17 books to read for Poetry Month

Emily Morrow  //  Apr 2, 2018

17 books to read for Poetry Month

April is Poetry Month, which is the perfect reason to incorporate some verse in your reading routine! Here are 17 of our recommendations, ranging from books that rhyme and novels written in verse to stories of poets themselves.

What are you reading this month? We'd love to hear from you! Tweet us @scholastic with your Poetry Month reading recommendations!

Books for little ones

Hi, Koo! by Jon J Muth 
With a featherlight touch and disarming charm, Jon J Muth—and his delightful little panda bear, Koo—challenge readers to stretch their minds and imaginations with twenty-six haikus about the four seasons.


No Fair! No Fair! 
by Calvin Trillin, illustrated by Roz Chast
Get ready to laugh out loud with Calvin Trillin's first collection of poems for children (and nearby grown-ups). Enjoy the whimsical cartoon illustrations by New York Times bestselling illustrator Roz Chast as you find out if Justin is "the awfulest kid in the class," if there's anything that Matt won't eat, and if you can send back a new baby brother.

Around the World on Eighty Legs: Animal Poems by Amy Gibson, illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Amy Gibson and Daniel Salmieri take readers on an exciting animal adventure around the globe. As readers explore habitats ranging from the Arctic to the Savanna, they will learn fun and humorous information about the animals who live there.

Books for 7- to 12-year-olds

Martin Rising: Requiem for a King by Andrea Davis Pinkney, illustrated by Brian Pinkney
In a rich embroidery of visions, musical cadence, and deep emotion, Andrea and Brian Pinkney convey the final months of Martin Luther King's life—and of his assassination—through metaphor, spirituality, and multilayers of meaning.

Gabriela McBride, American Girl of the Year 2017 by Teresa E. Harris
Gabby loves expressing herself--especially in the dance studio--but lately, poetry is becoming her art form of choice, and for good reason: Gabby struggles with stuttering, and spoken word poetry helps her speech flow more freely. Still, compared to how confident she feels on the dance floor, speaking up can be scary. When the city threatens to close her beloved community arts center, Gabby is determined to find a way to help. Can she harness the power of her words and rally her community to save Liberty Arts?

Unbound: A Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg
From the award-winning author of All the Broken Pieces and Serafina's Promise comes a new novel-in-verse that is a gripping, transcendent story about a little-known piece of slave history.

Neon Aliens Ate My Homework by Nick Cannon
Nick Cannon—the unstoppable entertainer, comedian, actor, and musician—was inspired to write Neon Aliens Ate My Homework as a way to combine the worlds of poetry and hip-hop. These two mediums have shaped Nick into the prolific artist he is today. To further pay respect to the urban storytelling that inspired him, each funny, gross, wacky, or thought-provoking poem in this collection is illustrated by one of six incredible street artists who have shown his or her work around the world.

A Home for Mr. Emerson by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham
Before Ralph Waldo Emerson was a great writer, he was a city boy who longed for the broad, open fields and deep, still woods of the country, and then a young man who treasured books, ideas, and people. When he grew up and set out in the world, he wondered: could he build a life around these things he loved? This moving biography—presented with Barbara Kerley and Edwin Fotheringham's inimitable grace and style—illustrates the rewards of a life well-lived, one built around personal passions: creativity and community, nature and friendship.

Serafina's Promise by Ann E. Burg
Serafina has a secret dream. She wants to go to school and become a doctor with her best friend , Julie Marie. But in their rural village outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti, many obstacles stand in Serafina's way: little money, never-ending chores, and Manman's worries. More powerful even than all of these are the heavy rains and the shaking earth that test Serafina's resolve in ways she never dreamed. At once heartbreaking and hopeful, this exquisitely crafted story will leave a lasting impression on your heart.

The Dreamer by Pam Muñoz Ryan, illustrated by Peter Sís
From the time he is a young boy, Neftali hears the call of a mysterious voice. He knows he must follow it--even when the neighborhood children taunt him, and when his harsh, authoritarian father ridicules him, and when he doubts himself. It leads him under the canopy of the lush rain forest, into the fearsome sea, and through the persistent Chilean rain, until finally, he discovers its source. Combining elements of magical realism with biography, poetry, literary fiction, and sensorial, transporting illustrations, Pam Muñoz Ryan and Peter Sís take readers on a rare journey of the heart and imagination.

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus
Gregory K. is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he'd be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents' permission he's going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he's been playing fast and loose with the truth.
Hilariously it's the "Fibonacci Sequence"—a famous mathematical formula!—that comes to the rescue, inspiring Gregory to create a whole new form of poem: the Fib! Maybe Fibs will save the day, and help Gregory find his way back to the truth.

The Homework Strike by Greg Pincus
Gregory K. has too much homework.
Middle school is hard work, and Gregory tries to be a good student. He participates in class, he studies for his tests—he and his friends even help each other with their assignments. But no matter what he does, there's never enough time to finish all his homework. It just isn't fair.
So Gregory goes on a total, complete homework strike. No worksheets, no essays, no projects. His friends think he's crazy. His parents are worried about his grades. And his principal just wants him to stop making trouble. Can Gregory rally his fellow students, make his voice heard, and still pass seventh grade?

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
This gripping story, written in sparse first-person, free-verse poems, is the compelling tale of Billie Jo's struggle to survive during the dust bowl years of the Depression. With stoic courage, she learns to cope with the loss of her mother and her grieving father's slow deterioration. There is hope at the end when Billie Jo's badly burned hands are healed, and she is able to play her beloved piano again.

Books for teens

Vanilla by Billy Merrell
A bold, groundbreaking novel in verse about coming out, coming into your own, and coming apart.

I Felt a Funeral in My Brain by Will Walton (coming soon!)
How do you deal with a hole in your life? Do you grieve? Do you drink? Do you make out with your best friend? Do you turn to poets and pop songs? Do you question everything? Do you lash out? Do you turn the lashing inward? If you're Avery, you do all of these things. And you write it all down in an attempt to understand what's happened—and is happening—to you. I Felt a Funeral, In My Brain is an astonishing novel about navigating death and navigating life, at a time when the only map you have is the one you can draw for yourself.

The Bridge From Me to You by Lisa Schroeder
Lauren has a secret. Colby has a problem. But when they find each other, everything falls into place.
In alternating chapters of verse and prose, new girl Lauren and football hero Colby come together, fall apart, and build something stronger than either of them thought possible—something to truly believe in.

You Are Not Here by Samantha Schutz
Annaleah and Brian shared something special—Annaleah is sure of it. When they were together, they didn't need anyone else. It didn't matter that their relationship was secret. All that mattered was what they had with each other. And then, out of nowhere, Brian dies. And while everyone else has their role in the grieving process, Annaleah finds herself living outside of it, unacknowledged and lonely. How can you recover from a loss that no one will let you have.