Sweet and Silly Kid-Friendly Poetry Collections

While poetry is often a reading interest we associate with adults, we can’t forget that poetry can be just as exciting and constructive for children. In fact, poetry can help young children develop reading skills by offering fun and creative ways to think about sounds and meaning. Poetry can be especially helpful for emerging readers struggling to pick up for finish longer works. Since poetry is often just a few lines at a time, it can be a little less intimidating—but that doesn’t mean it’s not packed with meaning. New words and interesting narrative structures can help to increase some foundational literacy skills. Plus, rhythm and rhyme can help with memorization and keep things engaging. With that in mind, we’ve selected six kid-friendly poetry collections to read and share with the little ones in your life. 


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

From National Book Award and Newberry Honor winner comes a moving memoir in verse. Brown Girl Dreaming tells the story of Woodson’s upbringing in South Carolina and New York. Touching and powerful, each poem offers a glimpse into Woodson’s experience as an African American living in the aftermath of Jim Crow and the burgeoning Civil Rights Movement. 


Haiku Baby by Betsy E. Snyder

This adorable board book is made with the youngest of readers in mind. Simple and delightful, Haiku Baby celebrates the natural world in the traditional Japanese poetic form. With adorable artwork and tabs to help little hands turn each page, this short and sweet children’s poetry collection will ensure a wonderful early experience with poetry. 


Here’s A Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry edited by Jane Yolen and Andrew Peters, Illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Another pick for the littlest of poets, this exuberant collection is a beautiful addition to any kiddo’s shelf. With more than sixty poems by an array of talented writers, Here’s A Little Poem captures the intense delights in the life of a toddler, from breakfast to bedtime. With whimsical illustrations by Polly Dunbar, children and adults alike are sure to fall in love with each page. 


It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by James Stevenson

Chock-full of zany drawings and riotous rhymes, this adorable collection is sure to make any kiddo laugh. Out-of-this-world weather scenarios and silly stories come to life on each page. Hilarious and engaging, Prelutsky doesn’t shy away from complex vocabulary choices and finds creative ways to use them throughout the collection—making this book a perfect addition to any elementary-age kiddo’s shelf. 


We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp, Illustrated by Julie Flett

A celebration of the parent-child bond, this moving poetry collection is a wonderful book to return to again and again. The gentle and rhythmic lyrics on each page make for an oh-so-sweet wake-up read or a soothing bedtime song. Set alongside simple yet stirring illustrations, this children’s poetry collection is an instant classic. 


Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein

This is a classic children’s collection you may even remember picking up from your own elementary school library. This collection doesn’t just help build new reading skills; it also encourages dreaming, hoping, wishing, laughing, and imagining. At once outrageously funny and movingly profound, this collection is sure to find a place in any lifelong reader’s heart.