We are beginning a poetry unit with our 4th, 5th and 6th grade students so poetry has been top of mind this weekend. Children’s poetry is rich with gift ideas. Some of the most beautiful collaborations between writer and artist happen in poetry, and poetry books are a wonderful way to introduce children to the interplay between text and illustration. I know kids who will tell you they “don’t like” poetry, but when I show them some poetic song lyrics or a cool concrete poem, they usually express a bit more interest. Poems are about emotions and we all have those.
Any of these books would be lovely gifts:
Switching on the Moon: A Very First Book of Bedtime Poems collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (This book won me over with its cover. The blue is beautiful, isn’t it? All of the poems are about end-of-day rituals and would be perfect to read under the covers.)
In the Wild by David Elliott and illustrated by Holly Meade (A book of short poems and amazing woodcuts for the animal lover)
Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Massee (Here is an excerpt from the School Library Journal review of this incredible book: “This appealing collection based on fairy tales is a marvel to read. It is particularly noteworthy because the poems are read in two ways: up and down. They are reverse images of themselves and work equally well in both directions. The vibrant artwork is painterly yet unfussy and offers hints to the characters who are narrating the poems. An endnote shows children how to create a “reverse” poem. This is a remarkably clever and versatile book.” This one is for older kids – you need to be somewhat familiar with fairy tales for the poems to make sense.
The three books listed above are new, but here are some of my all-time favorites:
A World of Wonders: Geographic Travels in Verse and Rhyme by J. Patrick Lewis
A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout selected by Paul Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka
Poetrees by Douglas Florian
Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman
Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry by Bill Martin and illustrated by Eric Carle
There are others, but it’s late and I need to “switch on the moon” myself.