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KIDS

PARENT BLOG

Explore Poetry!

By Ashley Fillmer at the Midtown Carnegie Branch

Amanda Gorman was 19 years old when she was named the first National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017. Four years later, she delivered her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Poetry can often conjure an image of dusty old books filled with difficult passages, but Gorman’s delivery helped remind me that poetry is alive and accessible to everyone, young and old. We learn our first poems as toddlers when we sing songs like “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” together, and it's easy to imagine looking up into the night sky as we sing and use our bodies to act out the story. We hear rhyming and figurative language, “see” starlight and begin to wonder. This is what poetry is about!

When you watch and listen to Amanda Gorman, you will hear her use words that rhyme or share the same sounds and you will see her use her body to direct the words, kind of like an orchestra conductor. Listen to someone read another poem aloud or try it yourself. Some poems might not make sense at first, but you can hear how the words were chosen to help you think of images, hear sounds or have feelings. The words can awake all of your five senses, take you anywhere in the world and help you learn more about yourself and others. Poetry is powerful. It can make you laugh, cry, feel inspired, afraid or hopeful. Try reading some poems aloud together and see where it takes you.

Go to details pageFor an introduction to all things poetry, including lots of examples with an online listening resource, check out A Child's Introduction to Poetry by Michael Driscoll.

 

 

Go to details pageAnother great children’s anthology is the Bill Martin Jr. Big Book of Poetry with an introduction by Eric Carle.

 

 

Go to details pageYou can read an alphabet acrostic about the African American experience with the poems in Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry.

 

 

Go to details pageIf you’re feeling down and want to cheer up, read aloud from Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein.

 

 

Go to details pagePoetry comes in picture books, too. This one won the Caldecott medal in 2020: The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

 

 

Questions or want more ideas? Email imagine@thelibrary.org