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Kids’ Book News: National Poetry Month

  • Hear ye, hear ye — April is National Poetry Month! Gather your haikus! Brush up on your iambic pentameter! Dust off that old... wait. Why dust off old poetry books when there's so many fantastic new ones?

    If you read one poetry book this year, make sure it's Here's a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry.Collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, these 61 poems perfectly capture the everyday tribulations of a toddler's life, and we can't stop talking about it.

    David Elliott's On the Farm combines poems, using unique distillations of farm animals' important features, with Holly Meade's visually striking woodcuts. For the older crowd, editor Jan Greenberg's Side by Side: New Poems Inspired by Art from Around the World puts artists and poets literally on the same page.

    For older poetry lovers, our Mary Z. has compiled a few of her favorite young adult poetry books.

  • Millie McDeevit Screamed a Scream... It's hard to talk about poetry month without mentioning the godfather of children's poetry.

    The beauty of Shel Silverstein's poems is the nervous laughter that often follows. For example, the legendary poem "Boa Constrictor," from Where the Sidewalk Ends,, funcomfortably addresses mortality, as the narrator is slowly eaten by a gigantic snake.

    His poetry isn't going out of style, either, evidenced by posthumous releases such as Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook, filled with tongue twisting spoonerisms, and Silverstein's first poetry collection, Don't Bump the Glump!: And Other Fantasies, just re-released with full-color illustrations.

    We also recommend reading the biography A Boy Named Shel: The Life and Times of Shel Silverstein to learn more about this amazing man and his work.

  • Put Your Poem On Our Blog! What? You still need more encouragement to put pen to paper?

    Post your original short poem on our blog before Wednesday, April 30, 2008, and we will randomly pick five names to win a $25 gift cardPost your original short poem on our blog before Wednesday, April 30, 2008, and we will randomly pick five names to win a $25 gift card and a Powell's Kids' Nalgene Water Bottle! (20 lines or fewer, please!)

    Under 13 years of age? Sorry, no one under the age of 13 is allowed to submit their name, email address, or other personal information — so please ask your parent or guardian to post for you.

    Now, get to it!

Books mentioned in this post

  1. Here's a Little Poem: A Very First... Used Hardcover $12.00
  2. Where the Sidewalk Ends Book & CD...
    New Hardcover $22.99
  3. Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook
    Used Hardcover $9.95
  4. Don't Bump the Glump!: And Other... Used Hardcover $10.95

25 Responses to "Kids’ Book News: National Poetry Month"

    Rachael Stein March 19th, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    LIFE SUX, I type.
    OMG, my BFF says back.
    WUT HAPPENED? she adds
    WTF? she responds
    LOL, she types,
    But it’s not funny;
    It never was.

    steve March 20th, 2008 at 1:24 am

    I know how ugly I are
    My face, it ain't no star
    But I do not mind it
    'Cause I am behind it
    You people out front
    Get the jar

    steve March 20th, 2008 at 1:25 am

    This is a haiku:

    Taxis in Tokyo
    Trolling for a passenger
    Always pass me by

    Kay Weeks March 20th, 2008 at 4:00 am

    Rachael, Here's one in response: My poem called "Ground Rules."

    Get down on your hands and knees.
    Do not pray.
    Point your voice directly
    Toward the ground.
    Now dig.
    Do not claw.
    Crumble the clods.
    Release no sounds.
    Breathe deep.
    Smell the dirt, but
    Do not taste.
    There is another way:
    Stretch out flat.
    Do not play dead.
    Go to sleep.
    Let the earth be fed.

    Susan P. Bender March 20th, 2008 at 7:52 am

    The Penguin

    Donning tuxedos
    with waddle and pride.
    Flapping their flippers
    on ice as they slide.

    This black and white world
    is chilly with glee.
    Icebergs for playgrounds
    to loll fancy-free!

    by Susan P.(perhaps for penguin?)Bender

    Maria March 20th, 2008 at 8:10 am

    It's quite amazing what you can do
    Little pebble in my shoe
    To cause me so much pain and woe
    When you're no bigger than my toe

    Melissa March 20th, 2008 at 6:59 pm

    Poems are like therapy
    To those struggling for words.
    The words put forth in poem,
    Might actually be heard.
    Either way you can be sure
    Your poem will give you peace,
    Because it will provide your thoughts
    A safe place to release!

    Rachael Stein March 20th, 2008 at 8:07 pm

    thanks Kay, i guess :D

    i have more poems. but they're kinda long. i will try to find another short one to post.

    i rather like this one. it's untitled.

    The metronome, set to a lively tempo,
    Keeps time with the erratic beating of my heart.
    Sharp staccato notes pierce the silence;
    The virtuoso launches into song.
    Slower now to calm my breathing,
    The melody washed over me
    Like a pure and gentle waterfall.
    A bubble of calm settles over me but cannot stay.
    A mistake, a wrong note spoils the peace.
    The horrified silence is more deafening than the song.
    The musician’s anger in tangible,
    Sheet music is scattered in his rage.
    I rush to pick it up, to find order.
    “Shh,” I whisper and softly hum the melody.
    He takes a deep breath and plays again.

    Anne March 20th, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    A Moving Trip

    Packing boxes
    night and day
    until you whisper
    "I'm going away."

    Without another word
    you leave in the night,
    trying hard
    with all your might

    to not look back
    on the friends you've made
    and all the memories
    that will never be swept


    Will Joy March 21st, 2008 at 10:17 am

    DOGS by Will Joy

    Dogs will have their ways
    Dogs are such amazing pets
    Swiftly fetching sticks

    Miss Erin March 21st, 2008 at 2:53 pm

    A poem I wrote called "dancers".

    they leap, soar
    like gorgeous birds
    no longer frozen to the ground
    like the rest of us

    across the stage
    twirling and dancing
    on pointe, lifted high
    taking my breath with them

    Babs March 22nd, 2008 at 6:36 am

    Autumn 2007
    In the muted light of early morning
    it is not a scarecrow I have found.

    I discovered joy amidst what is and
    nothing more.

    What simple beauty in the multicolored
    leaves that are lying on the ground.

    Release Embrace

    Ask Receive Believe

    Medens Gerbier March 24th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    "Instead of Being Alone"

    You made me a promise
    And I believed your every word
    You pretended to be there for me
    when really you werent

    You acted like you cared
    When the truth was
    All you wanted
    Was to hurt me the most

    I said loved you
    And you claimed you loved me too
    When in reality all you loved
    Was the thought of having me

    Now that I'm gone
    You come running after
    Saying your sorry you hurt me
    Trying to make me believe

    Your scum and I know
    That I dersever better
    Yet I still forgive you
    And now we're back to together.

    Heartache after heartache
    Pain after pain
    I feel as I need these
    Instead of being alone

    Miss Erin April 4th, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    No longer filled with song
    My bones—my home—now empty
    Life no longer stirs
    within my unmoving shell

    I'll miss the bird
    that once perched here in my heart
    now dead, a lifeless body
    within my hollow cage

    Jacqui W. April 16th, 2008 at 12:35 am

    If I could fly
    I'd fly like a

    Using unique skills
    to master the
    uncommon life.

    Creative and beautiful
    Yet out of the

    Penguins fly
    and so do

    Maria April 16th, 2008 at 5:49 am

    a little bird haiku

    freely curious
    watching the twists of a breeze
    until the next game

    Cat Fink April 19th, 2008 at 3:06 pm

    I thought
    if I saw all
    as a joke
    if I wore love
    as a decoration
    if I looked you in the eye
    and never blinked
    if I were strongest
    and quickest
    life would not
    shatter my heart

    Manzanita Craban April 24th, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I am a rock sitting totally still.
    I am the morning sun rising.
    And that's not all I am.
    I am me picking up the salamander
    That I saw yesterday.

    by Manzanita
    Age 6

    ~A~ April 24th, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    hello friend
    hello again
    i see in those familiar eyes
    the sunset of a thousand skies
    every day a new day
    the sun rises gold
    every night moons fall
    a blue dream of old
    in the pulse beneath your skin
    i see the glow of worlds within
    you come in colors
    that paint lyrical hues
    a chorus of laughter
    the dead sing through you
    a piper's call
    it pulls our souls
    teaching me
    teaching you
    how to flow
    with no strings
    but heart strings
    we play the melody
    like some gypsy violin
    it rambles seeking
    over hill
    over glen

    hold on
    let go
    hold on
    let go

    the deep rhythmic boom
    of heart-drum-beat
    it's as easy as breathing
    at the bottom of the sea.

    Cheryl Martel April 25th, 2008 at 6:22 am


    Blotches of blonde with some bright streaks of red;
    various colours on top of her head
    Stubborn insistence - a mind of her own
    Brought to her hair undesirable tone.
    Glimpses of violet, orange and green
    A real work of art ; she’s a picturesque teen!
    Imagine the shock of church members that day
    When she sang with the choir in her "bad hair" way
    The lights hit her hair-do and oh how it gleamed!
    The colours of multiple rainbows, it seemed!
    The stunned congregation just sat back in awe
    At this colourful, brave little teen that they saw.
    So be careful hair-changers whatever your age...
    ... your hair colour, lifestyle or pre-menstral stage.
    Make sure the directions are read on that box
    Or you're sure to end up with some real "unique" locks!

    Laurin Becker April 25th, 2008 at 11:06 am

    minds and printers that desperately want to function but can’t

    “the printer is working!” she exclaims
    in a sing-song voice that automatically strips away credibility
    and i sigh, thinking, why?
    why did we hire another squeaky, incompetent, nail-polish inhaler? why?

    “we say print one copy, and it prints five before blinking
    paper jam
    paper jam
    paper jam
    so we do, and there is no paper jam.
    i don’t think that qualifies as a ‘working printer,’ megan.”

    and she just looks at me,
    i swear,
    just sits there and stares with a chihuahua’s smile
    baring smoker’s teeth and bats her eyes and says,
    “who, where?”

    my lips curve, my knees bend,
    my hand clasps my forehead and i sigh
    as i begin to laugh but stop myself
    because that confused puppy’s face
    looks toward me begging the question,
    why does everyone always laugh at me?
    and i can’t bring myself to laugh.
    i force it down like the imaginary paper
    lodged deep into our fine-functioning printer
    and i say, “okay, megan. that’ll be all for today.”

    Scott Smith April 25th, 2008 at 12:41 pm


    I love the rain;
    shimmering misty or cascading bullets, but especially a soft Irish rain,
    the kind that washes in the sunshine with cool breath.
    The kind of rain you’d like to run out the door and dance naked in.
    If only the neighbours wouldn’t complain.

    A soft Irish rain.
    Tiny droplets of God’s life giving elixir descending from heaven,
    exploding on impact, splashing everything with its baptismal spray,
    washing away the pain of a sin filled world, leaving pools of hope.
    I have faith in the healing power of the rain

    A soft Irish rain.
    Slipping down the window pane.. a peat fire burning on the hearth.
    Two lovers curled on a sheepskin rug ‘neath a blanket of Aran wool
    The soft patter of a thousand-thousand raindrops murmur in their ears.
    Each drop a single note in a passionate refrain.

    A soft Irish rain.

    Donnia Reed April 27th, 2008 at 3:06 am

    I Love You and Good-Bye

    I went to a party,
    And remembered what you said.
    You told me not to drink, Mom
    So I had a sprite instead.

    I felt proud of myself,
    The way you said I would,
    That I didn't drink and drive,
    Though some friends said I should.

    I made a healthy choice,
    And your advice to me was right,
    The party finally ended,
    And the kids drove out of sight.

    I got into my car,
    Sure to get home in one piece,
    I never knew what was coming, Mom
    Something I expected least.

    Now I'm lying on the pavement,
    And I hear the policeman say,
    The kid that caused this wreck was drunk,
    Mom, his voice seems far away.

    My own blood's all around me,
    As I try hard not to cry.
    I can hear the paramedic say,
    This girl is going to die.

    I'm sure the guy had no idea,
    While he was flying high,
    Because he chose to drink and drive,
    Now I would have to die.

    So why do people do it, Mom
    Knowing that it ruins lives?
    And now the pain is cutting me,
    Like a hundred stabbing knives.

    Tell sister not to be afraid, Mom
    Tell daddy to be brave,
    And when I go to heaven,
    Put "Daddy's Girl "on my grave.

    Someone should have taught him,
    That it's wrong to drink and drive.
    Maybe if his parents had,
    I'd still be alive.

    My breath is getting shorter, Mom
    I'm getting really scared.
    These are my final moments,
    And I'm so unprepared.

    wish that you could hold me Mom,
    As I lie here and die.
    These are my last words to you Mom,
    I love you and good bye.

    Matt Motyka April 28th, 2008 at 11:20 am

    My fingers down your hips, I twitch.
    Your soothing gaze is lit, uplifts.

    The dark turns moments into years,
    We’re clenched as one through time,

    Nothing matters this close,
    The feeling sparked and you’re mine,

    Lance April 3rd, 2010 at 6:17 pm


    Two tongues merge as if flesh
    were the only thought. One
    hand slides the length of lips

    enticing shiver. These two will
    fuse. In this replication
    the one cell never divides.

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