Turtle And Robot’s Book List for National Poetry Month

Book Lists are a brand new feature on Turtle and Robot. For my inaugural post I decided to focus on poetry, since April is National Poetry Month and, as far as “National Commemorative” months go, it gets a fair amount of attention. Libraries will likely be highlighting poets and poetry; educators all over the country will be writing curricula about and including poetry.

Shel Silverstein, Dr. Seuss, A. A. Milne, Lewis Carroll, Rudyard Kipling, and Jack Prelutsky are all synonymous with children’s poetry. And there’s a good reason for that, they’re all wonderful (and I consider at least two of them to be geniuses). But the list I’ve compiled—fifty books about, containing or pertaining to poetry—was made to provide some alternatives to that ubiquitous bunch.

 

Poetry Collections

 

I’ll Be You and You Be MeIllBeYou

Ages 4 and up

By Ruth Krauss

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

40 pages

HarperCollins

2001 (reprint)

 

This utterly delightful book should be a staple in any child’s library.

 

Once I Ate a PieOnceIAteaPie

Ages 4 and up

By Patricia MacLachlan

Illustrated by Emily MacLachlan Charest

40 pages

HarperCollins

2010

 

BookSpeak!: Poems About Booksbookspeak

Ages 4 and up

By Laura Purdie Salas 

Illustrated by Josee Bisaillon

32 pages

Clarion Books

2011

 

Dirty BeastsDirtyBeasts

Ages 4 and up

By Roald Dahl

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

32 pages

Puffin

2002 (reprint)

 

Revolting RhymesRevolting Rhymes

Ages 5 and up

By Roald Dahl

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

32 pages

Puffin

2009 (reprint)

 

Moon, Have You Met My MotherMoon

Ages 5 and up

By Karla Kuskin

Illustrated by Sergio Ruzzier

336 pages

HarperCollins

2003

 

Bananas in My EarsBananas-001

Ages 5 and up

By Michael Rosen

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

96 pages

Candlewick

2012

 

I Saw Esaui-saw-esau-001

Ages 5 and up

By Peter and Iona Opie

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

160 pages

Candlewick

1992

 

Ogden Nash’s Zoo Zoo-001

Ages 5 and up

By Ogden Nash

Illustrated by Etienne Delessert

84 pages

Stewart, Tabori and Chang

1987

 

Classic Poetry: An Illustrated CollectionClassicPoetry-001

Ages 8 and up

Edited by Michael Rosen

Illustrated by Paul Howard

160 pages

Candlewick

2009 (reprint edition)

 

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices JoyfulNoise

Ages 8 and up

By Paul Fleischman 

Illustrated by Eric Beddows

44 pages

HarperCollins

2004

 

Poetry for Young People: Maya AngelouMayaAngelou

Ages 8 and up

Edited by Dr. Edwin Graves Wilson Ph.D.

Illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue

48 pages

Sterling Children’s Books

2013

 

This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and ForgivenessThisisJustToSay-001

Ages 8 and up

By Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

48 pages

HMH

2014

 

Poetry for Young People: Langston HughesLangstonHughes

Ages 8 and up

Edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad

Illustrated by Benny Andrews

48 pages

Sterling Children’s Books

2013

 

God Got a DogGodGotaDog-001

Ages 10 and up

By Cynthia Rylant

Illustrated by Marla Frazee

48 pages

Beach Lane Books

2013

 

I absolutely love this book.

 

Telling a Story through a Poem, or This Whole Book is a Poem

 

Hurry, Hurry Mary DearHurryHurry

Ages 4 and up

By N.M. Bodecker

Illustrated by Erik Blegvad

32 pages

Margaret K. McElderry Books

1998

 

Squeak, Rumble, Whomp! Whomp! Whomp!SqueekRumbleWhomp

Ages 4 and up

By Wynton Marsalis 

Illustrated by Paul Rogers

40 pages

Candlewick

2012

 

I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery TailI SawaPeacock

Ages 7 and up

Illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti

56 pages

Tara Books

2012

 

The JumbliesTheJumblies-001

Ages 8 and up

By Edward Lear

Illustrated by Edward Gorey

48 pages

Pomegranate

2010 (reprint)

Edward Lear may still be a popular choice but it’s important to me that readers know about this Edward Gorey illustrated edition.

 

My Brother’s BookMyBrothersBook-001

Ages 10 and up

By Maurice Sendak

32 pages

HarperCollins

2013

 

This book—the last Sendak completed before his death in 2012— is an homage to his brother, whom he credits for his love of drawing.

 

Poetry with an Urban Flair

 

The Neighborhood Mother Gooseall content created for Nina Crews children's books no other usage allowed without permission.

Ages 4 and up

By Nina Crews

64 pages

Greenwillow

2003

 

Lively illustrations are incorporated into photographs of children in city settings.

 

Meet Danitra BrownMeetDanitraBrown

Ages 5 and up

By Nikki Grimes 

Illustrated by Floyd Cooper

32 pages

HarperCollins

1997

 

Harlem0-590-54340-7

Ages 6 and up

By Walter Dean Myers

Illustrated by Christopher Myers

32 pages

Scholastic Press

1997

Caldecott Honor Book

 

Hip Hop Speaks to ChildrenHipHopSpeaks

Ages 7 and up

By Nikki Giovanni

Illustrated by Michele Noiset, Jeremy Tugeau, Kristen Balouch, Damian Ward, Alicia Vergel de Dios

80 pages

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

2008

 

Here in Harlem: Poems in Many VoicesHereInHarlem-001

Ages 12 and up

By Walter Dean Myers

88 pages

Holiday House

2004

 

Other Poetic Forms

 

If It Rains Pancakes: Haiku and Lantern PoemsIfitRainsPancakes.jog-001

Ages 5 and up

by Brian P. Cleary 

Illustrated by Andy Rowland

32 pages

Millbrook

2014

 

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible VerseMirrorMirror-001

Ages 6 and up

By Marilyn Singer

Illustrated by Josee Masse

32 pages

Dutton

2010

 

A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete PoemsAPokeintheEye

Ages 6 and up

Edited by Paul B. Janeczko

Illustrated by Chris Raschka

48 pages

Candlewick

2005

 

A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic FormsAKickintheHead-001

Ages 8 and up

Compiled by Paul B. Janeczko 

Illustrated by Chris Raschka

64 pages

Candlewick

2009

 

Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single WordLemonade

Ages 8 and up

By Bob Raczka 

Illustrated by Nancy Doniger

48 pages

Square Fish

2013 (reprint)

 

Picture Books about Poets

 

EmilyEmily

Ages 4 and up

By Michael Bedard

Illustrated by Barbara Cooney

40 pages

Dragonfly

2002 (reprint)

 

The same artist who graced the world with Miss Rumphius gorgeously illustrates this fictionalized account of a young girl meeting Emily Dickinson.

 

A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced TravelersWilliamBlakesInn

Ages 5 and up

By Nancy Willard

Illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen

48 pages

HMH

1982

 

Walt Whitman: Words for America WaltWhitmanWordsforAmerica

Ages 7 and up

By Barbara Kerley 

Illustrated by Brian Selznick

56 pages

Scholastic

2004

 

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos WilliamsRiverofWords

Ages 7 and up

By Jen Bryant 

Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

32 pages

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers

2008

 

The DreamerTheDreamer

Ages 10 and up

By Pam Muñoz Ryan

Illustrated by Peter Sís

400 pages

Scholastic

2012

 

Tools for Writing Poetry

 

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book EverBestWordBook

Ages 3 and up

By Richard Scarry

70 pages

Golden Books

1999 (reprint)

 

A First ThesaurusFirstThesaurus-001

 

Ages 6 and up

By Harriet Wittels

128 pages

Golden Books

2001

 

Merriam-Webster’s Rhyming DictionaryRhymingDictionary

Ages 6 and up

224 pages

Federal Street Press

2011

 

 Words, Wit, and Wonder: Writing Your Own PoemWordsWitWonder

Ages 6 and up

By Nancy Loewen 

Illustrated by Christopher Lyles

32 pages

Picture Window Books

2009

 

Pizza, Pigs, and Poetry: How to Write a PoemPigsPizzaandPoetry

Ages 8 and up

By Jack Prelutsky

2008 pages

Greenwillow

2008

 

Though this book is by Jack Prelutsky (whom I said would not be included) is not a book of poetry but instead a very helpful guide to writing poetry.

 

Books about Words

 

13 Words13Words

Ages 4 and up

By Lemony Snicket 

Illustrated by Maira Kalman

40 pages

HarperCollins

2010

This was one of my favorite picture books of 2010. See Turtle And Robot’s review here.

 

Max’s Words MaxsWords

Ages 4 and up

By Kate Banks 

Illustrated by Boris Kulikov

32 pages

FSG

2006

 

Sparkle and Spin: A Book About WordsSparkleandSpin

Ages 4 and up

By Ann Rand and Paul Rand

40 pages

Chronicle

2006

Not the same author of The Fountainhead fame, she spells it Ayn.

 

The Boy Who Loved WordsBoyWhoLovedWords

Ages 4 and up

By Roni Schotter 

Illustrated by Giselle Potter

40 pages

Schwartz and Wade

2006

 

I Scream! Ice Cream!: A Book of WordlesIScreamIceScream

Ages 4 and up

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal 

Illustrated by Serge Bloch

40 pages

Chronicle

2013

 

Books That Include Poetry in their Stories

 

Frederick Frederick

Ages 3 and up

By Leo Lionni

32 pages

Dragonfly Books

1973

 

This is another book that should be a staple in every child’s library.

 

The Van Gogh CaféVan Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant

Ages 6 and up

By Cynthia Rylant

64 pages

HMH

2006 (reprint)

 

In Chapter 3, “Lightening Strikes,” the cafe (whose only connection to Van Gogh is in the name) is struck by lightning and the food starts cooking itself. And it does so perfectly. Marc, the owner, doesn’t immediately notice because he has been spending every moment of his day writing poems; poems which, it’s soon realized, are accurately predicting the future.

See Turtle And Robot’s full review here.

 

Sam Samurai SamSamurai

The Time Warp Trio Series, Book #10

Ages 7 and up

By Jon Scieszka 

Illustrated by Adam McCauley

96 pages

Puffin

2004

 

Each book opens with a brief synopsis of the basis of the Time Warp Trio (three boys that, usually unwittingly, travel through time) so readers need not know other books in the series.

 

The Bat-PoetBatPoet

Ages 8 and up

By Randall Jarrell 

Illustrated by Maurice Sendak

48 pages

HarperCollins

1996

 

The HobbitTheHobbit

Ages 8 and up

By J.R.R. Tolkien

300 pages

HMH

2012 (reprint)

 

 

 

3 Responses so far

  1. 1

    What a wonderful list! I see a few that I’m not familiar with and will need to check them out. Thank you!

  2. 2

    Sarah said,

    I love a list! My only problem after reading this post now is that I want to buy 50 books instead of one! Will pay a visit to the library tomorrow instead. Thanks Jenn!

  3. 3

    G.B. Koening said,

    Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak were an amazing team.

    Great pick. :)


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