Poetry Books


April is National Poetry Month!  Celebrate by introducing your students to some of these great books!

The Dragons are Singing Tonight
By Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Peter Sis
Reading Seed Level: Intermediate; Fountas & Pinnell Level: N; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

Dragons are thought of as fierce and dangerous. However, Jack Prelutsky’s collection of poetry presents dragons in many different lights. What if dragons really existed? How would they be? Enemy or friend? How about a pet dragon-wouldn’t that be grand?

We get to explore these ideas and more all with the 2012 Hans Christian Anderson Award-winning illustrator Peter Sis’ beautiful and creative pictures of dragons. Experience what it’s like to wait for your dragon egg to hatch in “I’m Waiting, Waiting, Waiting.” What if we could buy dragons at the mall like in “I Have a Dozen Dragons” and ponder dragon sadness in “I Am My Master’s Dragon?” Imagine if every time you turned on your computer there was a dragon staring back at you like in “There’s a Dragon in My Computer.”

Why are dragons and dragon lore still so popular? This book of poetry should give you some very interesting answers!

Falling Up
Written and Illustrated by Shel Silverstein
Reading Seed Level: Intermediate; Fountas & Pinnell Level: P; Interest Level: 3-6

This delightful collection of poems offers adventure, comedy, and twists and turns to keep any reader interested. Readers will fall in the love with characters like “Allison Beals and Her 25 Eels” and “Lyin’ Larry.”
Shel Silverstein offers short poems that readers of all levels can appreciate and understand. Falling Up is a great book for students that like short stories and tons of adventure.

I Like Stars
By Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by Joan Paley
Reading Seed Level: Emerging; Fountas & Pinnell Level: C; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

The title gives a lot of information about the story. This short and sweet story is about the different types and features of stars that make looking at them so wonderful.

This is a great low-level book. Most pages have only two or three short words with a lot of repetition. The text is large. The illustrations are clean and colorful and give clues to help readers decode some of the words.

I Saw You in the Bathtub and Other Folk Rhymes
By Alvin Schwartz
Illustrated by Syd Hoff
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Fountas & Pinnell: H; Interest Level: K-3

Author Alvin Schwartz takes us on an adventure with childhood rhymes created and used by children around the country. Students may recognize some of the short rhymes in this collection of poems. With short poems that offer a lot of comedy, I Saw You in the Bathtub is a great choice for lower level readers that like a silly story and a good laugh.

My Parents Think I’m Sleeping
By Jack Prelutsky
Illustrated by Yossi Abolafia
Reading Seed Level: Early; Fountas & Pinnell: J; Interest Level: K-3

My Parents Think I’m Sleeping is a great collection of nighttime-themed poems. The reader explores the dreams and experience of the main character night after night as he settles into bed and dreams strange dreams. This is an ideal book for students that enjoy bright illustrations and learning new words to expand their reading skills.

Pizza and Other Stinky Poems
Illustrated by Amanda Haley
Reading Seed Level: Early; Fountas & Pinnell: M; Interest Level: K-3

This collection of food centric poems is great for readers that like to eat! Just about every food imaginable is described in this silly book of short rhymes. Readers will enjoy the advice on getting peanut butter off of your finger and the warning about eating too much lobster. This is a great book for readers that like a good laugh and love food. Be warned, don’t read Pizza and Other Stinky Poems if you are hungry!

Pocketful of Nonsense
Compiled and illustrated by James Marshall
Reading Seed Level: Early; Fountas & Pinnell Level: J; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This fun collection of classic rhymes and original limericks by James Marshall had me laughing out loud! Coupled with his dead pan illustrations, hilarity reins throughout the whole book. My favorite poem in the book is one of James Marshall’s own:

A bulldog was watching his weight.
He watched and he watched while he ate.
“It defies understanding
why I keep expanding,”
He said as he licked clean his plate.

Sea Dream: Poems from Under the Waves
Compiled by Nikki Siegen-Smith
Illustrated by Joel Stewart
Reading Seed Level: Early; Fountas & Pinnell Level: K; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

Whimsical is the word that comes to mind for this collection of poems about the ocean. This magical exploration of the sea begins to weave itself through the reader’s mind with Walter de la Mare’s peaceful description of a tide pool in “The Pool in the Rock.” The journey touches on the romance of the sea in “Mermaids” by Russell Hoban, likens the sea to a giant gray dog frolicking in “The Sea” by James Reeves, contemplates a wise crab who writes these words in the sand:

Pebble Mussel
Fin and Scale
Sole and Mackerel
Skate and Whale
Seaweed Starfish
Salt and Stone
Sand and Shell and Cuttlebone

and closes with the sublime “Sea Dream” by Judith Nicholls. Joel Stewart’s peaceful and creative illustrations also pull you under throughout this beautiful collection.

Some Things Go Together
By Charlotte Zolotow
Illustrated by Ashley Wolff
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Fountas & Pinnell Level: G; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This feel-good book by Charlotte Zolotow puts things together that belong together. It is a very comforting thing to know that one belongs with someone they love like the sand with the sea. It reminds me of how simply and beautifully nature pairs things together. Like the title says, some things go together!

You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You: Very Short Fairy Tales to Read Together
By Mary Ann Hoberman
Illustrated by Michael Emberley
Reading Seed Level: Beginning; Fountas & Pinnell Level: G; Interest Level: K-3rd grade

This book series was written by a woman who has worked with Literacy Volunteers of America, so she had coaching in mind and it shows. There are eight poems with versions of fairy tales such as The Princess and the Pea and The Three Little Pigs.

There are many reader-friendly features in this book. Some of the fairy tales should be familiar to your students so you can ask them about their previous experiences with these stories. Each poem is no more than four pages long and follows a rhyming pattern. The text is color-coded and separated to show your student which part is theirs, which part is yours, and parts that you will read together. There are some fun illustrations that don’t overwhelm the page. Don’t take our word for it though, several coaches have told us how much they love to use these books with students!