“Glory be to God for dappled things!” wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins in his squirming-with-life poem “Pied Beauty.” What finer season than spring to share fresh poems with children?
Raczka, Bob. Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys. illus. by Peter H. Reynolds. Houghton Mifflin, 2010. This might just turn out to be one of children’s (not just boys’) all-time favorite collections of haiku. The engaging images and hearty humor shine: “I watch the worms squirm/and decide to bait my hook/with hot dog instead.” Another kid-pleaser: “If this puddle could/talk, I think it would tell me/to splash my sister.”
Alarcon, Francisco X. Laughing Tomatoes and Other Spring Poems/ Jitomates Risuenos: Y Otros Poemas de Primavera (The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series). Children’s Book Press, 1997. A fun, bilingual collection by a renowned Mexican-American poet. The 18 poems include “Words are Birds” and others teeming with nature and joy.
Giovanni, Nikki. The Sun Is So Quiet: Poems. Illus. by Ashley Bryan. Holt, 1996. Collection of poems by acclaimed poet celebrates the seasons, nature, and an array of childhood experiences.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, editor. Opening Days. Harcourt, 1996. Nineteen poems by various poets such as Jane Yolen and Walt Whitman have fun with sports, including baseball, skiing, karate, and tennis.
Hopkins, Lee Bennett, ed. Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems. illus. by David Diaz. McElderry, 2010. Superb collection of poems spanning the seasons. Includes such poets as Carl Sandburg, Marilyn Singer, and Karla Kuskin.
Noda, Takayo. Dear World. Puffin, 2005. Bright and beautifully illustrated collection of brief poems celebrating the natural world.
Ruddell, Deborah. Today at the Bluebird Cafe: A Branchful of Birds. illus. by Joan Rankin. McElderry, 2007. Ruddell’s poems of cardinals, a woodpecker, and others are whimsical and lively. Her humor reigns in such poems as “There’s a Robin in the Bathroom”: “He uses my toothbrush/to scour his wings./He sloshes and splashes/on all of our things.” Rankin’s bright, lively illustrations add to the fun. Also see Ruddell’s A Whiff of Pine, a Hint of Skunk.
- Poetry Game for Students (librarianbrain.wordpress.com)