Best Children's Books About Poetry

80+ Children's Books About Poetry

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Chicken Lily book
#1
Chicken Lily
Written by Lori Mortensen and illustrated by Nina Victor Crittenden
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

"Through puns and poetry, Chicken Lily overcomes her fears and reads a poem onstage at her school poetry jam"--

Follow Follow book
#2
Follow Follow
Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

Once upon a time, Mirror Mirror, a brilliant book of fairy tale themed reversos–a poetic form in which the poem is presented forward and then backward–became a smashing success. Now a second book is here with more witty double takes on well-loved fairy tales such as Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid. Read these clever poems from top to bottom and they mean one thing. Then reverse the lines and read from bottom to top and they mean something else–it is almost like magic! A celebration of sight, sound, and story, this book is a marvel to read again and again.

The Night Before My Birthday book
#3
The Night Before My Birthday
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

In rhyming text based on "The Night Before Christmas," a child is filled with excitement and anticipation while helping with preparations for the next day's birthday party, and even an ice cream emergency cannot spoil the day.

Kindergarten, Here I Come! book
#4
Kindergarten, Here I Come!
Written by D.J. Steinberg and illustrated by Mark Chambers
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Get ready for school with these fun poems! This adorable picture book celebrates all the familiar milestones and moments shared by every single kindergartener. Whether it’s the first-day-of-school jitters or the hundredth-day-of-school party, every aspect of the kindergarten experience is introduced with a light and funny poem–not to mention charming illustrations.

A Poem for Peter book
#5
A Poem for Peter
Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Lou Fancher, Steve Johnson
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

A celebration of the extraordinary life of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of The Snowy Day. The story of The Snowy Day begins more than one hundred years ago, when Ezra Jack Keats was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. The family were struggling Polish immigrants, and despite Keats’s obvious talent, his father worried that Ezra’s dream of being an artist was an unrealistic one. But Ezra was determined. By high school he was winning prizes and scholarships. Later, jobs followed with the WPA and Marvel comics. But it was many years before Keats’s greatest dream was realized and he had the opportunity to write and illustrate his own book. For more than two decades, Ezra had kept pinned to his wall a series of photographs of an adorable African American child. In Keats’s hands, the boy morphed into Peter, a boy in a red snowsuit, out enjoying the pristine snow; the book became The Snowy Day, winner of the Caldecott Medal, the first mainstream book to feature an African American child. It was also the first of many books featuring Peter and the children of his — and Keats’s — neighborhood. Andrea Davis Pinkney’s lyrical narrative tells the inspiring story of a boy who pursued a dream, and who, in turn, inspired generations of other dreamers.

Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry book
#6
Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry
Written and illustrated by Vern Kousky
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An owl with an unusual passion learns to shine in this fresh, funny debut picture book introducing a poetry-loving owl whom kids will cheer for. Otto loves poetry—Keats, Rossetti, Dickinson, even T. S. Eliot. He prefers reading to roosting and reciting to hunting. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a problem. But, you see, Otto is an owl. When the other owls begin to make fun of Otto, he embarks on a difficult journey, finding along the way both his inner poet and a community that accepts him for who he is. Celebrating courage and the importance of sticking with your passion, and incorporating an engaging mix of original and famous poems, Vern Kousky has created an enchanting and inviting world—a forest filled with the sounds of poetry.

Hope Is a Ferris Wheel book
#7
Hope Is a Ferris Wheel
Written and illustrated by Robin Herrera
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 8-12

After moving from Oregon to a trailer park in California, ten-year-old Star participates in a poetry club, where she learns some important lessons about herself and her own hopes and dreams for the future.

Wake Up, Sleepy Head! book
#8
Wake Up, Sleepy Head!
Written by Mandy Ross and illustrated by Dubravka Kolanovic
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

A collection of short poems that capture the thoughts and feelings of young animals as their mothers try to wake them up.

Stepping Out book
#9
Stepping Out
Written by Lin Oliver and illustrated by Tomie dePaola
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Capturing the magic and fun of early childhood, this lively collection of poems, from the creators of Little Poems for Tiny Ears, is a book to be treasured. Being a preschooler means days full of discovery every time you step out of your door. It’s a time filled with wonder, at all the sights and sounds of the outdoors and at the huge variety of people there are to meet. This collection of nineteen original poems features little ones eager to explore, whether it’s splashing in puddles, riding in an elevator or through a car wash, or visiting the library. They go full-steam ahead to the park, the beach, and dance class, somewhat begrudgingly learn to share and get their first haircut, and enjoy lots of time with their families. Full of contagious rhythm and rhyme, this inviting picture book introduces young children to the sounds of poetry through familiar childhood activities, and beloved illustrator Tomie dePaola’s engaging children are the perfect match for Lin Oliver’s bouncy poems.

Animal Exercises book
#10
Animal Exercises
Written by Mandy Ross and illustrated by Sanja Rescek
picture book
Recommend Ages: 1-5

A collection of poems describes how familiar animals keep in shape.

Mirror Mirror book
#11
Mirror Mirror
Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

What’s brewing when two favorites—poetry and fairy tales—are turned (literally) on their heads? It’s a revolutionary recipe: an infectious new genre of poetry and a lovably modern take on classic stories. First, read the poems forward (how old-fashioned!), then reverse the lines and read again to give familiar tales, from Sleeping Beauty to that Charming Prince, a delicious new spin. Witty, irreverent, and warm, this gorgeously illustrated and utterly unique offering holds a mirror up to language and fairy tales, and renews the fun and magic of both.

Lola Plants a Garden book
#12
Lola Plants a Garden
Written by Anna McQuinn and illustrated by Rosalind Beardshaw
picture book
Recommend Ages: 2-5

How does your garden grow? Book-loving Lola is inspired by a collection of garden poems that she reads with her mommy. She wants to plant her own garden of beautiful flowers, so she and Mommy go to the library to check out books about gardening. They choose their flowers and buy their seeds. They dig and plant. And then they wait. Lola finds it hard to wait for her flowers to grow, but she spends the time creating her own flower book. Soon she has a garden full of sunflowers and invites all of her friends for cakes and punch and a story amongst the flowers. Lola is a beloved character that continues to shine for young readers. Her curiosity and love of books is infectious. Parents and children love sharing Lola’s stories. Rosalind Beardshaw’s beautiful illustrations highlight Lola’s close-knit family and how they use stories and books to interact with their world. Lola’s brightly colored and growing garden is the perfect surrounding for this bright little girl.

What I Like! book
#13
What I Like!
Written by Gervase Phinn and illustrated by Jane Eccles
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-6

A collection of humorous poetry for children, including some original treatments of familiar nursery rhymes.

Feel the Beat book
#14
Feel the Beat
Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Kristi Valiant
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

An irresistible book of poems about dancing that mimic the rhythms of social dances from cha-cha to two-step, by the acclaimed author of Mirror Mirror Marilyn Singer has crafted a vibrant collection of poems celebrating all forms of social dance from samba and salsa to tango and hip-hop. The rhythm of each poem mimics the beat of the dances’ steps. Together with Kristi Valiant’s dynamic illustrations, the poems create a window to all the ways dance enters our lives and exists throughout many cultures. This ingenious collection will inspire readers to get up and move! Included with the book is an audio CD of the author reading each poem accompanied by original music from composer Jonathon Roberts.

Fresh-Picked Poetry book
#15
Fresh-Picked Poetry
Written by Michelle Schaub and illustrated by Amy Huntington
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

This collection of poems takes young readers to a day at an urban farmers’ market. Who to see, what to eat, and how produce is grown—it’s all so exciting, fresh, and delicious. Readers are invited to peruse the stands and inspect vendors’ wares with poems like “Farmer Greg’s Free-Range Eggs,” “Summer Checklist,” and “Necessary Mess.” Bright and vibrant, this is the perfect guide for little ones to take with them on marketing day to inspire literacy and healthy eating.

One Big Rain book
#16
One Big Rain
Written by Rita Gray and illustrated by Ryan O Rourke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 7-10

Rita Gray has compiled twenty poems about precipitation, each written by well-known poets such as Kyoshi, Eve Merriam, Lilian Moore, and Carl Sandburg. Divided into poems written about rain within each of the four seasons, this compilation offers the reader a chance to revel in the beauty of precipitation and the poetry it inspires. The variety of poems opens the door for discussion of poetic styles, while Ryan O’Rourke’s playful yet sophisticated illustrations will appeal to readers of all ages.

Daniel Finds a Poem book
#17
Daniel Finds a Poem
Written and illustrated by Micha Archer
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Stunning collage art full of rich color, glorious details, and a sense of wonder—reminiscent of the work of Ezra Jack Keats—illustrate this delightful story celebrating the poetry found in the world around us. What is poetry? Is it glistening morning dew? Spider thinks so. Is it crisp leaves crunching? That’s what Squirrel says. Could it be a cool pond, sun-warmed sand, or moonlight on the grass? Maybe poetry is all of these things, as it is something special for everyone—you just have to take the time to really look and listen. The magical thing is that poetry is in everyone, and Daniel is on his way to discovering a poem of his own after spending time with his animal friends. What is poetry? If you look and listen, it’s all around you!

Echo Echo book
#18
Echo Echo
Written by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-9

A new book of unique reversible poems based on Greek myths from the creator of Mirror Mirror What happens when you hold up a mirror to poems about Greek myths? You get a brand-new perspective on the classics! And that is just what happens in Echo Echo, the newest collection of reverso poems from Marilyn Singer. Read one way, each poem tells the story of a familiar myth; but when read in reverse, the poems reveal a new point of view! Readers will delight in uncovering the dual points of view in well-known legends, including the stories of Pandora’s box, King Midas and his golden touch, Perseus and Medusa, Pygmalion, Icarus and Daedalus, Demeter and Persephone, and Echo and Narcissus. These cunning verses combine with beautiful illustrations to create a collection of fourteen reverso poems to treasure.

The Night Before the 100th Day of School book
#19
The Night Before the 100th Day of School
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Mindy Pierce
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

The 100th day of school is almost here and one student is desperate to find 100 of anything to bring to class. Then all of sudden inspiration strikes, and he comes up with a surprise that makes the 100th day celebration one to remember! This hilarious story of a popular school tradition offers a perfect modern twist on Clement C. Moore’s classic poem.

The Night Before Summer Vacation book
#20
The Night Before Summer Vacation
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Julie Durrell
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

A little girl and her family are getting ready to go on vacation . . . or at least they are trying to. In the effort to pack everything that will be needed, there’s bound to be something overlooked, and what that is provides a funny ending to this meter-perfect “twist” on Clement Moore’s classic.

The Night Before the Tooth Fairy book
#21
The Night Before the Tooth Fairy
Written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Barbara Johansen Newman
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

It wiggles, and waggles, and wiggles some more, but this little boy’s stubborn tooth just won’t come out! He hopes it will fall out soon, because he can’t wait to meet the Tooth Fairy! This humorous tale based on Clement C. Moore’s classic poem is a perfect addition to the best-selling series.

Flower Fairies of the Summer book
#22
Flower Fairies of the Summer
Written and illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

This beautiful reissue of the well-loved classic Flower Fairies title is complete with Barker’s original poems and exquisite artwork. Each page features her recreation of nature’s beauty and the enchanting world of the fairies. Essential background readings to the bestselling Fairyopolis, this book provides a glimpse into the enchanting world of the Flower Fairies.

Flower Fairies of the Autumn book
#23
Flower Fairies of the Autumn
Written and illustrated by Cicely Mary Barker
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-7

Experience the beauty and the magic of Cicely Mary Barker’s famous Flower Fairies, with a new edition of Flower Fairies of the Autumn. The magic and loveliness of Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies, newly rejacketed and updated with a contemporary look, is a perfect gift for Flower Fairies fans and a new generation of readers. First published in the 1920s, Cicely Mary Barker’s original Flower Fairies books have been loved for generations. The book features poems and full-color illustrations of over 20 flowers and their guardian fairies.

Haiku Baby book
#24
Haiku Baby
Written and illustrated by Betsy Snyder
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

The simple delights in baby's natural world--a bird, a fish, a leaf, a snowflake, a raindrop--are celebrated in the traditional Japanese poetic form, the haiku, in a little board book with tabs.

I'm Just No Good at Rhyming book
#25
I'm Just No Good at Rhyming
Written by Chris Harris and illustrated by Lane Smith
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-12

Meet the 21st century Shel Silverstein! Chris Harris's debut poetry collection molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way. This entirely unique collection offers a surprise around every corner, from the ongoing rivalry between the author and illustrator, to the mysteriously misnumbered pages that can only be deciphered by a certain code-cracking poem, to the rhyming fact-checker in the footnotes who points out when "poetic license" gets out of hand. Adding to the fun: Lane Smith, bestselling creator of beloved hits like It's a Book and The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, has spectacularly illustrated this extraordinary collection with nearly one hundred pieces of appropriately absurd art. It's a mischievous match made in heaven!

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