Kids + Teens

Kid-Approved Verse for National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! Let’s celebrate with poems selected from some of Chronicle’s best-loved books of poetry for kids.

Bigfoot is Missing

Last Seen:
Walking in the forest.
Height and Weight:
Much more than you.
Gender: Unknown.
Hair: All over.
Shoe Size
(Rumoured) 92.

—Kenn Nesbitt and J. Patrick Lewis from Bigfoot is Missing / Illustration (above) by MinaLima

 The Slugger_int_When Thunder Comes

The Slugger

Our national pastime by the name
Of baseball was once mired in shame.
A prejudice-sized fear
Whitewashed the truth when history wrote
An unforgivable footnote—
The asterisk career.
Tape-measuring his home-run success,
800 of ’em more or less,
Won’t get you very far.
Josh Gibson always knew the score . . .
Only to die three months before
The black man broke the bar.
He hit a mile the Jim Crow snub—
“No coloreds in a white man’s club.”
All anyone could do
Was name him to the Hall of Fa me,
A tower in the tarnished game
That Gibson never knew.

—J. Patrick Lewis, from When Thunder Comes / Illustration by Jim Burke

Rhyme Schemer_Int_Alice in Wonderland

THURSDAY

The Poetry Bandit is in trouble.
Mrs. Little knows it’s me.
Robin knows it’s me.
Robin wants it to be him.
So he can be King of the School.
Am I going to be King of the School now?
I highly doubt it.
I don’t think you can be king
if you’re expelled.

*****

I put this one on Mrs. Little’s desk.
So maybe she’ll know
why I hurt
the books.

—K. A. Holt from Rhyme Schemer

Ocean Realty_Water Sings Blue

Ocean Realty

My name’s Frank Hermit.
Here—take my card.
So you want a house
with a porch and yard?
I have listings for periwinkles,
whelks, and wentletraps;
turbans, tops, and moon shells;
a palatial conch, perhaps?
That one’s not available—
I’m waiting for the snail
to vacate his townhouse
and put it up for sale.
But this place has a deck
and a nice view of the land—
beachfront property
is always in demand!

—Kate Coombs from Water Sings Blue / Illustration by Meilo So

 Salt of the Earth_Strange Place to Call Home

Salt of the Earth

This harsh and salty land
(it’s not a place to mock)—
Flamingos find it grand.
No palm trees or pink sand,
It’s where they come to flock—
This harsh and salty land.
In saline lakes they stand,
No grassy lawn, no dock.
Flamingos find it grand
To feast at their command.
Here, brine shrimp are in stock.
This harsh and salty land
Demands a life well-planned
By each bird’s daily clock.
Flamingos find it grand.
Here’s to this hardy band!
It may come as a shock:
This harsh and salty land—
Flamingos find it grand.

—Marilyn Singer, from A Strange Place to Call Home / Illustration by Ed Young

Lara Starr

Lara Starr is Chronicle’s Senior Publicist for Children’s books, and the author of Wookiee Pies, Clone Scones and other Galactic Goodies, Ice Sabers, The Very Hungry Caterpillar™ Cookbook and Cookie Cutters Kit, and Chef Olivia™. Tell her you like her sweater and she’ll tell you exactly what she paid for it.
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