Best Poetry Books for Children

Finding the best poetry books for children can be difficult at times, and that is why today I’m sharing a list of my very favorite poetry books for children.  As an avid book reader and poetry lover, I have come across quite a few gems throughout my years of reading.  I am not a fan of all poetry books -they have to meet a certain standard for me.  Personally, I don’t care much for free verse or irregular meter.  I appreciate it when authors take the time to create perfect meter and really make their poems flow.  I love reading poems that have great meter from the beginning. You can just sense the rhythm as you read.

If you’ve had trouble finding great poetry books to read to your children, I hope this list will be a great help to you.  I am sharing the 20 Best Poetry Books for Children and I hope you will love them as much as I have.  Enjoy!

1. “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham

I had to begin my list of the best poetry books for children with a classic.  “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss has long been one of my very favorite books.  The simple rhyme scheme and playful story is one that has delighted children for years and years.  In this story, Sam I Am is trying to convince a quite disinterested character to try green eggs and ham.  He strongly protests – in rhyme of course – but will Sam I Am make him change his mind?

2. “But Not the Hippopotamus (Boynton on Board)” by Sandra Boynton

But Not the Hippopotamus

I have been reading my children this book since they were just babies.  Sandra Boynton has such a great writing style and her books are perfect for babies and young children.  In this simple book, all the animals are having fun together – but not the hippopotamus.  Throughout the book we see the poor, lonely hippo being excluded from all the fun.  Will she ever join the others?  Find out in the delightfully playful story.

3. “Is Your Mama a Llama?” by Deborah Guarino

Is Your Mama A Llama

Lloyd the llama can’t find his mama.  Where could she be? He asks his friends if their mama is a llama, but all of them say she is not.  Will Lloyd ever find his mother?  I’ve loved this book for as long as I can remember.  If your child enjoys picture books, then this is definitely one of the best poetry books for children.  It is simple, sweet, and easy to read. Find the story here.

4. “Time for Bed” by Mem Fox

Time for Bed

“It’s time for bed little cat, little cat.  So snuggle in tight, that’s right, like that.”

My children have always loved this bedtime story by Mem Fox.  This simple story is perfect to read to your child before bed.  In this lovable picture book, it’s time for the baby animals to go to sleep.  The sweet rhymes of each mama animal are sweet and soothing as you put your own child to bed.

5. “Mary Engelbreit’s Mother Goose: One Hundred Best-Loved Verses

Mary Engelbreit's Mother Goose

It’s all your favorite nursery rhymes in a whole new way!  Mary Engelbreit’s beautiful illustrations bring these classic rhymes to life.  This enchanting picture book will captivate your children.  Engelbreit’s pictures are bursting with fun color and lovable characters.  We’ve read this book so many times it’s quite worn and falling apart.  You may have read nursery rhymes before, but you’ve never read them like this.


6. “Falling for Rapunzel” by Leah Wilcox

Falling for Rapunzel

All of my children, from five to fifteen, love the princess books by Leah Wilcox.  They are some of the best poetry books for children – especially girls.  Poetry can be so fun, and Leah Wilcox does an amazing job of showing that with her fun books.  With a creative twist, Wilcox tells the classic fairytales in a whole new way.  This is not your average princess story.  Rapunzel is in no need of rescuing and apparently not hoping for true love.  This silly story will have your children laughing together as you read the story of the hard of hearing rapunzel, her cute maid, and the unfortunate prince who turns out to be quite pleased.


7. “Waking Beauty” by Leah Wilcox

Waking Beauty

You’ve heard of “Sleeping Beauty,” but have you ever read “Waking Beauty” by Leah Wilcox?  Having read and loved her book “Falling for Rapunzel,” we began searching for more of her books.  We were all so delighted to find that she had written another silly princess story.  We all know the prince must kiss the princess to wake her from her sleep, but unfortunately… he doesn’t know that.  Will Sleeping Beauty sleep forever, or will the prince finally understand what the fairies are trying to tell him?


8. “Random House Treasury of Best-Loved Children’s Poems” by Patricia Klein

Treasury of Best Loved Children's Poems

I’ve shared a lot of picture books with you, so I wanted to mix in a few traditional poetry books that I love.  While the books I’ve mentioned above have mostly been stories, this is simply a book of poems.  When my children were very young, they received this book as a gift and we still have it to this day.  The jacket is gone, the cover has torn, but this precious book is still held together by some tape.  This truly is one of the best poetry books for children.  The “Treasury of Best-Loved Children’s Poems” is one of my very favorite poetry books for kids.  The rhymes are perfect for young children and the sweet simplicity of this book makes it great for a beginner in poetry.


9. “Now We Are Six (Winnie-the-Pooh)” by A.A. Milne

Now We Are Six

You may know of Winnie the Pooh, but have you ever read the original books by A. A. Milne?  They are phenomenal!  All of my children absolutely LOVE these books. Winnie the Pooh is a great favorite in our house.  We can’t seem to read one of his books without laughing uncontrollably.  The characters are so lovable, and Pooh is especially endearing.  Because of our great fondness for Winnie the Pooh, we decided to read A. A. Milne’s book of poems.  “Now We Are Six.”  Although these poems are not about Winnie the Pooh or his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood, we still enjoyed them immensely.


10. “A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee” by Chris Van Dusen

A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee

This book was recommended to me by a good friend of mine.  It’s a great rhyming picture book about Mr. Magee and his dog Dee and their adventures while camping.  The illustrations are fun for kids and the silly story will definitely delight your children.


11. “Wild About Books” by Judy Sierra

Wild About Books

“In a flash every beast in the zoo was stampeding, to learn all about this new something called reading.”

I happened to pick up this book one day when we were visiting our library.  Being the book-lover that I am, the title caught my attention.  Sure enough, this book is now one of my very favorites.  I  love everything about it.  The illustrations are so cute, and the story is absolutely wonderful.  When I was creating this list of the best poetry books for children, I knew this had to be on there.  When by mistake the librarian, Molly McGrew, drives her bookmobile into the zoo, the animals get wild about books.  This is a must-read for every child.  Not only does the story encourage children to read, but it may help them learn the names of some animals.


12. “A Child’s Garden of Verses” by Robert Louis Stevenson

A Child's Garden of Verses

Robert Louis Stevenson is one of the classic children’s poets, and so of course I had to include him in the best poetry books for children.  I love that he writes in a way that is relatable to children.  He writes as if he is a child speaking.  His poems are about being tucked into bed, or the little treasures he collected, or the adventures he imagines.  Stevenson’s classic poems are sweet and simple.  My children have always enjoyed them and they are essential in your personal storybook collection.


13. “The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems” by Mary Ann Hoberman

The Llama Who Had No Pajama

I love Mary Ann Hoberman’s books.  “The Llama Who Had No Pajama,” is a collection of her poems about childhood and all things relating to children.  Kids will love reading about “The Birthday Bus,” or “Butterfish Bay” and all the other silly poems in this book.


14. “A House Is a House for Me” by Mary Ann Hoberman

A House Is A House for Me

I loved this book by the very first page.  It is, in my opinion, a poetry classic.  I love the repetitive rhythm of the story and the clever ways she opens a child’s eyes to see that everything has a home.  This beautiful book is the perfect read aloud and a great way to introduce children to poetry.


15. “How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?” by Jane Yolen

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?

“How does a dinosaur say good night when Papa comes in to turn off the light?”

Mom and Dad say it’s time for bed, but will the dinosaurs listen?  My kids loved reading this story about the different dinosaurs and how they might respond when being put to bed.  Will they pout or slam their tail?  Children and parents will enjoy reading the crazy antics of the eleven dinosaurs in this bedtime story.


16. “Favorite Poems Old and New: Selected For Boys and Girls” by Helen Ferris

Favorite Poems Old and New

If you’re only ever going to buy one poetry book, this would it.  I have read many poetry books throughout my life, but if I could only have one, I would choose this collection.  “Favorite Poems Old and New” offers such a vast selection of poems.  You are sure to find at least on poem to your liking.  There is such a great variety in this collection.  The book includes over 700 poems from poets such as William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, and many others.  I believe it is the most comprehensive poetry book for children.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  If you want to begin introducing your child to poetry, be sure to read this book.


17. “Each Peach Pear Plum (Picture Puffins)” by Allan Ahlberg

Each Peach Pear Plum

In this delightfully engaging book, children play “I Spy” with familiar nursery rhyme characters.  Each page features a little poem encouraging the children to find the character hidden in the picture.  With it’s charming illustrations, and simple text, this book is great for beginning readers.  It’s the perfect book to read aloud with your child during story time.  Children will be exposed to simple rhymes while having fun searching for the hidden characters.


18. “The Christian Mother Goose Big Book” by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker

The Christian Mother Goose Big Book

“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall; Humpty Dumpty shouted, “Amen! God can put me together again.”

“The Christian Mother Goose” is a wonderful rendition of the typical nursery rhymes.  I absolutely love it.  Instead of reading silly rhymes that really have no meaning, why not read children beautiful poems that point to our Lord?  I love the positive messages woven into each nursery rhyme.  Marjorie Ainsborough Decker did an amazing job at transforming the common nursery rhymes into praiseworthy poems that retain the fun and silliness of the originals, yet go beyond to teach good lessons, and encourage children.


19. “Mary Had a Little Lamp” by Jack Lechner

Mary Had a Little Lamp

It’s amazing how one letter can make all the difference.

I love books that take a different angle to the usual story.  It’s always fun to see how an author can add a creative twist to a common story.  In “Mary Had a Little Lamp,” Jack Lechner does just that.  You may have heard of Mary and her little lamb that would follow her around, but Mary’s lamp is another story altogether.  Children will love this silly storybook and it will definitely have them laughing by the end.


20. “I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus” by Jack Prelutsky

I've Lost My Hippopotamus

The last book I want to share with you, is one of my all-time favorites.  I believe it was sometime last year that I happened to discover the amazing Jack Prelutsky.  My children absolutely LOVE his poems.  You can’t even imagine how silly they are.  Prelutsky is the first Children’s Poet Laureate, so naturally he’s included on the list of best poetry books for children.  “I’ve Lost My Hippopotamus” was the first book we read by him, and we could barely put it down.  My kids would always beg me to read another one.  Children will love the pure silliness of Prelutsky.  His poems are unlike any other I’ve read.  I love that he maintains perfect meter and uses big words that help build vocabulary.  If you want to start a collection of the best poetry books for children, be sure to include this one.  It’s one you’ll be reading again and again.


I hope you enjoyed this list of the best poetry books for children.  These are all my favorites and I pray that they might bless your family as well.  I am always searching for more great books, and I would love to hear what you favorite poetry books are.  Please leave your recommendations in the comments below.  Thanks!

Best Ways to Introduce Children to Poetry

What are the best ways to introduce children to poetry?  We know poetry is important and very beneficial for children, but how can we expose them to poetry?  Although there are a variety of ideas out there, I’m really excited to be sharing some of my personal favorites with you.  As I continue raising my children to be poetry-lovers, I have found six simple ways to introduce children to poetry.  We’re going to look at each one and understand why these methods are so effective, and how you can implement them in your own life.  Are you ready?  Then let’s get started!

1. Reading Poetry to Children

The Best Ways to Introduce Children to Poetry

There is no better way to expose your child to poetry, than by reading it to them.  Reading kids poetry is at the very top of our list.  If you do nothing else, read your children poetry.  There are so many great poetry books that you can enjoy along with your child.  We already know that reading to our children is important, and when you read them poetry books, it’s an additional benefit.  Hearing the rhythm of the words and seeing the patterns within the text help children to recognize meter and rhyme.

A great habit to establish is  reading your kids poetry every day.  Whether it’s a short poem, a rhyming storybook, or simply a nursery rhyme, fit in whatever you can.  Incorporating poetry books in your story time is a great way to begin introducing your child to poetry.  Next week I’ll be sharing a list of my favorite poetry books for children.  Be sure to check back for that post, I am sharing the best of the best.  Remember, reading kids poetry is one of the best ways to introduce children to poetry.

2. Memorizing Poems

(This is my daughter reading one of the first poems she learned.  It’s so precious to see children enjoying poetry and she was so cute reading this to me.  I hope you enjoy it!)

I love having my kids memorize poems as part of their schooling.  It’s a great way to promote their memory skills, and they get to have fun learning a poem they enjoy.  As you continue reading your child poetry, you may want to advance to this next level.  Once they are continuously reading poetry, they’ll naturally begin to memorize it.  Start with short, simple poems, and grow from their.  Perhaps you can begin my having your child recite poems.  Let them read the poems to you.  Eventually, they will actually memorize the poems.  Poetry is so easy to memorize, and it’s all about finding poems that you love.

3. Writing Poems

As you continue filling yourself with poetry through reading and memorization, it will naturally begin to come out of you.  Fill your child with great poems and fun rhyming storybooks, and watch as they make up silly rhymes of their own.  You could have your child write a poem and draw a picture to go along with it.  Encourage him to write a poem for a  poetry contest.  In the beginning, maybe you start by copying poems you know and love.  Eventually, your child will progress to creating his own.  Either way, this is one of the best ways to introduce children to poetry.

4. Listening to Poetry Songs

The Best Ways to Introduce Children to Poetry

This one method of introducing kids to poetry is often overlooked.  Listening to nursery rhyme songs, is great way to introduce kids to poetry, especially for younger children.  Babies and toddlers love listening to silly music, and if you can find some nursery rhyme songs, or any songs of poetry for your children to enjoy, that’s a great way to expose them to poetry.  Here are a couple links to my favorite CDs for kids:

5. Playing Rhyming Games

The Best Ways to Introduce Children to Poetry

One of the best ways to introduce children to poetry, is by playing rhyming games with them.  If you make poetry fun by incorporating it in games, children will quickly embrace it and begin developing an appreciation for poetry.  Poetry is meant to be fun, so playing poetry games is a great way to show your kids how great poetry can be.  I’m sharing a couple links to give you some ideas of poetry games and activities you can do with your child.

6. Watching MonkiSee Videos

The Best Ways to Introduce Children to Poetry

Another great way to expose your child to poetry is with the MonkiSee videos.  Since I am such a poetry-lover, it has definitely trickled into my business.  I love writing poems for kids, and try to fill the videos I create with great poetry.  I feel that poetry adds a unique element to the MonkiSee DVDs.  I believe that the poetry we include in the MonkiSee videos is one of the main reasons why our videos have helped so many children build their vocabulary.  If you read my post on the benefits of poetry for children, then you know that this is one of the greatest benefits of poetry.  Having your child watch the MonkiSee videos is one of the best ways to introduce children to poetry.

The Best Ways to Introduce Children to Poetry

Depending on the age of your child, I would recommend having them watch one of the MonkiSee videos each day.  If you are introducing your baby to poetry, then the MonkiSee videos are perfect.  They will not only be exposed to poetry, they will learn the alphabet, colors, shapes, familiar first words, body parts, farm animals, and so much more!  If your child is a bit older, perhaps they would enjoy watching MonkiSee “Animals Under the Sea,” or “How God Made Everything.”

Overall, you can use any method you like.  The idea is to continue exposing our children to poetry.  I hope that these ideas were helpful to you.  If you have any ideas on what are the best ways to introduce children to poetry, I would love to hear your thoughts!  Please be sure to comment below and share with us your favorite methods.  Thank you so much!


The Importance of Poetry for Children

Do you know the importance of poetry for children?

How does Shakespeare compare to A.A. Milne? Or William Butler Yeats to Jack Prelutsky?  Seeing their names coupled together might seem ill-placed, but these writers share a common passion – poetry.

The Importance of Poetry for Children

When you think of poetry, what comes to mind?  Do you envision long poems by renowned poets such as Keats, Longfellow, Wordsworth, and the like?  Or do you remember the silly nursery rhymes of your childhood?  What emotions arise when you hear the word “poetry?”

Are you filled with happy memories or a sense of dread? I believe that many times we develop either a fondness or aversion to poetry.  Some may feel it is too complicated to understand or too dull to bother reading.  Or perhaps, poetry is exciting and delightful to you.  You love the rhythmic sound of the words and the precise vocabulary so expertly placed.

As a lover of words, poetry is one of my greatest passions.  Reading, writing, and hearing beautiful poetry is a sweet pleasure to me.  There is nothing like the rhythm of words flowing together to form a story in such rich language. Poetry is such a happy thing.

As my love for poetry has prompted me to read more about poetry and even write poems myself, I have learned much about the importance of poetry for children.

Whether you’re a poet at heart, a curious onlooker, or simply a skeptic, I believe you will be amazed by the wondrous effects of poetry upon children.  In celebration of National Poetry Month, I will be sharing my Poetry for Children Series.  In this series we will look at the importance of poetry for children, the benefits of poetry for children, and how you can include poetry in your child’s daily life.

Let’s get started!

What Is Poetry & Why Is It Important?

Poetry for Children

Throughout time poetry has been a medium for expressing ideas, emotions, and beliefs.  History has been told, legends passed down, and faith strengthened by simple poems written by passionate people.

Poems such as “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” or  “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” bring history to life and truly connect us to the past. Tennyson shares with us the ancient legends of King Arthur in beautiful poetic form and King David strengthens our faith with this powerful psalms.  These are just a few examples of poetry that has had a profound affect upon civilization.

But “What is poetry,” you ask?  Besides rhyming words being strung together to form some sort of story, what is poetry?  In my own words, poetry is the expression of a heart filled passion and love. Whether that be a passion for for justice, or faith; or a love of nature or family. Poetry is our means of expressing our hopes and dreams, emotions and beliefs. It is an intentional expression of the heart. It is the language of the soul.

A literal definition of poetry is “the art of rhythmical composition, written or spoken, for exciting pleasure by beautiful, imaginative, or elevated thoughts.”

Isn’t that lovely?  Poetry is intended to excite our pleasure. It is beautiful and imaginative.  I believe that conveying the beauty and joy of poetry to our children is truly important. This is what we want them to know. Poetry is fun and exciting and beautiful. From a young age we should be exposing our children to poems so that they can develop an appreciation for it. If we wait for schools to introduce our children to poetry, we allow the possibility of confusion or disinterest.

Why not begin now while they are young? Why withhold such a precious gift from your child? As a parent you have the capability to open the door to an incredible world for your child. You have the sole pleasure of sharing the beauty and wonder of poetry with them.

I myself have experienced so much joy in reading and writing poetry with my own children, and I desire the same for you. It is so special to be able to share an appreciation for good rhyme and meter, to get excited together about our favorite poets, and to work together writing our own little poems.

In fact, my love for poetry has even trickled into my business. As I create fun learning products for babies and young children, I can’t help including some form of poetry. All of the MonkiSee videos are filled with rich narration and many little poems are spoken  throughout the videos. I love writing poems for children, and knowing how beneficial poetry is for children, I love filling the MonkiSee videos with lots of poetry. In MonkiSee “ABC RoundUp” I had so much fun writing a poem for each letter of the alphabet.

Perhaps this may sound foreign to you and it remains unclear how poetry applies to you. Are you still wondering why you should bother reading poetry at all? If so, keep reading as we shall explore how poetry affects your children.

How Poetry Applies to Your Children

Reading Poetry to Baby

In this day and age, poetry is not something we give much attention to.  Sadly, it seems as though this special branch of literature is being overlooked and forgotten.  Although we may be exposed to poetry occasionally, it is certainly not anything we are overly concerned about. We expect our children to be introduced to it in school, but beyond that brief period, we have no dealings with it.

However, it is so important that we raise our children to know and love poetry.  As I mentioned earlier, poetry has been a powerful tool used throughout time for extraordinary purposes. It is a form of art that has continued for centuries. There is so much we can learn from poetry and so much we can teach with poetry. It is highly effective for conveying information in a memorable and intimate way.

Raising children to know and love poetry will benefit them  not only in school, but also in their careers, relationships, and day to day life. Poetry will open so many doors for your children throughout their life. As I mentioned earlier, we will be going in-depth about the benefits of poetry in my next post, but for now, just know that the importance of poetry for children cannot be ignored. Once you discover the incredible benefits of poetry for children, you’ll be reading them poems right away.

I believe that the reason children aren’t being read poetry today is because the importance of poetry for children is either unknown or underestimated. While reading to children is definitely encouraged, we aren’t given much direction as to what we should read them. I would encourage you to read your children poetry. Include poetry along with your regular story time favorites. It will be such a blessing to your child.

Now that we’ve covered the importance of poetry for children, it’s time to discover the incredible benefits. Be sure to check back next week to discover the amazing benefits of poetry for children!