For some young readers, poetry offers an exciting peek into the world of wordplay, rhyme, and rhythm, allowing them to unlock new ways of engaging with language. For others, poetry provides a new pathway into the world of storytelling.
Along with these benefits, the best children’s poetry also supplies stimulating vocabulary to make a lasting impression on your child’s literacy and memory. Poetry, in all its unique harmony and dissonance, is a fantastic genre to help young readers improve their lexicon and strengthen their spirits. The best children’s poetry books for your child await—so prepare your snapping fingers!
Every Color of Light
By Hiroshi Osada and Ryoji Arai
Bedtime readers will welcome this peaceful story of a calm that pervades in the aftermath of a turbulent storm. (No shortage of life-relevant metaphors here.) As the moon rises and the forest goes to sleep, your child will be enveloped by the lyrical text—perfect for crafting their own soothing lullabies. This dazzling portrayal of the natural world also makes a wonderful guide for your 3- to 5-year-old’s first ventures into independent reading, especially with its vivid illustrations for guided context.
No Buddy Like a Book
By Allan Wolf and Brianne Farley
Young balladeers and bards will delight in this enchanting invitation to a lively party honoring the power of the written word. Perhaps your young adventurer hopes to bottle moonlight, drift down the Nile, or even ascend Everest. In that case, this buoyant tale will have them boldly sounding out new words and discovering their reading confidence (just over the Arctic icebergs and beyond the African antelopes). The pleasant limericks and encouraging new friends contained within these pages definitively prove that anything is possible in the world of books.
The Stuff of Stars
By Marion Dane Bauer and Ekua Holmes
Calling all admirers of stars and souls! This awe-inspiring story of the very big and the very small connects the birth of our universe to the birth of humankind. Breathtaking illustrations paint the stars of life that ignited in our galaxy from ancient origins. Bauer and Holmes’s bound masterpiece on time and space offers an inspiring setting for your reader to practice remembering the chronological sequence of stories and sounding out new interstellar words. (It’ll also set them up for even more picture books.)
By Betsy E. Snyder
Introduce baby readers to the world of the best children’s poetry and to their first poetic form: the Japanese haiku! Sweet smiles emanate from this collection of poems that celebrate seasons, animals, and the elements. Give baby the opportunity to build page-turning confidence as they engage with illustrations and practice their alphabet in the accompanying rhymes. When your little learner has mastered the 5-7-5, hand Haiku Baby down to a new mom-to-be and spread the learning fun!
By Kwame Alexander and Dawud Anyabwile
For 5th- to 8th-grade readers who have grown up embracing the refrain “ball is life” comes a plucky tale of friendship, teamwork, and hooping. This award-winning bestseller seamlessly packages important themes of family and fairness into a fastbreak plot. Whipsmart hip hop-inspired wordplay keeps the story in motion and the pages turning. A serenade to sports and the narratives they inspire, The Crossover contains infectious energy and poetic prowess that will win over even the most reluctant readers.
One Thing You’d Save
By Linda Sue Park and Robert Sae-Heng
This mind-stretching title with pleasing colored-pencil illustrations poses the question: If your house were on fire, what one thing would you save? Your elementary-school philosopher will enjoy puzzling over their own answer as they encounter a series of poems that capture a diverse array of peer responses. (Spoiler alert: each answer is thoughtful, groundbreaking, and terrifically beautiful.) You’ll love watching your reader think abstractly as they gain a new perspective on gratitude, love, and what matters most to them. And when they’re hooked on abstract thinking, turn their attention to these enticing chapter books.
Uncover the Best Children’s Poetry with Literati Book Clubs
Our list of the best children’s poetry runs the gamut of age groups, forms, and illustration styles to suit a legion of blossoming Elizabeth Bishops, Amanda Gormans, and Rupi Kaurs. But this is just the tip of the quill.
At Literati, we take pride in developing a ledger of the highest-quality books to support your child’s emotional and linguistic development and promote new skills across every school subject. For our Literati Kids Book Club members, our band of bibliophiles ships a box of curated books to your doorstep. Then, the real fun begins.
Start with our quick personalization quiz to tell us about your young explorer, and get ready to open their doors to a brand new literary world.