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April 18, 2021

24 Best Poetry Books for Kids + Free Downloadable List

Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It's the perfect opportunity to teach synonyms, antonyms, similes, metaphors, idioms, and so much more! Check out these books that are perfect to read to your children, students, or add to your personal/classroom library during the month (or any month). With these 24 Best Poetry Books for Kids, you can't go wrong!

* Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Using them will not cost you anything but will earn me a small commission if you make a purchase.

Poetry Anthologies

These anthologies are all by poets that your students should know about! The best part is that they are in anthologies geared for kids. I only wish there were more anthologies by female poets. At least I was able to include one of my favorites, Maya Angelou.

With these anthologies, I recommend only reading a couple of poems from each and then adding them to your classroom library. This way you get students interested in the poems and poets but don't get bogged down by just one poet.

By the way, having anthologies by different poets, makes comparing and contrasting poems/poets easy! 


Classic Poetry Books

These are my all time favorite books for students (and for me). I have to admit that I am not a real fan of poetry. However, these are the few books that caused me to love poetry before I grew to hate it in high school. (Side note: Please don't bog students down with so much poetry analysis that they start hating poetry like me!)

Let me recommend some specific poems that your students will love!
  • The New Kid on the Block - This isn't just the name of the poetry book. It's also the name of a poem on bullying and surprises.
  • Homework, Oh Homework - Even after all these years I still have the majority of this poem memorized. It's a definite crowd favorite!
  • Sick - Poor little Peggy Ann McKay is too sick to go to school...or is she.
  • Smart - Perfect for math teachers! This poem is best understood by students that understand the true value of money.

May I recommend the quieting technique my 5th grade teacher used on the entire school during every assembly. He would read these poems in his loud, booming voice. The entire school would sit enthralled and ready to go!



A haiku is a type of Japanese poetry. This poem has 3 lines with 17 syllables total. This is a great way to share a style of poetry that is different from what students are used to writing/listening to in class.


Literary Skills

Synonyms, antonyms, homonyms, onomatopoeia, and idioms are perfect skills to teach during National Poetry Month! These skills will make the students' poetry more vibrant and interesting to read. These particular books focus on these strategies in isolation so that you can use them in writing poems later on.



Picture Books Written as Poems

These books may look like picture books but are really one long poem. These types of books are great to read throughout the school year. This way, students are constantly exposed to poetry instead of it being considered only an April thing to read. Here are just a few.


Even if you aren't fond of poems, I still suggest searching for some favorites to share with students. Who knows, one of them may grow up to be a Poet Laureate because of the love of poetry found in your classroom!

With April being National Poetry Month, teachers should be on the lookout to identify some of the best anthologies and picture books to share in the classroom. This blog post contains 24 books, plus links to more, and a FREE downloadable guide. This way you always have the list at your fingertips. This list is best for primary and upper elementary teachers, teaching grades Kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade, fourth grade, and fifth grade.


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