(B) Ages 4-8, (C) Ages 8-10, (D) Ages 10-12, Book Reviews, Picture Books, Poetry
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Poetry for Young People Series

Poetry is for Children

Children love poetry. They really do. And it doesn’t need to be “children’s poetry,” either. Sure, they love the silly rhymes and rhythms of poets like Seuss and Silverstein. But they also appreciate Emily Dickinson’s down-to-earth observations, Robert Louis Stevenson’s reflections on childhood, Langston Hughes’s rhythms, and Henry Wadsforth Longfellow’s patriotic epics.

It’s important to nurture your children’s love of poetry; this means enjoying it with them, not dissecting it with them. After all, a good portion of the Bible is poetry. We sing poetry in our worship services each week. Poetry is key!

Pick Your Poet

The Poetry for Young People series seeks to your children to famous poets in an appealing picture book format. Each edition is illustrated by a different artist, so each book looks remarkably different than the others. Each edition is also curated by a different editor (who also writes an introduction to the poet). Thus, the different editions provide a nice set with lots of variety.

Due to the varying editors, the selection quality also varies.* Some editions are better than others; no volume will be complete enough for a true fan. However, they are solid introductions for children to some of history’s best poets! If you can whet a child’s appetite now, he or she will likely track down more of the poet’s work later.

*of particular note is the Tennyson volume; the illustrations are nice, but the poetry selections are disappointing. Rather than including more of Tennyson’s shorter works, the bulk of this collection is selected portions from his longer works. This is a shame because some of his shorter works offer good spiritual food for thought as well as offering more concrete subject matter. Additionally, in one of the In Memoriam selections, the editor leave off the most Christian-sounding stanza.

Volumes (to date) include (not all are still in print, but check your library!):

  • Robert Frost
  • Emily Dickinson
  • Langston Hughes
  • William Shakespeare
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • Lewis Carroll
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Maya Angelou
  • Edgar Allen Poe
  • Walt Whitman
  • Carl Sandburg
  • Rudyard Kipling
  • Edward Lear
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Edna St. Vincent Millay
  • Robert Browning
  • William Butler Yeats
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • William Carlos Williams
  • William Butler Yeats
  • William Wordsworth
  • Animal Poems
  • The Seasons
  • American Poetry
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