40 Eclectic Poetry Books for Kids in Grades Pre-K Through 12

Something for everyone!

Poetry books for kids including Courage Out Loud and Watch Me Bloom.
We Are Teachers; Amanda Merriweather via Amazon reviews; Kristin via Amazon reviews

Sharing poetry in the classroom can spark so many awesome class conversations, whether you’re tackling required standards, celebrating National Poetry Month in April, or just enjoying poetry as part of your class’s reading diet. There are so many fantastic poetry books for kids and teens that it can be hard to choose! To help you out, we’ve gathered our recent favorite (and a few classic) poetry books for kids of all ages. They’re great for reading aloud, using as reading or writing mentor texts, exploring in small groups, or for independent reading. Some even include poetry teaching information and built-in activities and lessons.

Best Poetry Books for Kids in Primary Grades

Book cover for Daniel Finds a Poem
Amazon

1. Daniel Finds a Poem by Micha Archer

When Daniel sees a sign for “Poetry in the Park,” he asks, “What is poetry?” His experiences provide an answer, lots of sample poetic lines, and a great entry point into writing poetry for young students.

Buy it: Daniel Finds a Poem on Amazon

Book cover for The Jackie Morris Book of Classic Nursery Rhymes as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

2. The Jackie Morris Book of Classic Nursery Rhymes by Jackie Morris

Share all the traditional nursery rhymes you remember from childhood with your young students with this beautifully illustrated treasury. The introduction makes a great case for continuing to share nursery rhymes with kids in today’s world too.

Buy it: The Jackie Morris Book of Classic Nursery Rhymes on Amazon

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Book cover for One Leaf Rides the Wind
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3. One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis

Eleven poems set in the tranquility of a Japanese garden. This counting book introduces the haiku form of poetry to young readers.

Buy it: One Leaf Rides the Wind on Amazon

Book cover for A New Green Day as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

4. A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis

Each turn of a page reveals the subject of a short but powerful verse about an item in nature. Lots of inspiration for students to write their own poems about nature in the same format.

Buy it: A New Green Day on Amazon

Book cover for Kiyoshi's Walk as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

5. Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins

Kiyoshi wonders how his grandfather, an accomplished haiku poet, finds his poetry. His grandfather shares his wisdom with a poetry-filled walk around their city neighborhood. Check out this blog post from the author for helpful poetry teaching tips.

Buy it: Kiyoshi’s Walk on Amazon

Book cover for Follow the Recipe: Poems about Imagination, Celebration, and Cake, as an example of poetry books for kids
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6. Follow the Recipe: Poems About Imagination, Celebration & Cake by Marilyn Singer

This poetry collection uses the contexts of cooking and enjoying food to share vibrant poems on a variety of themes. We especially love “Recipe for Disaster” and “Recipe for Memories.” So many curriculum possibilities here!

Buy it: Follow the Recipe: Poems About Imagination, Celebration & Cake on Amazon

Book cover for Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer
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7. Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer by Elizabeth Steinglass

Do your students think poetry isn’t for them? Convince them with a collection of poems about a favorite topic. This collection has so much playful, smart, poetic language about everything soccer, from missing shin guards to persistence.

Buy it: Soccerverse: Poems About Soccer on Amazon

book cover: Black Is a Rainbow Color, as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

8. Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy

This celebration of blackness, written in verse, can be enjoyed for both its poetic language and content. Show students how poems can convey crucial messages in beautiful ways.

Buy it: Black Is a Rainbow Color on Amazon

Book cover for Spi-Ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs, as an example of poetry books for kids
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9. Spi-Ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs by Leslie Bulion

Got spider enthusiasts in your class? Hook them on poetry with this hybrid collection of nonfiction information and catchy verses about every kind of arachnid you can imagine. Yikes!

Buy it: Spi-Ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs on Amazon

Book cover for When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons
Amazon

10. When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons by Julie Fogliano

This collection is filled with colorful images of nature. It also features poems that express the emotions evoked by the changing seasons.

Buy it: When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons on Amazon

Book cover for Watch Me Bloom as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

11. Watch Me Bloom: A Bouquet of Haiku Poems for Budding Naturalists by Krina Patel-Sage

What a fitting title! This “bouquet” of haiku about different types of flowers is so lovely. From sunflowers and lavender to orchids and poinsettias, these poems celebrate many blooms children will know. Look at real examples or photos of the flowers described to help bring the poems to life.

Buy it: Watch Me Bloom: A Bouquet of Haiku Poems for Budding Naturalists on Amazon

Book cover for Something, Someday
Amazon

12. Something, Someday by Amanda Gorman

Here’s an example for younger children about how a poem can tell a story. A young child sees littering in his community and yearns to do something about it. And he does. This title could easily connect Poetry Month and Earth Day, or older children can imagine other contexts and interpretations of the poem besides the story that’s illustrated.

Buy it: Something, Someday on Amazon

Book cover for Today I Am a River as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

13. Today I Am a River by Kate Coombs

Today will you be a river? A tree? A spider or an owl? Each poem eloquently describes how it might feel to be something in nature. We can’t wait to share this book with primary classrooms and have students come up with creative movements for each poem.

Buy it: Today I Am a River on Amazon

Book cover for I'm From
Amazon

14. I’m From by Gary R. Gray Jr.

This gorgeously illustrated “I’m From” poem is the perfect introduction for kids of any age to write their poetic odes to their own family and cultural roots.

Buy it: I’m From on Amazon

Book cover for Where i Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town
Amazon

15. Where I Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town by Paul B. Janeczko

This collected anthology includes work from an impressive lineup of poets. It’s ideal for getting kids thinking and writing about home and community. The book sections “Home,” “Street,” and “Town” could connect nicely to early conversations about geography and mapping too.

Buy it: Where I Live: Poems About My Home, My Street, and My Town on Amazon

Book cover for Poetry Comics
Amazon

16. Poetry Comics by Grant Snider

This is such a relevant and appealing new take on a poetry format. Brief poems illustrated in comic panels explore topics like “Lament for a Lost Bicycle” or “Late Bus.” Perfect for hooking kids who love comic books and graphic novels on poetry.

Buy it: Poetry Comics on Amazon

Book cover for Behold Our Magical Garden
Amazon

17. Behold Our Magical Garden: Poems Fresh From a School Garden by Allan Wolf

If your school has a garden (or even if you wish it did), you’ll love sharing this collection of garden-themed poems with students. It would be so fun to choose poems to introduce garden lessons or work sessions—choose from topics like seeds and germination, planting carrots, harvesting potatoes, or battling garden pests.  

Buy it: Behold Our Magical Garden: Poems Fresh From a School Garden on Amazon

Best Poetry Books for Upper Elementary and Middle School Kids

Book cover for My Head Has a Bellyache
Amazon

18. My Head Has a Bellyache: And More Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris

This zany collection of musings on the world through a child’s eyes continues the tradition of classic kids poets like Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky. It’s snort-with-laughter funny titles include poems like “Valentine Poem for Someone You Don’t Care About” and “The Nail-Clipping Fairy.”

Buy it: My Head Has a Bellyache on Amazon

Book cover for How to Write a Poem
Amazon

19. How To Write a Poem by Kwame Alexander and Deanna Nikaido

If you’re looking for compelling poetry books for kids to kick off a poetry unit or spark kids’ interest in writing poetry, this one must be included. This “poem about writing a poem” asks kids to look to nature, their imaginations, the fun of language, and their own hearts for poetic inspiration. Cool collage illustrations by Melissa Sweet add another layer of interest for kids.

Buy it: How To Write a Poem on Amazon

Book cover for Remember
Amazon

20. Remember by Joy Harjo

This timeless poem by a U.S. poet laureate asks readers to pause and consider their deep connection to the natural world. Michaela Goade’s magical illustrations make it even more powerful. It’s ideal for increasing representation of Indigenous writers in your collection of poetry books for kids and linking Poetry Month and Earth Day.

Buy it: Remember on Amazon

Book cover for Courage out Loud
Amazon

21. Courage Out Loud: 25 Poems of Power by Joseph Coelho

This poet is so committed to helping kids access and enjoy poetry and even use it to change their lives. Following the other awesome poetry books for kids in his “Poetry to Perform” series, this collection examines examples of and mantras and advice for having courage in kid-friendly contexts. Each poem includes an introduction that gives kids something to do with the poem: perform it a certain way, share it with someone particular, or respond with artwork their own writing.

Buy it: Courage Out Loud: 25 Poems of Power on Amazon

Book cover for Trees: Haiku From Roots to Leaves
Amazon

22. Trees: Haiku From Roots to Leaves by Sally M. Walker

Connect an introduction to one of the most classic, historic poetic forms with plenty of content information about trees and how they grow. This title is ideal for connecting poetry with an earth science unit, and, of course, inspiring kids’ own earth-themed haiku.

Buy it: Trees: Haiku From Roots to Leaves on Amazon

Book cover for Robot, Unicorn, Queen: Poems for You and Me as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

23. Robot, Unicorn, Queen: Poems for You and Me by Shannon Bramer

This is such a fresh and inviting collection to enjoy with students. The poems examine common childhood experiences—like feeling left out, noticing another’s grief, or persevering at something hard—with a quirky style. This would be a perfect collection for assigning small groups to discuss individual poems; there’s a nice range of complexity.

Buy it: Robot, Unicorn, Queen: Poems for You and Me on Amazon

Book cover for Say My Name
Amazon

24. Say My Name by Joanna Ho

This luminous collection of poems about the significance of six children’s names from around the world all end in an echoing “Say my name.” It’s one of those awesome poetry books for kids for inspiring students to write creatively about their own identities.

Buy it: Say My Name on Amazon

Book cover for Mother Winter
Amazon

25. Mother Winter by James Christopher Carroll

This illustrated ode to winter is a stunning example for kids of how the rhythm of a repeating line can make a poem sing. You’ll want to go back to the gorgeous language and imagery again and again. Also check out Sister Spring by the same poet.

Buy it: Mother Winter on Amazon

Book cover for At the Poles
Amazon

26. At the Poles by David Elliott

David Elliot’s books are such clever examples of how to pack lots of ideas into a small package. These poems use precise vocabulary to ruminate on polar animals—from colossal squid and elephant seals to teeny krill and tardigrade. They are perfect for encouraging middle grade readers to connect literary language and scientific information.  

Buy it: At the Poles on Amazon

Book cover for Your One and Only Heart as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

27. Your One and Only Heart by Rajani La Rocca

What a fascinating example of how poetry books for kids can be used to teach content information! Each poem celebrates a different aspect of the human heart, from how it beats for every breath of life, to how to it cooperates with other body systems. This would be such a useful title for any science, physical education, or health teacher who wants to add to their resources for explaining the heart and circulatory system to students.

Buy it: Your One and Only Heart on Amazon

Book cover for Poetry Prompts as an example of kids poetry books
Amazon

28. Poetry Prompts: All Sorts of Ways To Start a Poem by Joseph Coelho

Add this to your poetry books for kids that serve as ready-made writing lessons. It takes readers through 41 prompts with example poems and directions for kids to try out writing their own in the same style. Each prompt also has a “Poetry Power-Up” extension, so even your early finishers are covered!

Buy it: Poetry Prompts: All Sorts of Ways To Start a Poem on Amazon

Book cover for My Thoughts Are Clouds: Poems for Mindfulness as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

29. My Thoughts Are Clouds: Poems for Mindfulness by Georgia Heard

Poetry and mindfulness fit together so nicely. Teach both with this unique book from a top-notch children’s poet.

Buy it: My Thoughts Are Clouds: Poems for Mindfulness on Amazon

Book cover for How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers
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30. How To Eat a Poem: A Smorgasbord of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers edited by The American Poetry and Literacy Project

This timeless collection offers a rich sampling of poetry from the 19th century through today. It also features a wide variety of types, styles, and themes for students to explore.

Buy it: How to Eat a Poem: A Smorgasboard of Tasty and Delicious Poems for Young Readers on Amazon

Best Poetry Books for High School Kids

Book cover for Cast Away: Poems of Our Time
Amazon

31. Cast Away: Poems for Our Time by Naomi Shihab Nye

This recent collection from an essential poet explores everything people “cast away,” both literally and metaphorically. From lost mittens to junk mail, environmental responsibility to refugees, there’s so much for students to unpack and consider.

Buy it: Cast Away: Poems for Our Time on Amazon

Book cover for Somebody Give This Heart a Pen
Amazon

32. Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur

These are coming-of-age poems for all of today’s high school students. You’ll definitely want to share videos of this up-and-coming performance poet to inspire students too.

Buy it: Somebody Give This Heart a Pen on Amazon

Book cover for Inheritance: A Visual Poem
Amazon

33. Inheritance: A Visual Poem by Elizabeth Acevedo

This illustrated version of a notable poem introduces students to must-read literary icon Elizabeth Acevedo (also the author of The Poet X and many other YA novels). It looks at African and Latino identity and history of oppression through the lens of Black hair.

Buy it: Inheritance: A Visual Poem on Amazon

Book cover for Ink Knows No Borders as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

34. Ink Knows No Borders: Poems of the Immigrant and Refugee Experience by Patrice Vecchione and Alyssa Raymond

Connect high school students’ study of current events and recent world history with the power of poetry. This timely and important anthology from a diverse lineup of poets brings experiences of immigrants and refugees to life for students.

Buy it: Ink Knows No Borders on Amazon

Book cover for You Don't Have to Be Everything
Amazon

35. You Don’t Have To Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves edited by Diana Whitney

This anthology includes work from a huge range of modern and historic poets, from Mary Oliver and Maya Angelou to Instagram-famous new voices. Honest and accessible poems tackle identity, self-love and acceptance, and the challenges of growing up female.

Buy it: You Don’t Have To Be Everything: Poems for Girls Becoming Themselves on Amazon

Book cover for Call Us What We Carry
Amazon

36. Call Us What We Carry: Poems by Amanda Gorman

Today’s students should absolutely be introduced to Amanda Gorman. This bestselling collection includes “The Hill We Climb,” which she historically read at President Biden’s inauguration in 2021, and many other discussion-worthy offerings.

Buy it: Call Us What We Carry: Poems on Amazon

Book cover for Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems

37. Blue Lipstick: Concrete Poems by John Grandits

Concrete poetry for teens that tackles subjects such as hairdos, extracurriculars, and annoying younger brothers. It’s a funny, sarcastic take on life as a high schooler.

Buy it: Blue Lipstick on Amazon

Book Cover for I Just Hope It's Lethal: Poems of Sadness, Madness & Joy

38. I Just Hope It’s Lethal: Poems of Sadness, Madness & Joy edited by Liz Rosenberg and Deena November

An honest collection of poems that addresses the vast emotions teenagers experience.

Buy it: I Just Hope It’s Lethal: Poems of Sadness, Madness & Joy on Amazon

Book cover for Get Lit Rising, as an example of poetry books for kids

39. Get Lit Rising: Words Ignite. Claim Your Poem. Claim Your Life. by Diane Luby Lane and the Get Lit Players

Original works by 19 teen poets known as the Get Lit Players. With their award-winning performances of classic and spoken-word poems, they are inspiring many teens across the country.

Buy it: Get Lit Rising on Amazon

Book cover for Please Excuse this Poem, as an example of poetry books for kids
Amazon

40. Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the Next Generation by Brett Lauer and Lynn Melnick

This collection features works by 100 new, young poets. Full of originality, the poems address many life events, from tragedy to bliss.

Buy it: Please Excuse This Poem: 100 New Poets for the New Generation on Amazon

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Plus, check out our lists of must-share poems for elementary school and middle school.

Time to welcome students into the poetry genre? This list of poetry books for kids of all ages will help you update your classroom shelves.