Children's Poetry Books
Bite-Sized Rhyme and Free Verse!

Do you think that you shall ever see a poem as lovely as a tree?

Let's define children's poetry books

If we called a book "poetry" just because it was in rhyme, all of Dr. Seuss would qualify.

But since children's books are so often told in rhyme, we need a different definition. How about "children's books featuring collections of short poems"?

And here's the good news: there are a couple organizations keeping track of what the best poetry books and who the best children's poets are!

The Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for best children's poetry book

Awarded each year since 1993, the Hopkins Award goes to the best anthology or single volume poem written for children in the previous year.

The judges look for imagination, emotion, figurative language and conciseness of thought - all the elements of good poetry. They seek out beauty and truth and accessibility (and appropriateness) for children. The book is aimed at an audience between birth and 14 years old.

The winners!...

(Titles that appear as links are reviewed on this site. Click here to open a new window to locate a book, or author, on Amazon)

  • 2016 Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir, by Margarita Engle
  • 2015 The Crossover, by Kwame Alexander
  • 2014 Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet, Andrea Cheng
  • 2013 Water Sings Blue, Kate Coombs
  • 2012 Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku Lee Wardlaw
  • 2011 The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane C.M. Millen
  • 2010 Button Up! Alice Schertle
  • 2009 Diamond Willow, Helen Frost
  • 2008 Birmingham, 1963, Carole Boston Weatherford
  • 2007 Jazz, Walter Dean Myers
  • 2006 Song of the Water Boatman & Other Pond Poems, Joyce Sidman
  • 2005 Here in Harlem, Walter Dean Myers
  • 2004 The Wishing Bone and Other Poems, Stephen Mitchell
  • 2003 Splash! Poems of Our Watery World, Constance Levy
  • 2002 Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts, Anna Grossnickle Hines
  • 2001 Light-Gathering Poems, Liz Rosenberg
  • 2000 What Have You Lost? Naomi Shihab Nye
  • 1999 The Other Side, Angela Johnson
  • 1998 The Great Frog Race and Other Poems, Kristine O'Connell George
  • 1997 Voices from the Wild, David Bouchard
  • 1996 Dance with Me, Barbara Juster Esbensen
  • 1995 Beast Feast, Douglas Florian
  • 1994 Spirit Walker, Nancy Wood
  • 1993 Sing to the Sun, Ashley Bryan

The NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children

The National Council of Teachers of English presents an award honoring a living American poet whose work is directed at children ages 3-13.

  • J. Patrick Lewis, 2011
  • Lee Bennett Hopkins, 2009
  • Nikki Grimes, 2006
  • Mary Ann Hoberman, 2003
  • X.J. Kennedy, 2000
  • Eloise Greenfield, 1997
  • Barbara Juster Esbensen, 1994
  • Valerie Worth, 1991
  • Arnold Adoff, 1988
  • Lilian Moore, 1985
  • John Ciardi, 1982
  • Eve Merriam, 1981
  • Myra Cohn Livingston, 1980
  • Karla Kuskin, 1979
  • Aileen Fisher, 1978
  • David McCord, 1977

It's hard not to notice that many people's favorite children's poet, Shel Silverstein, was never honored. (Click the link for his Amazon page as well.)

Children's poetry books reviewed on this site

Check out our reviews of these children's poetry books!

Children's books by categories.

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