Poetry month... We certainly don't have to wait all year to read poetry but it's great to have a whole month to celebrate the reading, the sharing, and the writing of poetry.

When and where? Everywhere! Try a verse or two when waiting in line at the grocery store. Memorize a few short ones to surprise and amaze when waiting for those cookies to come out of the oven.

Poetry can rhyme or not, speak to deep emotions or lift us with light language and witty wordplay. Don't miss these recommended favorites in verse available today!

Lisa Von Drasek.


Titles selected by Lisa Von Drasek. All are available in the Bank Street Library.

  • Ages 3+

    Kennedy, X. J. (1992). Talking like the rain: A first book of poems. Boston, MA: Little, Brown.
    Call# J 811.08 T
    Over one hundred poems, some short, some long, in this oversized, lushly illustrated collection. Old favorites like Purple Cow and James James Morrison Morrison share pages with newer and less familiar poems. Exquisitely laid out in categories guaranteed to delight young children and their grownups. Illustrated by Jane Dyer.

  • Ages 5+

    Prelutsky, J. (1993). The dragons are singing tonight. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.
    Call# J 811 P

    I am waiting, waiting, waiting for my dragon egg to hatch,
    I've been waiting, waiting, waiting for a year,
    Ever since I found it hidden in my mother's garden patch--
    Now I think my baby dragon's almost here.

    Nasty dragons, computer dragons, silly and sick dragons, thunder dragons, and pet dragons are gathered together and described in infectious rhyme and accompanied with loving, detailed oil and gouache paintings. Illustrated by Peter Sis.

    George, K. O. (2002). Little dog and Duncan. New York, NY: Clarion Books.
    Call# J 811 G
    The sequel to Little Dog Poems is just as engaging as the original. Duncan, an Irish wolfhound, is sleeping over at Little Dog's. Little Dog's little girl describes the doggy companion's activities in thirty brief, lighthearted poems. Illustrated by June Otani.

    Sierra, J. (2001). Monster Goose. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.
    Call# J 811 S

    Mary had a vampire bat
    His fur was black as night
    He followed her to school one day
    And promised not to bite.

    Horrors! Mother Goose has been turned upside down and inside out. Werewolf Bo Creep, Weird Mother Hubbard, and Little Miss Mummy are just a few of horrible characters contained in this fractured rhyming collection. Frightfully good fun from Sierra. Illustrated by Jack E. Davis.

    Florian, D. (2000). Mammalabilia: Poems and paintings. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.
    Call# J 811 F

    I howl
    I prowl
    My growl is throaty
    I love a vowel
    For I am coyOoote

    Twenty-one short, clever, fun-to-read animal poems accompanied by witty, spirited paintings. Florian, a master of punning and wordplay, will charm readers of all ages. Winner of the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College's 1999 Claudia Lewis Award for best poetry book of the year.

    Janeczko, P. (2001). A poke in the I. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick Press.
    Call# J 811 J
    A concrete poem is one in which the layout of the words depict the concept of the poem. This is a stunning and delightful collection of visual poems. An excellent jumping-off point for teachers and parents who want to emphasize the fun in language play, and yes, kids do try this at home. Illustrated by Chris Raschka.

  • Ages 9+

    Attenborough, E. (Ed.). (2001). Poetry by heart: A child's book of poems to remember. New York, NY: Scholastic, Chicken House.
    Call# J 811 M
    Over 100 poems were selected with the aim of children memorizing them. A poem learned by heart is yours forever. A delightful assortment of gems illustrated by a variety of expressive artists.

    Williams, V. B. (2001). Amber was brave, Essie was smart: The story of Amber and Essie. New York, NY: Greenwillow Books.
    Call# J 811 W
    These short poems are filled with the joyous and sad moments in the lives of two girls whose father is away and whose mother struggles to make ends meet. This is a perfect read-aloud that will be read over and over again.

  • Ages 10+

    Clinton, C. (Ed.). (1998).  I, too, sing America: Three centuries of African American poetry. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.
    Call# J 808.8 I
    This collection, packed with passionate words, resonates with centuries of voices long denied. Recognizable names such as W.E.B. Du Bois, Maya Angelou, Rita Dove, Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka, and Langston Hughes abound, while Lucy Terry's Bars Fight, the first known poem composed by an African-American may be unfamiliar. Clinton provides a concise biography of each of the poets. Alcorn has created dramatic paintings to accompany these literary masterpieces.

    Winner of the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College's 1998 Claudia Lewis Award for best poetry book of the year. Illustrated by Stephen Alcorn.

  • Ages 12+

    Sones, S. (1999). Stop pretending: What happened when my big sister went crazy. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
    Call# 811 S698s & F S
    This series of poems features a thirteen-year-old protagonist whose sister experiences a mental breakdown. The blank verse is sharp and spare, yet captures the anguish of the whole family's suffering.

    Winner of the Children's Book Committee at Bank Street College's 2000 Claudia Lewis Award for best poetry book of the year.