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Children’s Literature in Verse


National Poetry Month, a celebration of poetry which takes place each April, was introduced in 1996 and is organized by the Academy of American Poets as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Many picture books employ rhyme, but there is also a wealth of amazing children’s literature written in free verse or haiku.

Creating a captivating story for young people in verse is an art. As Kelly Jensen of BookRiot says, “…it’s so much more than simply breaking up prose into lines and calling it done. There needs to be clear thought and purpose behind the format, since it reflects the voice and perspective of the character.” The following juvenile fiction titles are especially compelling:

Tamera Will Wissinger celebrates families in the outdoors with Gone Camping and Gone FishingGrades 1-4.

You’ll find rich metaphors in Julie Sternberg’s Eleanor novels Like Bug Juice on a Burger and Like Carrot Juice on a CupcakeGrades 2-4.

For fans of animal stories, Marion Dane Bauer provides Little Dog, Lost and Little Cat’s Luck, both heart-warming adventures. Grades 2-5.

Susan Hood’s Lifeboat 12: Based on a True Story is a page-turning adventure about a little-known event from WW II. Grades 4-7.

Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry is a story of an astronomy-loving girl with Tourette syndrome. Grades 4-7.

Blue Birds by Caroline Starr Rose weaves culturally diverse voices tracing a 1587 friendship between an English colonist and an Indigenous girl. Grades 4-7.

An orphan in modern-day China discovers the meaning of family in Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen. Grades 4-7.

A Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, Patricia McKissack’s Never Forgotten is about a young Mende boy who is kidnapped into slavery and his father, who mourns the loss of his son. Grades 4-7.

Finally, don’t pass up on Sharon Creech’s pair of novels Love That Dog and Hate That Cat wherein Jack chronicles his feelings in a poetry journal assigned by his favorite teacher. Grades 3-7.

Don’t forget you can always request your own personalized reading list for you or your child using our My Next Read service!

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