As an elementary librarian, I am always on the lookout for books that will interest my readers, keep them engaged, and at the same time, leave them wanting more. This sounds so simple on paper, but it is definitely a huge endeavor. With that, I have created a Poetry Virtual Library to share with you to kickstart Poetry Month all during the month of April.
Our Virtual Library includes some classics, such as Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen, and The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein. In addition, it also includes some books that many might not think of as poetry since it looks more like a picture book than a typical poem. However, many, many picture books are actually indeed poems eloquently spread across 24 pages with lots of exciting illustrations along the way. Please enjoy our list of Poetry Books for the month of April.
Book #1: Owl Moon, by Jane Yolen
Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird. But there is no answer. Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don’t need words. You don’t need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn’t an owl, but sometimes there is.
Distinguished author Jane Yolen has created a gentle, poetic story that lovingly depicts the special companionship of a young child and her father as well as humankind’s close relationship to the natural world. Wonderfully complemented by John Schoenherr’s soft, exquisite watercolor illustrations, this is a verbal and visual treasure, perfect for reading around and sharing at bedtime.
Book #2: 16 Words, by Lisa Rogers
This simple nonfiction picture book about the beloved American poet William Carlos Williams is also about how being mindful can result in the creation of a great poem like “The Red Wheelbarrow”–which is only sixteen words long.
“Look out the window. What do you see? If you are Dr. William Carlos Williams, you see a wheelbarrow. A drizzle of rain. Chickens scratching in the damp earth.” The wheelbarrow belongs to Thaddeus Marshall, a street vendor, who every day goes to work selling vegetables on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey. That simple action inspires poet and doctor Williams to pick up some of his own tools–a pen and paper–and write his most famous poem.
In this lovely picture book, young listeners will see how paying attention to the simplest everyday things can inspire the greatest art, as they learn about a great American poet.
Book #3: I Got the Rhythm, by Connie Schofield-Morrison
On a simple trip to the park, the joy of music overtakes a mother and daughter. The little girl hears a rhythm coming from the world around her- from butterflies, to street performers, to ice cream sellers everything is musical! She sniffs, snaps, and shakes her way into the heart of the beat, finally busting out in an impromptu dance, which all the kids join in on! Award-winning illustrator Frank Morrison and Connie Schofield-Morrison, capture the beat of the street, to create a rollicking read that will get any kid in the mood to boogie.
Book #4: Water Can Be, by Laura Purdie Salas
Water can be a . . .
• Thirst quencher
• Kid drencher
• Cloud fluffer
• Fire snuffer
Find out about the many roles water plays in this poetic exploration of water throughout the year.
Book #5: Wet Cement, by Bob Raczka
Who says words need to be concrete? This collection shapes poems in surprising and delightful ways.
Concrete poetry is a perennially popular poetic form because they are fun to look at. But by using the arrangement of the words on the page to convey the meaning of the poem, concrete or shape poems are also easy to write! From the author of the incredibly inventive Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word comes another clever collection that shows kids how to look at words and poetry in a whole new way.
Book #6: The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.”
So begins a story of unforgettable perception, beautifully written and illustrated by the gifted and versatile Shel Silverstein. This moving parable for all ages offers a touching interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.
Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave. This is a tender story, touched with sadness, aglow with consolation.
Book #7: Imagine, by Juan Felipe Herrera
A buoyant, breathtaking poem from Juan Felipe Herrera — brilliantly illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo — speaks to every dreaming heart.
Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school. And when he grew up, he became the United States Poet Laureate and read his poems aloud on the steps of the Library of Congress. If he could do all of that . . . what could you do? With this illustrated poem of endless possibility, Juan Felipe Herrera and Lauren Castillo breathe magic into the hopes and dreams of readers searching for their place in life.
Want any more poetry? Grab our NEWEST Spring Bulletin Board with Spring Writing Prompts and Spring Writing Papers today.
We hope you have enjoyed discovering so many beautiful poetry books. The next time you have a few extra minutes in your schedule, grab a poetry book or a eloquently written picture book to read aloud to your students, no matter the age. These few minutes of reading give them an escape and teaches tons of figurative language all in the same amount of time. As I always say to my older students when they say they are too old for such, I remind them that children didn’t write these beautiful stories, but grown ups who have learned to appreciate the magic of a well written story, or in our case, a poem.