CurriConnects Book List - Poets and Poetry

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Poets and Poetry
Share these poetry books, biographies of poets, and poets' books about writing to make poetry more approachable and enjoyable for readers of all interests. This list will fit well during National Poetry Month or any unit on poetry. Finding Lexiles® for poetry can be a challenge, but this list includes them where available. Have your students "collect" their favorite poems as they read from this list and share them as a multimedia poetry reading using copyright-friendly images or even their own artwork. Upload images and add the poetry in the student's own voice using a reviewed presentation tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Go "low tech" by hosting a live poetry reading celebration in your classroom or during lunch in the school cafeteria.

Preschool and Picture Books

Each Peach Pear Plum - Allan Ahlberg, (978-0140506396), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This poetry collection engages readers with nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters who all converge at the end of the book for a piece of plum pie.

My Mother is Mine - Marion Dane Bauer, (978-0689866951), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This book celebrates mothers as a child creates a card for his mother and various animals are shown with their caring mothers.

Fruits - Valerie Bloom, (978-0333653128), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
View exotic fruit and Jamaican scenes as you practice counting!

Animals Animals - Eric Carle, (978-0698118553), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This book features a selection of poems about animals written by man famous poets and illustrated by famed Eric Carle.

George Washington's Teeth - Deborah Chandra, (312-376049), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
George Washington's tooth problems followed him for his entire life, as seen in this book, but he did not really have wooden ones!

Dirty Beasts - Roald Dahl, (978-0142302279), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Dahl covers the gamut of peculiar animals with crazy names in this poetry book.

Poetrees - Douglas Florian, (978-1416986720), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Each page uses marvelous paintings and great words to create a picture of a certain type of tree.

Honey I Love - Eloise Greenfield, (978-0064430975), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
The poems in this book describe a girl's life as she considers her family, neighbors, and friends.

Me Too!: Preschool Poetry - CJ Heck, (978-0983932031), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This poetry anthology touches on the years before formal schooling begins.

The Spider and the Fly - Mary Howitt, (978-0689852893), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This book retells the classic story of the fly caught in the spider web.

My Brother Bert - Ted Hughes, (374-399824), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
Brother Bert enjoys animals, the more exotic, the better, and his room provides challenges to a little sister who must encounter the mess and the creatures.

The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat - Nurit Karlin, (978-0064442466), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This book-long rhyme teaches children to read rhyming words.

The Gingerbread Man - Catherine McCafferty, (978-1577683681), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
The gingerbread man jumps out of the oven and runs with a slew of characters chasing after him in this re-do of a classic tale.

A Poet's Bird Garden - Laura Nyman Montenegro, (374-360383), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Poet companions solve the problem of how to lure an escaped bird back into her cage; they will build an enticing garden that includes a bird nest.

My Feet Are Laughing - Lisette Norman, (978-0374350963), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Sophie paints a picture, in free verse, of the person she is now, and the poet she would like to become.

Insect Soup - Barry Polisar, (978-0938663225), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
Enjoy Polisar's great descriptions of members of the insect world; his vision is compelling and different.

Me I Am! - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0374349028), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This book celebrates several children who are proud of being distinct individuals.

Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word - Bob Raczka, (978-1250018946), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4
The letters of the words in this book fall down the page creating unique designs and interesting images.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site - Sherri Rinker, (978-0811877824), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
All the construction trucks gather to say goodnight.

The Moon - Robert Louis Stevenson, (978-0374350468), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Robert Louis Stevenson's famous poem is featured here with magnificent illustrations that show a journey a father and child take together.

Splish, Splash! - Sarah Weeks, (978-0064442824), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This book about a bathtub helps children notice the relationship between rhyming words.

Early Elementary Books

Black is Brown is Tan - Arnold Adoff, (978-0064436441), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
This rhymed book tells the story of an interracial family.

Arthur and the Poetry Contest - Marc Brown, (978-0316122955), Fiction
Interest level: 1-5, Lexile: 460
After Arthur and company decide to enter a poetry writing contest, they discover it's more of a challenge than they expected.

Call Me Marianne - Jen Bryant, (978-0802852427), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
A fictional Marianne Moore, the poet, teaches a young boy about the craft of writing poetry when they run into each other at a zoo.

The Poet Upstairs - Judith Ortiz Cofer, (978-1558857049), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
A poet moves to an upstairs apartment, and Juliana starts to write with her after they meet.

Revolting Rhymes - Roald Dahl, (978-0142414828), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4
Roald Dahl rewrites great fairy tales with satire and humor.

Bella and Bean - Rebecca Dotlich, (978-0689856167), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 460
The tastes and interests of two best rat friends are divergent, but when Bella writes a poem about Bean, who is mostly interested in fashion and not literature, their friendship becomes richer.

Stanza - Jill Esbaum, (152-059989), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 830
Although Stanza and his brothers are fellow juvenile delinquent dogs, at night Stanza pursues his avocation, poetry writing.

Emily and Carlo - Marty Rhodes Figley, (978-1580892742), Fiction
Interest level: 0-2
Emily Dickinson's dog is her constant companion after her siblings leave home, and it is part of some of her writings.

Fold Me a Poem - Kristine O'Connell George, (978-0152025014), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4
Poems describe origami animals in this imaginative book.

I, Too, Am America - Langston Hughes, (978-1442420083), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
The history of African American life combines with beautiful illustrations in this reissued classic.

A Poke in the I - Paul Janeczko, (978-0763623760), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
This anthology of concrete poetry displays poems with visual appeal.

Once I Ate a Pie - Patricia MacLachlan, (978-0060735333), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 230
Hear about the stories of 13 dogs as you read this delightful, free-verse poetry.

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne, (978-0525467267), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5
Enjoy all the Pooh stories and poems in this comprehensive volume.

A Bird about to Sing - Laura Nyman Montenegro, (618-188657), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Natalie, a young poet, must overcome her fear of reading in front of people as she realizes the importance of reading poetry aloud.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon - Ogden Nash, (978-0316590310), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
Custard is a dragon who saves Belinda and her entourage when threats come from a pirate in this fun poem.

My Hippo Has the Hiccups - Kenn Nesbitt, (978-1402218095), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
This collection includes poems of great humor and imagination.

Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire! - Jane O'Connor, (978-0061896439), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 320
Fancy Nancy loves writing her own poetry for a Family Day project in school.

Visiting Langston - Willie Perdomo, (978-0805078817), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4
This poem is all about the life of Langston Hughes, its message aided by wonderful photographic-like graphics.

It's Snowing! It's Snowing!: Winter Poems - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0060537173), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Enjoy these fun poems about winter weather and activities!

Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0385737272), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2
This book challenges young writers to complete a poem by filling in the first half after considering hints from the author.

Keep Climbing, Girls - Beah Richards, (978-1416902645), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 890
A young African American girl cannot stop herself from continuing to climb trees despite warnings from her caretakers.

And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street - Dr. Seuss, (978-0394844947), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-8
As a boy walks along, he imagines sights he might see so he can provide a feast for the imagination for his father.

Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry - Joyce Sidman, (618-448942), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4
A dog and cat explore the world together in this uniquely formatted poetry story.

Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein, (978-0060572341), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
These poems explore everyday subjects with a wild imagination.

A Child's Calendar - John Updike, (978-0823417667), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3
These monthly poems explore activities, weather, and the lives of the very young, organized month by month.

Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers - Gloria Whelan, (978-1585363520), Fiction
Interest level: 0-4
Yuki writes poetry as she travels with her governor father and an enormous retinue along the famous Tokaido Road on the way to the capital Edo.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

Poems to Dream Together/Poemas Para Sonar Juntos - Francisco X. Alarcon, (978-1600606571), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5
These bilingual poems explore Hispanic life in California and Mexico.

Love That Dog - Sharon Creech, (978-0060292874), Fiction
Interest level: 2-8, Lexile: 1010
A young boy, who loves poetry, writes his own poem after meeting writer Walter Dean Myers.

Shaky Bones: A Story of the Harlem Renaissance - Pamela Dell, (978-1591870401), Fiction
Interest level: 4-6
A young poet, nicknamed Shaky Bones by famous African-American poet Countee Cullen, competes in a Harlem poetry contest during the incredibly fertile period of the Harlem Renaissance.

My Uncle Emily - Marty Rhodes Figley, (978-0399240058), Fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 770
Gilbert is in awe of his aunt, poet Emily Dickinson, who is also his next-door neighbor.

Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the inside Out - Ralph Fletcher, (978-0380797035), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-9
Fletcher's informal approach to poetry writing encourages the use of creativity and freedom as well as introducing standard poetry forms.

A Writing Kind of Day: Poems for Young Poets - Ralph Fletcher, (978-1590783535), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-8
Children read the poems in this book to learn about what can be in a poem and even how to create one.

Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by 20th Century American Art - Jan Greenberg, ed., (978-0810943865), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
Prominent American poets wrote these poems which celebrate pieces of art.

Mrs. Coco is Loco - Jack Gutman, (978-0061141539), Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 620
Mrs. Coco encourages her student A.J. to work on his writing, and he becomes recognized at school for his work.

Also Known as Harper - Ann Haywood Leal, (978-0805088816), Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 800
Poetry writing helps Harper Lee (named after the famous writer) cope with many serious family problems.

Monumental Verses - J. Patrick Lewis , (978-0792271352), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-8
The poems in this collection match the monuments they describe in shape and/or size!

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (978-1929766130), Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-12
This illustrated version of Longfellow's famous poem about Paul Revere's ride makes it appealing to all grades.

The Song of Hiawatha - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (978-1604590098), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12
This classic poem celebrating the life of Hiawatha captures the young boy's relationship with nature and with his ancestral life.

Gooney Bird is So Absurd - Lois Lowry, (978-0547119670), Fiction
Interest level: 2-4, Lexile: 590
A second grade class engages in writing a variety of types of poetry including a tribute to the teacher's mother.

Blues Journey - Walter Dean Myers, (978-0823420797), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
This compelling book provides insights into the history of the blues and African American life.

Scranimals - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0688178192), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
Poetry accompanies put-together nonsense creatures that have parts of other creatures in this amusing book!

Langston Hughes - Arnold/ Langston Rampersad, ed/ Hughes, (978-1402718458), Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-12
This book contains poems by Langston Hughes that appeal to children as well as some biographical information about the great poet.

The Dreamer - Pam Munoz Ryan, (978-0439269988), Fiction
Interest level: 3-9, Lexile: 650
This book reveals Neruda's troubled childhood, growing up with a father who mocked him, and how he went on to become one of the most important South American poets.

Science Verse - Jon Scieszka, (978-0670910571), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5
Jon Scieszka's famous spoofs of famous works of literature include these rhyming masterpieces about science lessons!

Neighborhood Odes - Gary Soto, (978-0152053642), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6
Soto portrays everyday life with memorable images and easy to read lines.

A Child's Christmas in Wales - Dylan Thomas, (978-0811217316), Fiction
Interest level: 0-3
Dylan Thomas' memoir about his childhood Christmases displays feelings common to all children.

There is a Flower at the End of My Nose Smelling Me - Alice Walker, (978-0060570804), Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12
This poem by African American writer Alice Walker explores the relationship between humankind, nature, and the meaning of human existence.

Sidewalk Chalk: Poems of the City - Carole Boston Weatherford, (978-1590784150), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 840
These poems explore every day sights of urban life.

Color Me a Rhyme - Jane Yolen, (978-1590781722), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-7
Enjoy exploring the natural world through Yolen's views expressed in these poems.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

The Young Inferno - John Agard, (978-1845077693), Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12
This retelling of the classic Dante's Inferno appeals to teens with its constant drama, danger, and struggles.

Paint Me Like I Am - Bill Aguado, ed., (978-0064472647), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Teens wrote the poetry in this book in cooperation with a national nonprofit.

Cool Salsa - Lori Carlson, ed., (978-1250016782), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12
This bilingual anthology offers poems by many Latin American writers writing about the experience of living in the U.S.

E. E. Cummings: Complete Works - E. E. Cummings, (978-0871401526), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This collection shows the playfulness and inventiveness of E.E. Cummings free verse with its original lack of punctuation and capitalization.

The Spoken Word Revolution - Mark Eleveld, ed., (978-1402202469), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
This book, written by many poets, and its accompanying CD show how today's oral poetry represents today's youth.

The Firefly Letters - Margarita Engle, (978-0805090826), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 1230
This novel in verse focuses on the life of a pioneer for women's rights as she travels to Cuba and encounters both a slave and a wealthy girl.

After the Death of Anna Gonzales - Terri Fields, (978-0805071276), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12
This book in verse features poems of students, high school staff, and teachers who react to a student suicide.

Bronx Masquerade - Nikki Grimes, (978-0142501894), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 670
African-American students in the Bronx respond to their studies of the Harlem Renaissance with their own poems which they share in class.

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath - Stephanie Hemphill, (978-0440239680), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12
The author writes poems and cites writings and thoughts of other people to paint a picture of Sylvia Plath's life as shown through her poetry.

Sister Slam and the Poetic Motormouth Roadtrip - Linda Oatman High, (978-1582349480), Fiction
Interest level: 6-12
Two best friends hit the road after high school, competing at poetry slam competitions across the country in this novel written in verse.

How to Read a Poem - Edward Hirsch, (978-0156005661), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
This book explains not only how to get the most out of poetry reading but also examines the relationship between the poet's work and his/her life.

Worlds Afire - Paul Janeczko, (978-0763634001), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12
This collection of poems recreate the excitement of attending the circus and the horror when a circus tent fire traps hundreds of people and kills over 150 of them.

Brunhilda and the Ring - Jorge Lujan, (978-0888999245), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This book is a retelling of Richard Wagner's momentous Ring Cycle.

Spoon River Anthology - Edgar Lee Masters, (978-0486272757), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-8
This anthology has the dead from a small town cemetery describe their lives and the community where they lived.

Here in Harlem - Walter Dean Myers, (978-1430108405), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12
These poems are the voices of Harlem, the athletes, musicians, workers, and veterans.

Carver: A Life in Poems - Marilyn Nelson, (978-1886910539), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 890
Forty-four poems describe the life of George Washington Carver, an African American inventor and accomplished botanist.

A Wreath for Emmett Till - Marilyn Nelson, (618-397523), Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12
Fifteen sonnets describe and honor Emmett Till, a teen lynched in Mississippi in 1955, and also tell the story of the trial of his murderers, who were found not guilty.

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons - Ann Rinaldi, (978-0152053932), Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 560
This fictionalized account of the life of Phillis Weatley, a slave who died young, brings her poetry writing to the forefront.

I Just Hope It's Lethal - Liz Rosenberg, ed., (978-0618564521), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
The poems in this anthology from classical writers speak to teens about issues important to them including sadness, craziness, happiness, and socialization.

Boris - Cynthia Rylant, (978-0152058098), Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-12
This collection of poems describe a special cat and his appeal to its owner.

The Rose That Grew from Concrete - Tupac Shakur, (978-0671028459), Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12
Hip-hop personality Tupac Shakur penned these verses about a large variety of topics before his untimely death in his 20's.

We Troubled the Waters - Ntozake Shange, (613-37358), Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12
This book combines poem and artistic tributes to civil rights heroes.

Walt Whitman - Walt Whitman, (978-1402754777), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This book and others in the series offer selected poetry by some of America's greatest poets.

Paterson - William Carlos Williams, (978-0811212984), Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12
This epic poem by one of America's most important poets, tells the story of a New Jersey community and much much more!