July
by Selected by Paul B. Janeczko, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
from Candlewick Press
for Preschool-2nd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
First Poems of Childhood
by Tasha Tudor
from Grosset & Dunlap
for Nursery-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$4.80 (1 in stock)
Four and Twenty Blackbirds
by Selected by Helen Dean Fish, illustrated by Robert Lawson
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Frog Went A-Courtin'
by John Langstaff
from HMH Books for Young Readers
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$6.79
God's Servant, Job
by Douglas Bond
from P&R Publishing
for Nursery-3rd grade
in Bible Stories for Kids (Location: BIBR-STO)
$11.04
Golden Treasury of Poetry
by Joan Walsh Anglund
from Golden Books
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Grass Sandals
by Dawnine Spivak
from Atheneum
for 1st-3rd grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$11.89
Hailstones and Halibut Bones
by Mary O'Neill
from Doubleday & Company
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
Hailstones and Halibut Bones
from Doubleday Book For Young Readers
for Preschool-3rd grade
in Poetry for Children (Location: POET-CHIL)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
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