Cover of Climbing the Volcano. Young man standing and looking towards reader, wearing a backpack, and following his parents. Background has trees, lake and a mountain.

It’s National Poetry Month, and my (unofficial) research shows that children love reading poetry, and hearing poetry read to them. Below you’ll find a mix of new poetry books and old favorites to enjoy!

Cover of Climbing the Volcano. Young man standing and looking towards reader, wearing a backpack, and following his parents. Background has trees, lake and a mountain.

Climbing the Volcano by Curtis Manley

What’s the best poetic form to tell the story of hiking up a volcano? Haiku, of course, which has been used for centuries to describe the beauty and majesty of nature. This picture book uses haiku and illustrations to show a young boy’s wonder as he climbs Oregon’s South Sister volcano. Manley’s poetry invites children to look around and write haikus about their own adventures in nature, whether that is in their own backyard, or across the world.

Body Music: Poems About the Noises Your Body Makes by Jane Yolen

Cover of Body Music. Man snoring in bed, conductor standing over him with a baton.

Kids love music, and they love when bodies make funny noises! Jane Yolen is a masterful poet for children of all ages, and this book she explores why knuckles crack and noses sniffle with both poetry and facts. While the poetry might make your children giggle, they also will remember what they learned the next time they yawn or sneeze. The book also discusses different cultures that use their bodies to make music, from snapping and clapping to body percussion and vibrations.

Emily Morrison presents Lila Duray : a collection of delightfully delectable poems by Emily Morrison

Cover of Emily Morrison Presents Lila Duray. Books flying like butterflies of young girl's head. You can't see her face, because she is reading a book while walking.

Reviewers compare Emily Morrison to Shel Silverstein, who is, at least in my mind, the master of children’s poetry. These poems are engaging and fun, but also thought-provoking and touching. If your child has read every Shel Silverstein book more than once, give Emily Morrison’s book a try!

Cover of Take Me Out of the Bathtub. Child launching himself across the page, wearing goggles and boots, flying towards sink and out of bathtub.

Take me out of the bathtub and other silly dilly songs by Alan Katz

I couldn’t create this list and not include one of Alan Katz’s silly song books. These are technically not in the “poetry” section, but they’re on a shelf that isn’t too far away. Katz has written poems that are meant to be sung to different tunes everyone knows, like Row Row Row Your Boat (Go Go Go to Bed) and Take Me Out to the Ballgame (Take Me Out of the Bathtub). To add to the fun, the illustrations by David Catrow will make you howl with laughter.

Poetry Comics by Grant Snider

Cover of Poetry Comics. Four panels, showing a tree in all four seasons.

If you have a kid who loves graphic novels (and let’s face it, most kids love them!), Poetry Comics will delight them. Snider takes ordinary things and objects, and shines a light on them through poetry to show how special they actually are. The author believes this book might make poets out of every child, and who are we to disagree?

Neon aliens ate my homework and other poems by Nick Cannon

Cover of Neon Aliens Ate My Homework. Words enveloped by green alien with four eyes, and a lot of teeth.

Song lyrics are often poetry, and poetry can be sung, as Cannon proves in this collection! Nick Cannon is a well-known actor, musician and all-around entertainer, and when he turned his eye toward creating a children’s poetry book, he partnered with street artists to illustrate his writings (and illustrated several himself). Kids will love this visually interesting book, and will love to laugh at the zany poems written by Cannon.

Black Girl You are Atlas by Renee Watson

Cover of Black Girl You Are Atlas. Illustration of Black girl wearing large hoop earrings and looking directly at reader.

This book is semi-autobiographical, about Watson’s childhood in Portland, Oregon. Watson uses all types of poetic forms to tell her story, which might help a developing poet learn how to best use form as well as language to tell their story. Watson wants young women, especially black women, to realize their power, embrace sisterhood and celebrate their futures.

Ink knows no borders : poems of the immigrant and refugee experience

Cover of Ink Knows No Borders. Stylized globe with ink spreading across the page.

This anthology contains poems from more than 65 writers, including Elizabeth Acevedo, Ocean Vuong, Samira Ahmed and Ada Limón, speaking of the first- and second-generation immigrant experience. These poems deal with a variety of subjects, from homesickness and language difficulties to stereotyping and questions of identity. Teens will see themselves in these immigrant stories and empathize with the feelings of isolation, the desire to fit in and the struggle to define oneself in a fractured world.

Did you know? The Alamance County Poetry Stroll 2024 is happening in area downtowns for this entire month! See poetry written by local poets in storefront windows in Elon, Burlington, Graham, Haw River, Green Level, Saxapahaw and Mebane. You can find a list of locations and poems on our website. We also welcome you to vote for your favorite poems, either by scanning the QR code on a Poetry Stroll poster, or by visiting our website.

Mary Beth Adams is the Community Engagement Librarian for Alamance County Public Libraries. She can be reached at