April is National Poetry Month

Book Recommendations

April is National Poetry Month. I often use this month to help remind myself how beautiful a poem can be, and I want to highlight some of my favorites.

The New Kid on the BlockIn second grade, my favorite book was Jack Prelutsky's The New Kid on the Block. Prelutsky, the first National Children's Poet Laureate is tremendously funny, and he also happens to have a great website filled with activities and music.

DinothesaurusI also enjoy poetry about unexpected topics. Charles R. Smith has written several books of poetry for children, and Hoop Kings and Hoop Queens are two of my favorites, because of the way they use the unexpected form of poetry to tell stories about famous basketball players.

Because of the topic, they're great picks for more reluctant readers! I like Douglas Florian's books for similar reasons - lots of kids love dinosaurs and bugs, so why wouldn't they also love Dinothesaurus and Insectlopedia?

And Still I RiseChildren aren't alone, though: there's beautiful poetry out there for adults. The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock may be one of the most perfect things I've ever read, and there's more where that came from in Eliot's Collected Poems.

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou is my favorite of her poems, but there are many more great ones in her collections, as well.

And I must admit I've never read anything by current U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Tretheway, but this month may be a great time to start! Her most recent collection, Thrall, may be next on my list.

You can learn more about National Poetry Month at poets.org. If you're interested in writing some poetry of your won, there are some poetry forms to get you started at the Educational Technology Training Center.

-- Ms. Sho, Children's Librarian