In 1996 April became recognized by the Academy of American Poets as National Poetry Month. During April, readers of all ages take time to celebrate poetry. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world, honoring poetry’s important place in our lives.
Here are some poetry-inspired books for kids to check out this month or add to their reading list for the rest of the year.
Miles from Midtown by Lisa Sukenic
After moving from her beloved Detroit neighborhood to an unfamiliar suburb on the outskirts of the city, Georgia lies to prevent becoming disqualified from a poetry contest (which is for Detroit residents only) by using her aunt Birdie’s address. With her older brother deployed to Vietnam, and her family worried about when—or if—he’ll make it home, Georgia tries to settle into her new life. But she misses the old—her friend Ceci, the cracks in the sidewalk that used to catch her skates, the hide-and-seek tree, and the deli on the corner. She wonders if she’ll ever make new friends or feel like she belongs. To make matters worse, she must also find a way to intercept the contest finalist announcement that will be mailed to Aunt Birdie’s mailbox before her family uncovers her deception. During that summer, Georgia discovers her own resiliency in the face of upheaval and the power of truth when lies ring hollow.
The Way the Cookie Crumbled: and Other Positively Preposterous Poems by Lizzy Judge
The Way the Cookie Crumbled is a new collection of twelve illustrated poems. A wonderful assortment of original, funny stories to entertain and stimulate the imagination, targeted for children ages 8 to 12 years old. Parents will also enjoy the short, playful tales, filled with humor and adventure throughout.
Rhyme Schemer: a Poetic Novel for Anti-Bullying by K.A. Holt
Kevin has a bad attitude. He has a real knack for rubbing people the wrong way. And he's even figured out a secret way to do it with poems. But what happens when the tables are turned and he is the one getting picked on? Using elements of subversive found poetry, Rhyme Schemer is an accessible novel in verse that is both touching and hilarious, and will inspire voracious and reluctant readers alike. It is a celebration of the power of words and their ability to transform lives.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
A lyrical tale of Jude, who never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US—and her new label of “Middle Eastern,” an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises—there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is.
The One Thing You'd Save by Linda Sue Park
When a teacher asks her class what one thing they would save in an emergency, some students know the answer right away. Others come to their decisions more slowly. And some change their minds when they hear their classmates’ responses. A lively dialog ignites as the students discover unexpected facets of one another—and themselves. With her ear for authentic dialog and knowledge of kids’ priorities and emotions, Linda Sue Park brings carefully honed, engaging, and instantly accessible verse.