by Kariza Montealegre

Exposing children to poetry is important since it allows them to appreciate words better at an early age. From rhymes and sound emphasis to wordplay, reading poetry is not just a fun activity with kids; it could also be instrumental in forming a foundation for their reading.

Wondering which poems are best for the little ones? There are definitely a ton of amazing ones available, but in celebration of National Children’s Book Day (#NCBD2016!) and, of course, Bookbed’s sixth birthday, allow me to share with you my top six poems for children (in no particular order).

1. “Maggie and Milly and Molly and May” by e. e. cummings

First published in 95 Poems in 1958, this presents a simple yet profound story of four children playing by the sea. This narrative, which effectively employs symbolism, is utilized by Cummings to arrive at a larger statement about life.

 

2. “Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face” by Jack Prelutsky

Named the first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, Jack Prelutsky has his way of creating imaginative children’s poetry. An example is the poem “Be Glad Your Nose is On Your Face.” Having a perfect mix of humor, imagery and rhythm, this piece sends a good message (because really, shouldn’t we be grateful our nose is in our face?) and is something kids would surely have fun reading while familiarizing themselves with the parts of the body.

3. “The Crocodile” by Roald Dahl

Influential children’s author Roald Dahl’s “The Crocodile” might be considered dark and one not recommended before bed time, but it’s a poem kids would undoubtedly be delighted to read. Part of the book Dirty Beasts that features poems about wicked creatures, “The Crocodile” remarkably uses language, imagery and rhyme to introduce children to the oh-so-vile Crocky-Wock, the crocodile.

4. “Backward Bill” by Shel Silverstein

Poet, award-winning songwriter, singer and children’s book author Shel Silverstein has created a number of iconic poems, which includes “Backward Bill” from his 1981 collection A Light in the Attic. Captivate children’s imagination through this comic piece as you bring them to the world of “Backward Bill,” where everything is in reverse.

 

5. “The Quarrel” by Maxine Kumin

Revolving around an argument between a fly and a bug (and later on a worm), “The Quarrel” by award-winning poet Maxine Kumin is an engaging poem that uses dialogue, figures of speech and rhythm to positively communicate a moral value to children. 

6. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

Last is this masterful collection of poetry of Marilyn Singer, Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. Introduce kids to a different poetic structure through this award-winning book, where poems follow Singer’s invented poetic form: reverso. In this structure, poems are presented forward and backwards, allowing same set of words presented in such manner to create two stories.

What poems are in your top 6? Is there a poem you loved as a kid? What kinds of poetry do your kids enjoy? Are there specific pieces you like reading to/with your children? ☁

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