Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Poetry for Children

Children are really open to poetry, in a way that many of us lose when we grow up.

This may be because so many children's books rhyme, and feel like poetry, so the leap is not so great from the rhyming prose, which they are familiar with, to poems.

It is wonderful reading poetry to, and with, children.

Here are some of the poems, poetry books, and rhyming stories that we love. Please add your own suggestions.

Poems for younger children:

Tickle My Nose (and other action rhymes)    Kaye Umansky
One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish      Dr Seuss
Oops!                                                              Pennie Kidd
A Book of Things                                           Freddie McKeown
Some Dogs Do                                               Jez Alborough
Where the Wild Things Are                           Maurice Sendak (reads like a poem)
My Granny Went to Market                           Stella Blackstone
Down the Back of the Chair                           Margaret Mahy

Getting older:

Revolting Rhymes                                           Roald Dahl
The Dangerous Journey                                   Tove Jansson (Moomins) retold by Sophie Hannah

One Hundred Years of Poetry for Children     (Oxford)
Can We Have Our Ball Back Please?              Gareth Owen 
Collected Poems for Children                           Gareth Owen

Other great poets who write for children:

Benjamin Zephaniah
Michael Rosen (check out his own performances of his poems on Youtube)
Roger McGough


  1. My 3yr old was given a small Dr Seuss poetry book as part of World Book Day. She loves the silly rhymes and is requesting that it is read over and over before bed. We've also bought her 'Green Eggs & Ham' which she finds really amusing. Half the battle with pre-school books is finding something that the parent also enjoys reading aloud - the Dr Seuss books seem to help me with that.

  2. Thanks Ankylos32 - I agree, Green Eggs and Ham is brilliant. I don't think you can ever start Dr Seuss too early. A couple of suggestions sent to my Twitter feed:
    @VickyButcher (Victoria Butcher) Michael Rosen Quick Lets Get Out of Here! AA Milne When We Were Very Young. My Favs growing up.
    @Dicko1212 A childs garden of dreams by Robert Louis Stevenson
    @SiClancy (Simon Clancy) Murray Lachlan Young's 9 Dead Williams is terrific for children. If you get the chance to see his poetry for kids show, go. Ace. [if you go to his website you can print out the booklet SR]

  3. A childrens treasury of Milligan by Spike Milligan. Superb for children and adults too if we're honest.

  4. Try my book: The New Generation, published by Salt in 2010. It's endorsed by Paul Cookson, Fred Sedgwick and John Foster. Most of the poems have previously appeared in anthologies with Macmillan, OUP, Wayland and Collins.