Poetry for Children

Poetry is often described as lyrical, flowery, and expressive – much like the language used in many children’s books. I admire people who can recite poems at the drop of a hat – both for their ability to express and to remember the poems.  At the SCBWI Conference, several editors suggested reading children’s poems as a way of understanding the lyrical quality that children’s books need.

I recommend Here’s a Little Poem: A Very First Book of Poetry, Collected by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters, illustrated by Polly Dunbar. There are more than sixty poems from a diverse group of writers using different styles. Poems are organized loosely into categories such as my family, or bedtime or “I go outside.” Each poem uses lyrical language as it captures a feeling, a moment, or a universal experience.

Here’s one of my favorites by Dennis Lee:




Over the


The moon drifts

By on a





Deep in her


A little girl

Dreams with the

Moon in her Head.

And another by Michael Rosen

Late Last Night

Late last night

I lay in bed

Driving buses

In my head