30 Essential Poetry Books for Kids in Grades Pre-K–12

Whether participating fully in the National Poetry Month in April or compulsorily staging poetry as part of your class reading activity, here are some 30 of our favorite poetry books we gathered for kids in Pre-K grades. All of which can be used as guide text. Some of them consist of teaching tips and practices. These poems range from hilarious sillies to praises of the natural world and tender aged poems, and everyone has a piece to feast on. 

  1. The Jackie Morris Book of Classic Nursery Rhymes- Jackie Morris (PreK-2)

Distribute all the old custom rhymes you can recall from childhood with your students with this awesomely illustrated treasury. The beginning makes a good ordeal for constantly sharing nursery rhymes with young kids in the world today. 

  1. Daniel Finds a Poem- Micha Archer (PreK-2)

On seeing a sign, “Poetry in the Park,” Daniel asks, “What is poetry?” His past encounters provide:

  • An answer.
  • Various examples of poetic lines.
  • A generous introduction to poetry writing for children.     
  1. One Leaf Rides the Wind- Celeste Mannis (K–2)

Set in the serene Japanese garden are eleven poems. This book introduces the haiku type of poetry to young minds. 

  1. A New Green Day- Antoinette Portis (K-3)

Every page of this book reveals the subject of a concise but powerful verse about nature. This book has lines that could inspire students to write their poems similarly.     

  1. Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins (K-5)

Kiyoshi was amazed at how his grandfather, a well-decorated haiku poet, got his poetry. His grandfather tells his sagacity with a poetry-filled tour around the city environment. See this blog post from the author for good poetry instructing tips. 

  1.  The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems- Mary Ann Hoberman (1–4)

An exciting treasury of poetry. It includes many topics, including family, play, and animals. 

  1. A Full Moon is Rising- Marilyn Singer (K–5)

This is a series of poems that examines the rich traditions of celebrating the moon at its fullest as it transverse across our sky and is a festival of culture, poetry, science, and geography.     

  1. Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer by Elizabeth Steinglass (1-5)

Do your students dislike the idea of poetry? Persuade them with a collection of poems about a fascinating topic. This collection has so much fun-filled, smart, poetic language about all soccer details. 

  1. Follow the Recipe: Poems About Imagination, Celebration & Cake- Marilyn Singer (1–5)

This series adopts the circumstances of cooking and having pleasure from food to share captivating poems on various themes. We prefer “Recipe for Disaster” and “Recipe for Memories.” 

  1. Where the Sidewalk Ends- Shel Silverstein (1–5)

The start point to a Shel Silverstein addiction. One of seven Silverstein poetry series that readers of different ages have enjoyed.     

  1. Ice! Poems About Polar Life by Douglas Florian (1-5)

The author of this book is best at creating magical, punny imagery in his collection of poems for kids. This exciting collection instructs kids about the landscape and the animals of the North and South Poles while developing their interest in poetry.

  1. Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl (1–5)

This book rivals the six best tales that are classic Roald Dahl. Each of them stars Dahl’s darkly comic pattern and an unexpected ending. Should your students enjoy this book, they might also pick interest in Vile Verses and Dirty Beasts.  

  1. Black is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy (1-4)

The festival of blackness, painted in the verse, can be admired for its poetic content and language. Show your students how poems can relay important messages in awesome ways.    

  1. Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown by Malathi Michelle Iyengar (1–5)

A lot of pretty shades of brown! Children will surely love these saucy poems. 

  1. Science Verse by Jon Scieszka (2–5)

A poetry series on science is hard to find. This book holds you spellbound from start to finish and can invigorate creativity.  

  1. Spi-Ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs- Leslie Bullion (2-5)

Got a spider-fan in your class? Intimate them with these compositions of nonfiction details and attractive verses about all sorts of arachnids. 

  1. Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph by Roxanne Orgill (2–7)

This poem collection is motivated by the triumphs of 1950s Harlem Jazz. These poems were a tribute to one of the popular musicians of that notable age.      

  1. Sad Underwear and Other Complications: More Poems for Children and Their Parents by Judith Viorst (2–6)

This series title already defines the tone for these admirable poems that examine childhood demands.

  1. A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems edited by Paul B. Janeczko (1–4)

Alternatively called word pictures or visual poetry, concrete poems portray beautiful words and opinions in shape form. These inventive examples designed by the magnificent Chris Raschka will undoubtedly motivate your young poets.  

  1. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (2–7)

These poems are two-part, ideal for those who already love poetry and new readers alike.        

  1. It’s Raining Pigs and Noodles by Jack Prelutsky (K–5)

Jack is a proven master of tongue-twisting, silly, interesting poems kids love. 

  1. Wet Cement: A Mix of Concrete Poems by Bob Raczka (3–6)

Another great piece of artwork to add to your elementary school collection. 

  1. Once I Laughed My Socks Off- Steve Attewell (2–5)

This exciting collection inspires reluctant kids to love poetry and be amazed at the mysteries of words. 

  1. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano (K–5)

This series is filled with beautiful pictures of nature. Also, it features poems that show different emotions due to changing seasons.  

  1. Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys- Bob Raczka (K–3)

Placed in each of the four seasons, each haiku tells of a boy riding in errors while experiencing nature. As the author opined, “Nature is a place where guys love to be.”    

  1. My Thoughts Are Clouds: Poems for Mindfulness by Georgia Heard (3-8)

The combo of poetry and mindfulness fits so well. Both should be taught with this unique book.     

  1. Freedom Over Me- Ashley Bryan (3–8) 

Very commanding portraits of eleven people sold into slavery. Their experiences signify the importance of life experiences and dreams that nothing can deny. 

  1. My Life as a Goldfish and Other Poems- Rachel Rooney (3–8)

A book full of laughter and surprises is an award-winning book by Rachel Rooney and is seen by certain reviewers as “a box of joy and laughter.”    

  1. How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers edited by The American Poetry and Literacy Project (3–8)

This series presents a good sampling of poetry from the 19th century. It also presents various styles, themes, and types for students to examine.    

  1. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms compiled by Paul B. Janeczko (3–9)

This collection covers a variety of poems with a guidebook to instructing poetic forms. It also discusses at length 29 forms and provides awesome examples. 

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