It’s poetry month! I love poetry, and I’ve found some wonderful resources for children that my son also loves. Here are a few of them.
I own an adult poetry anthology, with accompanying CDs of the poets reading their work, called Poetry Speaks. When I saw Poetry Speaks to Children(Sourcebooks), I had to pick it up. I am always looking for a chance to introduce my son to some of the great poets too.
It was really fun to hear J.R.R. Tolkein, Langston Hughes, and others read their poems. I also really enjoyed the modern poetry in it; I am not as familiar with modern poetry and hearing the authors talk about their poems has encouraged me to look for more modern poetry for kids.
My son loves listening to these poems as we drive in the car, and he loves reading along with the poems. The pictures and layout are fun, imaginative, bright, and interesting. Poetry Speaks to Children is a fun way to bring poetry home.
Another favorite is Julie Andrews’ Treasury for All Seasons: Poems and Songs to Celebrate the Year (Little, Brown and Company, 2012), a poetry anthology organized by month. Each season of the year and specific holidays have poems, and the pages are illustrated by Marjorie Priceman with child-friendly bright watercolor paintings.
Variety is very important to me in anthologies. I am a big fan of the classics, and in a good anthology, I like to see a mix of both classic poetry and modern poetry. Treasury for All Seasons meets my expectations. Poems have been selected by Julie Andrews and her daughter Emma Walton Hamilton, and they have included a nice mix of classics such as Emily Dickinson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Keats, and Kipling, as well a smattering of fun modern poetry, from Dr. Seuss to Jack Prelutsky. They have included a few of the poems from John Updike’s A Child’s Calendar, and I love how Julie Andrews’ and her daughter have included poems for “smaller” holidays such as president’s day and Grandparent’s Day.
The best determination of success is to ask the audience it was essentially created for. My five-year-old son was very excited by this volume. When it arrived in October, he was excited to read the October poems…but he insisted we could not read the November poems together (although he did flip through all the pages on his own). For days, he said, “I can’t wait until November so we can read the next poems!” When November began, he was so excited that Thanksgiving was coming up, and he wanted to share one of the silly Thanksgiving poems with a friend at our co-op “Thanksgiving Feast” last week (“I Ate Too Much” by Jack Prelutsky).
For my poetry-resisting child, this is amazing to me. Trust me when I say we have plenty of poetry books in our home! Is it the month-by-month format that attracts my son to this volume, or the inviting illustrations that make poetry look like so much fun? At any rate, it is a success with Raisin.
You could also invest in the Poetry for Young People series (Sterling Publishing). These books focus on specific authors. Each volume is illustrated by a different artist, and each volume has a gloss for the difficult vocabulary and a note about the poet and poem before each poem for the children to consider as they read it. I love this series!
If you are a homeschooling parent or teacher, quality poetry is a necessary part of your library, even and especially if you just read the poems together. No analysis is really necessary for the younger crowd. Just enjoy it!
To help you out, I’ve also recently posted a Spring and Summer Poetry Collection. It works as an ebook or you can print it in two-page spreads for your classroom or homeschool study needs. It contains 36 classic poems attractively laid out for the young reader to appreciate.
Would you like a free copy for your own personal classroom or homeschool use? The first three people to leave comments on this post will get a free copy of it! Just tell me what poets or poetry anthologies you and/or your children have enjoyed.
Happy poetry month!