Slice of Life: Poetry Collections I Love


“Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings.”
United Nations website
World Poetry Day announcement

Last week I shared a list of my favorite read-alouds. I realized, though, that there was no poetry on that list! Because poetry is meant to be read aloud, and because National Poetry Month is right around the corner, I decided poetry deserved its own list.

Early in my teaching career, my poetry collection consisted of Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends, Jack Prelutsky’s The New Kid on the Block, and The Random House Book of Poetry. Thanks to the Scholastic book order, my collection started expanding to include collections by individual poets. My choices tended toward poetry about animals and nature, and Kristine O’Connell George and Marilyn Singer quickly became favorites.

Today my poetry collection takes up two long shelves in my bookcase. Here are a few of my favorites, both old and new.

Edited anthologies with selections by many poets:

Piping Down the Valleys Wild, edited by Nancy Larrick
Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young, edited by Jack Prelutsky
National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis
National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry, edited by J. Patrick Lewis
Another Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by More NCTE Award Winning Poets, edited by Beatrice Cullinan & Deborah Wooten
Knock at a Star: A Child’s Introduction to Poetry, edited by X.J. Kennedy
A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, edited by Paul B. Janeczko
The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination, edited by Mary Ann Hoberman
A Pet for Me: Poems, edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins (any collection edited by Hopkins is a treasure; Don’t miss Renée LaTulippe’s wonderful spotlight on him here.)
Any of the Poetry Friday Anthologies, edited by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

Collections by individual poets:

A Writing Kind of Day, by Ralph Fletcher
Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, by Paul Fleischman
Hailstones and Halibut Bones, by Mary O’Neill
A Stick is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play, by Marilyn Singer (Marilyn’s collections of reversos are also not to be missed!)
A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, by Naomi Shihab Nye
An Egret’s Day, by Jane Yolen
In the Spin of Things: Poetry of Motion, by Rebecca Kai Dotlich
You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You, by Mary Ann Hoberman (any book in this series)
Everything is a Poem: The Best of J. Patrick Lewis, by J. Patrick Lewis
Handsprings, by Douglas Florian
When the Sun Shines of Antarctica, by Irene Latham

This list just scratches the surface of the multitudes of wonderful poetry collections available from these poets and more. My 2015 Picture Book 10 for 10 post features more of my favorites.

Books for teachers and students about poetry:

Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School, by Georgia Heard
For the Good of the Sun and the Earth: Teaching Poetry, by Georgia Heard
Poetry Matters, by Ralph Fletcher
Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspiration for Young Poets, edited by Paul B. Janeczko
Pass the Poetry, Please!, by Lee Bennett Hopkins 

There are also many websites that feature poets, poetry, and ideas for teaching poetry. A Year of Reading, Mary Lee Hahn and Franki Sibberson’s must-read blog, lists links to the weekly Poetry Friday Roundup. This is a great place to begin learning more about all things poetic.

(Edited to add) Here’s another great resource from Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s top-notch blog, The Poem Farm: NCTE’s 2016 Notable Poetry List

What are your favorite poetry collections and resources?

 Thank you to StaceyTaraDanaBetsyAnnaBeth, Kathleen, and Deb for this space for teachers and others to share their stories each Tuesday throughout the year and every day during the month of March. Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers to read more Slice of Life posts.

7 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Poetry Collections I Love

  1. I have many of these, Catherine, still love Piping Down The Valleys Wilde. Another favorite with so many included is the book simply called The Kingfisher Book of Children’s poetry, includes poems for all ages. Thanks for the lists, reminds me of a few I’d forgotten.


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