This is reposted with (my) permission from my other blog A Year With Mom and Dad!
I'll admit I have grown to love children's poetry (sophisticated verse created for little ones, not just silly rhymes!) a bit more than "grown-up" poetry. It's light, lyrical, well-crafted, and still conveys deep and poignant messages. Here's a few of my favorite poetry books for children.
Toasting Marshmallows by Kristen O'Connell George
Come along with a girl and her family through an entire camping experience - from pitching tent, to fishing her little brother out of the lake, to discovering abandoned cabins and cars in the woods,... and of course, to toasting marshmallows by the fire. The writing is light, lyrical, and conveys a strong sense of setting. You can hear the owl's "one lone vowel," sense the vastness of a "small me...staked to a huge planet," see the "scribbles" of the "river messages." Listen to some excerpts.
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Verse novels are one of my favorite "new genres" of writing. Love That Dog is a novel written in poetry (verse) that tells the story of a boy named Jack who hates poetry... yet, he's struggling to tell the story of his dog, Sky. As his teacher offers him poems to try on for size, he finds a way to share the whole story of his dog through poetry. I love how a selection of great, well-known poetry is presented throughout the novel, and readers can learn a little bit of poetic styling as Jack attempts to understand and emulate each poem. The end of the book includes the original poems that Jack studies in class. (I'd recommend this book for 3rd grade and up). Read an excerpt.
Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher
Fletcher is a gold mine of an author - writing in a range that extends from this picture book poem, to chapter book novels, to handbooks for parents and teachers to learn and teach writing! I'm a huge fan as a writer, teacher, and book-lover! Twilight Comes Twice is not only gorgeously illustrated, but the poem describes the day from sun up to sun down in magical free-verse stanzas. Watch as the words paint the picture: "With invisible arms, dawn erases the stars from the blackboard of night..." (gorgeous, right?). Full of repetition, personification, simile, and stunning imagery, this is a poem you'll want to share with your children (and savor for yourself) over and over. The entire book is one poem, presented stanza by stanza on each page, so to a child, it may not even seem like poetry - a great way to sneak in a little beautiful verse without them flinching!
What's your favorite poetry book, poem, poetic author you like to read to your children? (Check your picture books - you'll be surprised to find so many are actually poems in illustrated disguise!).