Share That Poem!

Arriving just in time for National Poetry Month (April, if you have been under a rock), is Poems to Learn by Heart, collected by Caroline Kennedy and  illustrated by Jon J. Muth, (Disney/Hyperion, 3/26/13).

Poems to Learn by HeartCaroline Kennedy thrilled us with an anthology of her family’s favorite poems in A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children, (Disney/Hyperion, 2005). She follows up with a delightful collection of poems that are terrific for memorizing. It includes old favorites like Mary Ann Hoberman’s Brother,

I had a little brother
And I brought him to my mother
And I said I want another
Little brother for a change.

Also included is A.A. Milne’s Disobedience that begins “James James Morrison Morrison Weatherby Dupree took great care of his Mother, though he was only three.”

Poems by Langston Hughes, Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, join new ones sure to become classics like Jeff Moss’s If Little Red Riding Hood…,  a delightful imagining of how the storybook character would be instructed in the differences between a wolf and grandma by her dad.

We don’t have to wait all year to read poetry but it’s great to have a whole month to celebrate the reading, the sharing, and the writing of poetry. When and where? Everywhere! Try memorizing a verse or two while waiting in line at the grocery store, or a few short ones while waiting for those cookies to come out of the oven. Begin a class visit or a meeting or an assembly with a poem.

Try celebrating my favorite day of the year, national Poem in Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 18, 2013. The idea is simple: poems are unfolded from pockets throughout the day during events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Select a poem you love during National Poetry Month, then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends or on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.

At Bank Street College of Education, we would paper the hallways of our school with children’s selections. Let us know your plans, projects, and suggestions for Poem in Your Pocket Day by emailing

Need a little help on the poetry front? There is no more practical or current guide than The Poetry Friday Anthology: Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core, by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, an essential purchase.

After the jump, more helpful titles

Poetry Speaks to Children (Book & CD), edited by Elise Paschen, (Sourcebooks)

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart edited by Mary Ann Hoberman, illus. by Michael Emberley, (Little Brown)

Little Dog Poems, Kristine O’Connell George, (HMH/Clarion, OP)

mammalabilia by Doug Florian, (Harcourt)
The Coyote

I Howl
I Prowl
My growl is throaty
I love a vowel
For I am
Coy OOOO teee

Here’s A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry by Jane Yolen, Andrew Fusek Peters and Polly Dunbar, (Candlewick)

National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! Edited by J. Patrick Lewis

Once I Ate a Pie by Patricia MacLachlan, Emily MacLachlan Charest and Katy Schneider, (HarperCollins)

Antarctic Antics: A Book of Penguin Poems, Judy Sierra, illus. by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey, (Harcourt Children’s Books)


It’s been on whole hour since I ate
Why is my dinner always late?
While you and mom procrastinate
I might become a featherweight
You know what I’d appreciate?
Cough it up dad

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