I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think,  all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read...

John Burroughs 

...for teachers, librarians, parents, writers,
browsers, and read-out-louders


Listed below are some of my favorites - as a writer - a reader - or for their teaching ideas and approaches. 

Favorite Anthologies

Books on teaching, sharing, and writing poetry

My published titles
NCTE Poetry Titles

About Ordering | Afffiliate Links | Sources for Out-of-Print Books


National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar!

by J. Patrick Lewis

Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle

Stephen Dunning , Edward Lueders , Hugh Smith , Donald Marvine


My America: A Poetry Atlas of the United States

by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Stephen Alcorn

This is just ONE of many themed poetry anthologies Lee Bennett Hopkins has compiled. Check out this comprehensive list or visiting Lee Bennett Hopkins' website.

Forget-Me-Nots: Poems to Learn by Heart

by Mary Ann Hoberman (Author), Ed Emberley (Illustrator)

Knock at a Star: A Child's Introduction to Poetry  

X. J. Kennedy (Author), Dorothy M. Kennedy (Author), Karen Lee Baker (Illustrator)


The Scott, Foresman Anthology of Children's Literature

Zena Sutherland & Myra Cohn Livingston


A gem and a terrific value! 146 pages packed with wonderful poems for children organized by topic :  About You | Music and Dance | The World Around Us | etc. Used copies available


Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry  

by Myra Cohn Livingston (Author), Lisa Desimini (Illustrator)

This is my go-to 'bible' for all things poetry. Written for 10-year olds, it's perfect for adults. A great value at $4.00 (.o1 + $3.99 shipping)

Poetry Friday Anthologies

compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong

For Elementary to Middle School | TEKS and CSS Editions.
Learn more at the Pomelo Books Website.



The Art of Teaching Writing  
by Lucy McCormick Calkins
A favorite for her sensible approach and innovative ideas on guiding children through the writing process.

Awakening the Heart: Exploring Poetry in Elementary and Middle School
by Georgia Heard 
A marvelous companion to Heard's first book, For the Good Of the Earth and Sun.   NOTE: Georgia Heard teaches an online course using this book - check out www.heinemannu.com for a current schedule.
Breathing In, Breathing Out: Keeping a Writer's Notebook
by Ralph Fletcher 
Ralph takes you "inside" the writing process while keeping it light and interesting.  Inspiring!
A Celebration of Bees:  
Endless Opportunities for Helping Children Write Poetry
by Barbara Esbensen
Esbensen's book is one of those "gems" that is out of print.  Now, for the good news:  her husband designed a marvelous site to keep the memory and spirit of this talented poet alive.  You can buy her book from his site and he sponsors an annual award (with a $1,000 prize!) for the most creative use of A Celebration of Bees: http://www.ttinet.com/bje/contest.html.  You'll also want to visit the Barbara Juster Esbensen Memorial .

Children's Literature in the Elementary Classroom
by Charlotte Huck, Susan Hepler, and Janet Hickman 
A fabulous resource for children's literature; their poetry section could easily stand alone.  Includes a wealth of ideas with suggested poems, a thoughtful discussion of the differences between verse and poetry, and great ideas for integrating poetry across the curriculum.  

Creating Classrooms for Authors and Inquirers 
by Kathy G. Short and Jerome C. Harste with Carolyn Burke 
An in-depth look at authoring cycles, literature circles, and an invaluable section on deriving meaning from poetry called "Poetry in Motion."

Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom

by Leonard Marcus 
This insightful collection of letters by famed editor, Ursula Nordstrom, is one I turn to again and again for an intimate peek at the creative process and a candid look at children's publishing. DEAR GENIUS works on many levels and I like to share passages with writing students that speak to the struggle for an original vision and the rigors of revision. (Margaret Wise Brown, Karla Kuskin, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein and E. B. White are only a few of the authors who worked with Ursula Nordstrom.)

Easy Poetry Lessons that Dazzle and Delight
by Bernice Cullinan and David Harrison 

Favorite Poetry Lessons  
by Paul Janeczko
In addition to easy-to-master forms, Janeczko also suggests ways to integrate the lessons into the curriculum.

Fly with Poetry: An ABC of Poetry 
by Avis Harley
Talented newcomer, Avis Harley, has written an amazing book that includes poems written in a variety of different forms - from A to Z!

For the Good of the Earth and Sun: Teaching Poetry
by Georgia Heard
My copy of Georgia Heard's book bristles with post-its™  — testimony to her terrific ideas.  Heard tells it like it is - how children need help in "re-visioning" their work - avoiding rhyme - and time to develop their own voices.  I love this book!

Getting the Knack: 20 Poetry Writing Exercises
by Stephen Dunning and William Stafford. 
This classic is also available from NCTE.

Give Them Poetry!
A Guide for Sharing Poetry with Children K-8

by Glenna Sloan
A terrific introduction and overview of poetry with countless ideas for incorporating poetry into the curriculum. Marvelous!

Hi Ho Librario
by Judy Freeman
A sparkling collection of songs, chants, and stories that teach children to love books. There is also a 45-minute CD or tape on how to perform the selections yourself.

How to Write Poetry
by Paul Janeczko 
Janeczko gives the young writer exactly what is needed: a straightforward and clearly written book about poetry.  Even "older" writers will find much of value here.

I Am Writing a Poem About...A Game of Poetry
by Myra Cohn Livingston
This unusual anthology was a result of an assignment to our master class in children's poetry at UCLA.  We wrote poems using specific pre-assigned words and the results were fascinating:  No two poems were alike.  I use this book in classrooms to show the diversity of different "voices" and how words and word associations can inspire poetry.

In the Middle: New Understandings about Writing, Reading, and Learning
by Nancie Atwell 
This in-depth look at writing instruction in her classrooms is fascinating and inspiring. A must read!

A Jar of Tiny Stars: Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets
by Dr. Bernice E. Cullinan
 A look at the poets who have won the prestigious NCTE award for their body of work. Introductions to poets everyone should know!

Just People & Paper/Pen/Poem : A Young Writer's Way to Begin
by Kathi Appelt and Kenneth Appelt (photographer)
Inspiration for adult and teen writers alike. Check out the "Poetry Starters" on Kathi's web site (www.kathiappelt.com).

Kids' Poems: Teaching Kindergartners to Love Writing Poetry
[Series includes titles for:  First Graders, Second Graders, and Third & Fourth Graders
by Regie Routman 
Confirms my own discoveries in poetry workshops: Students can write amazing poetry if they aren't "locked into" writing rhyming poems. Routman's techniques include free verse and sample poems written by children. 

Lifetime Guarantees: Toward Ambitious Literacy Teaching 
by Shelley Harwayne
A comprehensive book with a marvelous section on poetry.

Making Your Days: The Pleasure of Reading and Writing Poetry

by Kenneth Koch
Excellent ideas on using "classic poetry" as models for student writing.

Moon Journals : Writing, Art, and Inquiry Through Focused Nature Study
by Joni Chancer and Gina Rester-Zodrow
Students create "moon journals" integrating direct observation, art, and poetry in this guided program. I've seen students' work using their ideas and it is glorious!

Opening a Door: Reading Poetry in the Middle School Classroom 
by Paul Janeczko 
Don't miss this book.

Pass the Poetry, Please!
by Lee Bennett Hopkins
Updated version.  Lee Bennett Hopkins includes a key poem by each poet and a brief biographical sketch followed by a list of references.  Many wonderful classroom ideas for "motivating and appreciating poetry."

Place My Words Are Looking For: What Poets Say About and Through Their Work
by Paul Janeczko 
A compilation of poems and essays by a variety of poets give a fascinating look into the lives of writers.

Poem Crazy: Freeing your Life with Words
by Susan Goldsmith Woolridge 
A reminder of the power of language and the impact of individual words. Ideas that will intrigue and inspire you.

Poetry Matters: Writing a Poem from the Inside Out  
by Ralph Fletcher
Young writers are giving this book rave reviews!

A Poetry Handbook
by Mary Oliver
I'm constantly misplacing my copy of Mary Oliver's book because I'm always dipping into it and laying it down somewhere unexpected.  An exquisite book and a must for anyone who is serious about poetry.

Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry
by Myra Cohn Livingston
This wonderful book is listed for "ages 9 and up."  I hope "up" includes adults because I certainly use Myra's book for my own writing!  Her sections on the "voices" of poetry as a fresh approach are particularly strong.

Poetry Across the Curriculum:  A Whole Language Approach 
by Barbara Chatton
Creative ways to integrate poetry into curriculum.  Comprehensive lists of books and individual poems for use with a variety of themes, including science, math, and literature. 

Poetry Writing from A to Z: A Guide for Young Writers
by Paul Janeczko
Witty and intriguing connections using the alphabet to introduce poems as well as topics.  Such as: M for Memory Poems and poems on manners, meals and music.  Or: H for How-To Poem or Haiku and poems on horses.  

Poet's Pen: Writing Poetry with Middle and High School Students
by Betty Bonham Lies

Seeing the Blue Between: Advice and Inspirations for Young Poets
by Paul Janeczko 
Wonderful essays from many different poets.

Sunrises and Songs: Reading and Writing Poetry in an Elementary Classroom
by Amy A. McClure and Sheryl Reed 
An intriguing look at a dynamic classroom bubbling with poetry.  Fascinating and inspiring!  

Take Joy: A Book for Writers 
by Jane Yolen
Delicious! A must-read for all writers.

Teaching 10 Fabulous Forms of Poetry 
by Paul Janeckzo

Terrific Connections with Authors, Illustrators, and Storytellers: Real Space and Virtual Links
by Jane Kurtz and Toni Buzzeo have compiled a wonderful guide to "real space and cyberspace" school visits. Excerpt.

Where I'm From: Where Poems Come From 
by George Ella Lyon
This combination of memoir and writing guide is inspiring and thought provoking. A delicious read!

With a Poet's Eye
by Jane McVeigh-Schultz and Mary Lynn Ellis
A wonderful look at children and poetry.

Writing Funny Bone Poems 

by Paul Janeczko
Kids and teachers alike will have fun with Paul Janeczko's step-by-step guide to writing funny poems.  Some of the forms he discusses: "brat poems," chants, limericks, parodies, riddles, senryu, and "I Spy" poems.

My 'Book Kids'

Middle School (4th to 7th grade)

      Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems 

Elementary (2nd to 6th grade)

     Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems
     Fold Me a Poem

     Hummingbird Nest: A Journal of Poems

     Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems
     Old Elm Speaks:  Tree Poems
     The Great Frog Race and Other Poems

Early Elementary (K to 3 grade)

     Little Dog and Duncan 

     Little Dog Poems
     One Mitten



NCTE Poetry Titles

The National Council of Teachers of English publishes some terrific poetry titles: http://www.ncte.org/bookstore/ (Search under: poetry.)


About Ordering


For your convenience, these titles are linked to www.amazon.com or Alibris so you can obtain complete information on price and read the reviews for individual titles. However, PLEASE consider using Indiebound should you decide to order a book. Our independent bookstores need our support!


Sources for out-of-print books

Sadly, some of my favorite titles are out of print. However, I've had good luck finding several out-of-print books on my "wish list" at Alibris. I've found the booksellers (often small used bookstores across the country) to be helpful and responsive.

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Affiliate Links


f you do purchase a book by following a link from this page, any referral fees are used to fund projects at Donors Choose.


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