Essay on Children's Poetry

Essential Children's Collection: Contemporary Poetry

Two respected children’s literature consultants recommend poetry for school and public library collections.
By The Editors


Ada, Alma Flor. Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English. New York: HarperCollins, 1997.

Alarcon, Francisco X. Poems to Dream Together / Poemas para Sonar Juntos. New York: Lee & Low, 2005.

Bruchac, Joseph. The Earth under Sky Bear's Feet: Native American Poems of the Land. New York: Philomel Books, 1995.

Bruchac, Joseph. Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back: A Native American Year of Moons. New York: Philomel Books, 1992.

Bryan, Ashley. Sing to the Sun: Poems and Pictures by Ashley Bryan. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

Burleigh, Robert. Hoops. New York: Harcourt, 2001.

Ciardi, John. You Read to Me, I'll Read to You. New York: HarperTrophy, 1987.

Dakos, Kalli. If You're Not Here, Please Raise Your Hand: Poems about School. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Fleischman, Paul. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. New York: HarperCollins, 1988.

Florian, Douglas. Beast Feast. New York: Harcourt, 1998.

Florian, Douglas. Bing, Bang, Boing. San Diego: Harcourt, 1994.

Florian, Douglas. Laugh-eteria. New York: Harcourt, 1999.

Florian, Douglas. Omnibeasts: Animal Poems and Paintings. San Diego: Harcourt, 2004.

Florian, Douglas. Winter Eyes. New York: Greenwillow, 1999.

George, Kristine O'Connell. The Great Frog Race and Other Poems. New York: Clarion Books, 1997.

Giovanni, Nikki. Spin a Soft Black Song. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1987.

Giovanni, Nikki. The Sun Is So Quiet. New York: Henry Holt, 1996.

Godwin, Laura. Barnyard Prayers. New York: Hyperion, 2000.

Greenfield, Eloise. Honey, I Love and Other Love Poems. New York: HarperCollins, 1978.

Grimes, Nikki. Meet Danitra Brown. New York: Lothrop, 1994.

Grimes, Nikki. Tai Chi Morning: Snapshots of China. Peru, IL: Cricket Books, 2004.

Heard, Georgia. Creatures of Earth, Sea, and Sky. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills, 1992.

Ho, Minfong. Hush! A Thai Lullaby. New York: Scholastic, 1996.

Hoberman, Mary Ann. Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers: A Collection of Family Poems. Boston: Joy Street Books, 1991.

Hughes, Langston. The Dreamkeeper and Other Poems. New York: Knopf, 1994.

Janeczko, Paul B. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms.Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2005.

Janeczko, Paul B. The Place My Words Are Looking For: What Poets Say About and Through Their Work. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1990.

Janeczko, Paul B. A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 2001.

Katz, Karen. The Colors of Us. New York: Henry Holt, 1999.

Kennedy, X.J., and Dorothy M. Talking Like the Rain: A Read-to-Me Book of Poems. New York: Little Brown, 1992.

Kuskin, Karla. Moon, Have You Met My Mother? The Collected Poems of Karla Kuskin. New York: HarperCollins, 2003.

Kuskin, Karla. So, What's It Like to Be a Cat? New York: Atheneum, 2005.

Lewis, J. Patrick. Please Bury Me in the Library. New York: Harcourt, 2005.

Livingston, Myra Cohn. Celebrations. New York: Holiday House, 1985.

Livingston, Myra Cohn. A Circle of Seasons. New York: Holiday House, 1982.

Livingston, Myra Cohn. Cricket Never Does: A Collection of Haiku and Tanka. New York: Margaret K. McElderry, 1997.

Livingston, Myra Cohn. Poem-making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

McCord, David. Every Time I Climb a Tree. New York: Little Brown, 1999.

Merriam, Eve. Spooky ABC. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2002.

Moore, Lilian. I Never Did That Before: Poems. New York: Atheneum, 1995.

Mora, Pat. Confetti: Poems for Children. New York: Lee & Low Books, 1996.

Morrison, Lillian. Yours Till Niagara Falls: A Book of Autograph Verses. New York: HarperCollins, 1990.

Nelson, Marilyn. Carver: A Life in Poems. Asheville, NC: Front Street, 2001.

O'Neill, Mary. Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Color. New York: Doubleday, 1989.

Opie, Iona. My Very First Mother Goose. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1996.

Pomerantz, Charlotte. If I Had a Paka: Poems in Eleven Languages. New York: Greenwillow, 1982.

Prelutsky, Jack. New Kid on the Block. New York: Greenwillow, 1984.

Prelutsky, Jack. Something Big Has Been Here. New York: Greenwillow, 1990.

Shields, Carol Diggory. Lunch Money and Other Poems about School. New York: Dutton, 1995.

Sidman, Joyce. Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.

Silverstein, Shel. Falling Up: Poems and Drawings. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.

Singer, Marilyn. Central Heating: Poems about Fire and Warmth. New York: Knopf, 2005.

Singer, Marilyn. Turtle in July. New York: Macmillan, 1989.

Soto, Gary. Canto Familiar. San Diego: Harcourt Brace, 1995.

Thomas, Joyce Carol. Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea. New York: HarperCollins, 1993.

Viorst, Judith. If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: Poems for Children and Their Parents. New York: Atheneum, 1981.

Viorst, Judith. Sad Underwear and Other Complications: More Poems for Children and Their Parents. New York: Atheneum, 1995.

Willard, Nancy. A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers. New York: Harcourt, 1981.

Wong, Janet. Good Luck Gold and Other Poems. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books, 1994.

Wong, Janet. This Next New Year. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2000.

Worth, Valerie. All the Small Poems and Fourteen More. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux/Sunburst, 1996.


Sylvia Vardell, Ph.D.
Texas Women's University
School of Library and Information Studies

Bernadette Nowakowski
Director, Children and Young Adult Services
Chicago Public Libraries

More from the Essential Children’s Collection

Contemporary Poetry
Classic Poetry
Out-of-Print Poetry
Poetry Books with Audio
Poetry Written by Children

Originally Published: January 1st, 2006
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