CurriConnects Book List - Poets and Poetry

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Poets and Poetry
Share these poetry books, biographies of poets, and poets' books about writing to make poetry more approachable and enjoyable for readers of all interests. This list will fit well during National Poetry Month or any unit on poetry. Finding Lexiles® for poetry can be a challenge, but this list includes them where available. Have your students "collect" their favorite poems as they read from this list and share them as a multimedia poetry reading using copyright-friendly images or even their own artwork. Upload images and add the poetry in the student's own voice using a reviewed multimedia tool from the TeachersFirst Edge. Go "low tech" by hosting a live poetry reading celebration in your classroom or during lunch in the school cafeteria.

Preschool and Picture Books

Animals Animals - Eric Carle, (978-0698118553) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
This book features a selection of poems about animals written by man famous poets and illustrated by famed Eric Carle.

Dirty Beasts - Roald Dahl, (978-0142302279) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Dahl covers the gamut of peculiar animals with crazy names in this poetry book.

Each Peach Pear Plum - Allan Ahlberg, (978-0140506396) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level:
This poetry collection engages readers with nursery rhyme and fairy tale characters who all converge at the end of the book for a piece of plum pie.

The Fat Cat Sat on the Mat - Nurit Karlin, (978-0064442466) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
This book-long rhyme teaches children to read rhyming words.

Fruits - Valerie Bloom, (978-0333653128) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
View exotic fruit and Jamaican scenes as you practice counting!

George Washington's Teeth - Deborah Chandra, (312-376049) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
George Washington's tooth problems followed him for his entire life, as seen in this book, but he did not really have wooden ones!

The Gingerbread Man - Catherine McCafferty, (978-1577683681) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
The gingerbread man jumps out of the oven and runs with a slew of characters chasing after him in this re-do of a classic tale.

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site - Sherri Rinker, (978-0811877824) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
All the construction trucks gather to say goodnight.

Honey I Love - Eloise Greenfield, (978-0064430975) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
The poems in this book describe a girl's life as she considers her family, neighbors, and friends.

Insect Soup - Barry Polisar, (978-0938663225) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
Enjoy Polisar's great descriptions of members of the insect world; his vision is compelling and different.

Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word - Bob Raczka, (978-1250018946) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 2 - 3
The letters of the words in this book fall down the page creating unique designs and interesting images.

Me I Am! - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0374349028) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
This book celebrates several children who are proud of being distinct individuals.

Me Too!: Preschool Poetry - CJ Heck, (978-0983932031) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2-3
This poetry anthology touches on the years before formal schooling begins.

The Moon - Robert Louis Stevenson, (978-0374350468) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Robert Louis Stevenson's famous poem is featured here with magnificent illustrations that show a journey a father and child take together.

My Brother Bert - Ted Hughes, (374-399824) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
Brother Bert enjoys animals, the more exotic, the better, and his room provides challenges to a little sister who must encounter the mess and the creatures.

My Feet Are Laughing - Lisette Norman, (978-0374350963) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Sophie paints a picture, in free verse, of the person she is now, and the poet she would like to become.

My Mother is Mine - Marion Dane Bauer, (978-0689866951) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2
This book celebrates mothers as a child creates a card for his mother and various animals are shown with their caring mothers.

A Poet's Bird Garden - Laura Nyman Montenegro, (374-360383) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Poet companions solve the problem of how to lure an escaped bird back into her cage; they will build an enticing garden that includes a bird nest.

Poetrees - Douglas Florian, (978-1416986720) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Each page uses marvelous paintings and great words to create a picture of a certain type of tree.

The Spider and the Fly - Mary Howitt, (978-0689852893) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
This book retells the classic story of the fly caught in the spider web.

Splish, Splash! - Sarah Weeks, (978-0064442824) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
This book about a bathtub helps children notice the relationship between rhyming words.

Early Elementary Books

And To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street - Dr. Seuss, (978-0394844947) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-8, ESL level: 3
As a boy walks along, he imagines sights he might see so he can provide a feast for the imagination for his father.

Arthur and the Poetry Contest - Marc Brown, (978-0316122955) , Fiction
Interest level: 1-5, Lexile: 460, ESL level: 2 - 3
After Arthur and company decide to enter a poetry writing contest, they discover it's more of a challenge than they expected.

Bella and Bean - Rebecca Dotlich, (978-0689856167) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 460, ESL level: 2
The tastes and interests of two best rat friends are divurgent, but when Bella writes a poem about Bean, who is mostly interested in fashion and not literature, their friendship becomes richer.

A Bird about to Sing - Laura Nyman Montenegro, (618-188657) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
Natalie, a young poet, must overcome her fear of reading in front of people as she realizes the importance of reading poetry aloud.

Black is Brown is Tan - Arnold Adoff, (978-0064436441) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
This rhymed book tells the story of an interracial family.

Call Me Marianne - Jen Bryant, (978-0802852427) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
A fictional Marianne Moore, the poet, teaches a young boy about the craft of writing poetry when they run into each other at a zoo.

A Child's Calendar - John Updike, (978-0823417667) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
These monthly poems explore activities, weather, and the lives of the very young, organized month by month.

The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie the Pooh - A.A. Milne, (978-0525467267) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-5, ESL level: 2 - 3
Enjoy all the Pooh stories and poems in this comprehensive volume.

Emily and Carlo - Marty Rhodes Figley, (978-1580892742) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
Emily Dickinson's dog is her constant companion after her siblings leave home, and it is part of some of her writings.

Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire! - Jane O'Connor, (978-0061896439) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 320, ESL level: 2
Fancy Nancy loves writing her own poetry for a Family Day project in school.

Fold Me a Poem - Kristine O'Connell George, (978-0152025014) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 2 - 3
Poems describe origami animals in this imaginative book.

I, Too, Am America - Langston Hughes, (978-1442420083) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
The history of African American life combines with beautiful illustrations in this reissued classic.

It's Snowing! It's Snowing!: Winter Poems - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0060537173) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 2 - 3
Enjoy these fun poems about winter weather and activities!

Keep Climbing, Girls - Beah Richards, (978-1416902645) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 890, ESL level: 3
A young African American girl cannot stop herself from continuing to climb trees despite warnings from her caretakers.

Meow Ruff: A Story in Concrete Poetry - Joyce Sidman, (618-448942) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 2 - 3
A dog and cat explore the world together in this uniquely formatted poetry story.

My Hippo Has the Hiccups - Kenn Nesbitt, (978-1402218095) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
This collection includes poems of great humor and imagination.

Once I Ate a Pie - Patricia MacLachlan, (978-0060735333) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 230, ESL level: 2 - 3
Hear about the stories of 13 dogs as you read this delightful, free-verse poetry.

The Poet Upstairs - Julia Ortiz Cofer, (978-1558857049) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3
A poet moves to an upstairs apartment, and Juliana starts to write with her after they meet.

A Poke in the I - Paul Janeczko, (978-0763623760) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, ESL level: 2 - 3
This anthology of concrete poetry displays poems with visual appeal.

Read a Rhyme, Write a Rhyme - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0385737272) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
This book challenges young writers to complete a poem by filling in the first half after considering hints from the author.

Revolting Rhymes - Roald Dahl, (978-0142414828) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 2
Roald Dahl rewrites great fairy tales with satire and humor.

Stanza - Jill Esbaum, (152-059989) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, Lexile: 830, ESL level: 4
Although Stanza and his brothers are fellow juvenile delinquent dogs, at night Stanza pursues his avocation, poetry writing.

The Tale of Custard the Dragon - Ogden Nash, (978-0316590310) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-2, ESL level: 2 - 3
Custard is a dragon who saves Belinda and her entourage when threats come from a pirate in this fun poem.

Visiting Langston - Willie Perdomo, (978-0805078817) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 2
This poem is all about the life of Langston Hughes, its message aided by wonderful photographic-like graphics.

Where the Sidewalk Ends - Shel Silverstein, (978-0060572341) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, ESL level: 3
These poems explore everyday subjects with a wild imagination.

Yuki and the One Thousand Carriers - Gloria Whelan, (978-1585363520) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-4, ESL level: 3
Yuki writes poetry as she travels with her governor father and an enormous retinue along the famous Tokaido Road on the way to the capital Edo.

Upper Elementary to Middle School Books

The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (978-1929766130) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 1-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
This illustrated version of Longfellow's famous poem about Paul Revere's ride makes it appealing to all grades.

Also Known as Harper - Ann Haywood Leal, (978-0805088816) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-12, Lexile: 800, ESL level: 3 - 4
Poetry writing helps Harper Lee (named after the famous writer) cope with many serious family problems.

Blues Journey - Walter Dean Myers, (978-0823420797) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
This compelling book provides insights into the history of the blues and African American life.

A Child's Christmas in Wales - Dylan Thomas, (978-0811217316) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-3, ESL level: 3-4
Dylan Thomas' memoir about his childhood Christmases displays feelings common to all children.

Color Me a Rhyme - Jane Yolen, (978-1590781722) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-7, ESL level: 2 - 3
Enjoy exploring the natural world through Yolen's views expressed in these poems.

The Dreamer - Pam Munoz Ryan, (978-0439269988) , Fiction
Interest level: 3-9, Lexile: 650, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book reveals Neruda's troubled childhood, growing up with a father who mocked him, and how he went on to become one of the most important South American poets.

Gooney Bird is So Absurd - Lois Lowry, (978-0547119670) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-4, Lexile: 590, ESL level: 3
A second grade class engages in writing a variety of types of poetry including a tribute to the teacher's mother.

Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by 20th Century American Art - Jan Greenberg, ed., (978-0810943865) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
Prominent American poets wrote these poems which celebrate pieces of art.

Langston Hughes - Arnold/ Langston Rampersad, ed/ Hughes, (978-1402718458) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
This book contains poems by Langston Hughes that appeal to children as well as some biographical information about the great poet.

Love That Dog - Sharon Creech, (978-0060292874) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-8, Lexile: 1010, ESL level: 4
A young boy, who loves poetry, writes his own poem after meeting writer Walter Dean Myers.

Monumental Verses - J. Patrick Lewis , (978-0792271352) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-8, ESL level: 3
The poems in this collection match the monuments they describe in shape and/or size!

Mrs. Coco is Loco - Jack Gutman, (978-0061141539) , Fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 620, ESL level: 3
Mrs. Coco encourages her student A.J. to work on his writing, and he becomes recognized at school for his work.

My Uncle Emily - Marty Rhodes Figley, (978-0399240058) , Fiction
Interest level: 0-5, Lexile: 770, ESL level: 3 - 4
Gilbert is in awe of his aunt, poet Emily Dickinson, who is also his next-door neighbor.

Neighborhood Odes - Gary Soto, (978-0152053642) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6, ESL level: 3
Soto portrays everyday life with memorable images and easy to read lines.

Poems to Dream Together/Poemas Para Sonar Juntos - Francisco X. Alarcon, (978-1600606571) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, ESL level: 3
These bilingual poems explore Hispanic life in California and Mexico.

Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the inside Out - Ralph Fletcher, (978-0380797035) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 4-9, ESL level: 3
Fletcher's informal approach to poetry writing encourages the use of creativity and freedom as well as introducing standard poetry forms.

Science Verse - Jon Scieszka, (978-0670910571) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-5, ESL level: 3 - 4
Jon Scieszka's famous spoofs of famous works of literature include these rhyming masterpieces about science lessons!

Scranimals - Jack Prelutsky, (978-0688178192) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, ESL level: 3
Poetry accompanies put-together nonsense creatures that have parts of other creatures in this amusing book!

Shaky Bones: A Story of the Harlem Renaissance - Pamela Dell, (978-1591870401) , Fiction
Interest level: 4-6, ESL level: 3-4
A young poet, nicknamed Shaky Bones by famous African-American poet Countee Cullen, competes in a Harlem poetry contest during the incredibly fertile period of the Harlem Renaissance.

Sidewalk Chalk: Poems of the City - Carole Boston Weatherford, (978-1590784150) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-6, Lexile: 840, ESL level: 3
These poems explore every day sights of urban life.

The Song of Hiawatha - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (978-1604590098) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12, ESL level: 4
This classic poem celebrating the life of Hiawatha captures the young boy's relationship with nature and with his ancestral life.

There is a Flower at the End of My Nose Smelling Me - Alice Walker, (978-0060570804) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 0-12, ESL level: 3
This poem by African American writer Alice Walker explores the relationship between humankind, nature, and the meaning of human existence.

A Writing Kind of Day: Poems for Young Poets - Ralph Fletcher, (978-1590783535) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-8, ESL level: 3
Children read the poems in this book to learn about what can be in a poem and even how to create one.

Middle School to Young Adult Books

After the Death of Anna Gonzales - Terri Fields, (978-0805071276) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 4
This book in verse features poems of students, high school staff, and teachers who react to a student suicide.

Boris - Cynthia Rylant, (978-0152058098) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 2-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
This collection of poems describe a special cat and his appeal to its owner.

Bronx Masquerade - Nikki Grimes, (978-0142501894) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 670, ESL level: 4
African-American students in the Bronx respond to their studies of the Harlem Renaissance with their own poems which they share in class.

Brunhilda and the Ring - Jorge Lujan, (978-0888999245) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
This book is a retelling of Richard Wagner's momentous Ring Cycle.

Carver: A Life in Poems - Marilyn Nelson, (978-1886910539) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, Lexile: 890, ESL level: 4
Forty-four poems describe the life of George Washington Carver, an African American inventor and accomplished botanist.

Cool Salsa - Lori Carlson, ed., (978-1250016782) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 4
This bilingual anthology offers poems by many Latin American writers writing about the experience of living in the U.S.

E. E. Cummings: Complete Works - E. E. Cummings, (978-0871401526) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
This collection shows the playfulness and inventiveness of E.E. Cummings free verse with its original lack of punctuation and capitalization.

The Firefly Letters - Margarita Engle, (978-0805090826) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 1230, ESL level: 4
This novel in verse focuses on the life of a pioneer for women's rights as she travels to Cuba and encounters both a slave and a wealthy girl.

Hang a Thousand Trees with Ribbons - Ann Rinaldi, (978-0152053932) , Fiction
Interest level: 7-12, Lexile: 560, ESL level: 3 - 4
This fictionalized account of the life of Phillis Weatley, a slave who died young, brings her poetry writing to the forefront.

Here in Harlem - Walter Dean Myers, (978-1430108405) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 4
These poems are the voices of Harlem, the athletes, musicians, workers, and veterans.

How to Read a Poem - Edward Hirsch, (978-0156005661) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
This book explains not only how to get the most out of poetry reading but also examines the relationship between the poet's work and his/her life.

I Just Hope It's Lethal - Liz Rosenberg, ed., (978-0618564521) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
The poems in this anthology from classical writers speak to teens about issues important to them including sadness, craziness, happiness, and socialization.

Paint Me Like I Am - Bill Aguado, ed., (978-0064472647) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
Teens wrote the poetry in this book in cooperation with a national nonprofit.

Paterson - William Carlos Williams, (978-0811212984) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
This epic poem by one of America's most important poets, tells the story of a New Jersey community and much much more!

The Rose That Grew from Concrete - Tupac Shakur, (978-0671028459) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
Hip-hop personality Tupac Shakur penned these verses about a large variety of topics before his untimely death in his 20's.

Sister Slam and the Poetic Motormouth Roadtrip - Linda Oatman High, (978-1582349480) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 4
Two best friends hit the road after high school, competing at poetry slam competitions across the country in this novel written in verse.

The Spoken Word Revolution - Mark Eleveld, ed., (978-1402202469) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 7-12, ESL level: 4
This book, written by many poets, and its accompanying CD show how today's oral poetry represents today's youth.

Spoon River Anthology - Edgar Lee Masters, (978-0486272757) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-8, ESL level: 3 - 4
This anthology has the dead from a small town cemetery describe their lives and the community where they lived.

Walt Whitman - Walt Whitman, (978-1402754777) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 8-12, ESL level: 4
This book and others in the series offer selected poetry by some of America's greatest poets.

We Troubled the Waters - Ntozake Shange, (613-37358) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 3-12, ESL level: 4
This book combines poem and artistic tributes to civil rights heroes.

Worlds Afire - Paul Janeczko, (978-0763634001) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 3 - 4
This collection of poems recreate the excitement of attending the circus and the horror when a circus tent fire traps hundreds of people and kills over 150 of them.

A Wreath for Emmett Till - Marilyn Nelson, (618-397523) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 4
Fifteen sonnets describe and honor Emmett Till, a teen lynched in Mississippi in 1955, and also tell the story of the trial of his murderers, who were found not guilty.

The Young Inferno - John Agard, (978-1845077693) , Non-fiction
Interest level: 5-12, ESL level: 4
This retelling of the classic Dante's Inferno appeals to teens with its constant drama, danger, and struggles.

Your Own, Sylvia: A Verse Portrait of Sylvia Plath - Stephanie Hemphill, (978-0440239680) , Fiction
Interest level: 6-12, ESL level: 4
The author writes poems and cites writings and thoughts of other people to paint a picture of Sylvia Plath's life as shown through her poetry.