Above: Martha Speaks is celebrating National Poetry Month, too!
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we present 10 of the most popular poets for children. Although they write for children, these featured authors are also known for their appeal to parents. Browse this list of talented poets and their classic collections of poetry and inspire your own little poet to have fun with wordplay.
1. Shel Silverstein
Works Include: A Light in the Attic, The Giving Tree, Falling Up, Where the Sidewalk Ends
The late, great Shel Silverstein was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter. Although his creativity was cut short, his revolutionary and iconic children’s poetry lives on.
2. Jack Prelutsky
Works Include: Something Big Has Been Here, New Kid on the Block, Scranimals, Be Glad Your Nose is on Your Face
With over 50 books, Jack Prelutsky continues to dazzle the world of children’s poetry. In 2006, Prelutsky was named the first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, fueling his passion for creating his signature content. The accompanying illustrations are similar to Silverstein’s in that Prelutsky generally uses simplistic and silly black-and-white art.
3. Kenn Nesbitt
Works Include: My Hippo Has the Hiccups, The Tighty Whitey Spider, Revenge of the Lunch Ladies, The Aliens Have Landed
Well known for his humorous collections, Kenn Nesbitt is one of today’s most popular children’s poets. His books are full of musical and cultural references and feature various illustrators. Nesbitt’s website, poetry4kids.com, is the most visited children’s poetry site on the Internet.
4. Jon Scieszka
Works Include: Science Verse, Math Curse
Jon Scieska might be well-known for his fairytale adaptations, but his contributions to the poetry world are not to be overlooked. His award-winning books turn academic subjects into amusing – yet still educational – stories and songs. Scieska is also an advocate for encouraging boys to read via his website http://www.guysread.com/.
5. Roald Dahl
Works Include: Revolting Rhymes, Vile Verses, Dirty Beasts, The Hungry Toilet
Kooky and captivating, Roald Dahl is credited with providing children – young and old – with a lifetime of favorite literature. In fact, many of his poetry books boast a targeted age range of 5 to 105! The works of this influential Brit continue to populate children’s bookshelves worldwide.
6. Paul Janeczko
Works Include: A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems, A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, A Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and Shout, Knock at a Star: A Child’s Introduction to Poetry
Paul Janeczko is a role model for children, teachers and parents alike. His collections of poetry, in addition to his own works, make him one of the most referenced authors and poets in parenting and curriculum guides. He continues to captivate and inspire teachers and parents with ways to teach and incorporate poetry into the everyday lives of young children.
7. Marilyn Singer
Works Include: Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, A Stick Is an Excellent Thing, Nine O’Clock Lullaby, On the Same Day in March
Dog lover, adventure seeker, and teacher-turned-writer Marilyn Singer has penned several award-winning books for all ages. Her poetry books are often themed, reaching a diverse group of children with a wide variety of passions. With more than 90 published books, Singer continues to create original content for kids.
8. Sharon Creech
Works Include: Love That Dog, Hate That Cat, Who’s That Baby, Fishing in the Air
Meet Sharon Creech: the poet for children who hate traditional poetry. Her unconventional narratives encourage kids to investigate what poetry means to them and facilitate creativity. Newbery winner Creech continues to explore different writing styles and reach a diverse audience of reluctant readers and writers.
9. Allan Ahlberg
Works Include: The Jolly Postman, Each Peach Pear Plum, Everybody Was a Baby Once, Heard It in the Playground
Whether in a collaborative effort or a solo creation, Allan Ahlberg seamlessly incorporates popular themes, fairy tales and classic rhymes into his wildly popular books for kids. His writing is fast, funny and fantastical, and has ensured him and his late wife and writing partner, Janet, a place in the heart of children everywhere.
10. Barry Louis Polisar
Works Include: Curious Creatures, Peculiar Zoo, Insect Soup, Noises from Under the Rug
Polisar is a one-of-a-kind triple threat: author, musician and TV personality. He manages to combine all aspects of entertainment in order to captivate kids – and adults! Several of his books include accompanying music, making him an unconventional, yet spot-on children’s entertainer and education advocate.