April is National Poetry Month, and therefore, a perfect time to discover the fun of words, to marvel at the expressiveness, delight and charm of poetry. Here are a few top picks to get you started.
You Are the Light, Little Bunny By Jackie McCann Illustrated by Kat Kalindi Target, 2022, $7.99
A baby bunny and its mother explore their neighborhood in this poetic board book, which invitingly opens with “You are the light that breaks the day./Rise and shine, it’s time to play.” Little ones will love looking for the animals – fox, two bluebirds – reprised in colorful, stylized illustrations throughout while following Little Bunny’s adventures from meadow races to burrow bedtime.
ages 3 – 7
Poo-Dunnit: A Forest Floor Mystery By Katelyn Aronson Illustrated by Stephanie Laberis Candlewick, 2022, $17.99 Kids learn about wild animal scat and its function as fertilizer in a hilarious mystery that tracks an enormous poop to its source. The rollicking rhyme and lively, expressive illustrations are laugh-out-loud funny even as kids discover, through a determined mouse narrator, how they might identify scat in the natural world. This would be great fun to read before a hiking trip or while planting a garden – or for April Fools’ Day.
ages 8 – 11
Hope Is an Arrow By Cory McCarthy Illustrated by Ekua Holmes Candlewick, 2022, $18.99
Through lyrical prose and luminous illustrations, acclaimed author Cory McCarthy and Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes tell the life story of the popular Lebanese American poet Kahlil Gibran. At the age of eight, Gibran immigrated to the United States with his mother and siblings. In Lebanon, he had witnessed the clash of religions; in America, he saw the divide between classes and the poor treatment his peddler mother received from wealthy customers. Gibran yearned to connect people, first through his art and then through his words. His book of poetry, “The Prophet,” published in 1923, is now available in 40 languages around the world and has never been out of print.
ages 12 and up
Respect the Mic Edited by Hanif Abdurraqib, Franny Choi, Dan Sullivan, Peter Kahn Penguin Random House, 2022, $16.99
Celebrate National Poetry Month by reading aloud from this stunning anthology. It includes 80 poems by students at a Chicago high school over the past 20 years, with lines as heart-wrenching as Jesus Govea’s “dancing by myself chopstick-stiff at homecoming” to Maggie Farren’s fiercely affirming “Driving at night is mostly like soaring.”
“Thanks To The Doctors And Nurses”
In tribute to those who work tirelessly to protect the health of us all, award-winning singer/songwriter DARIA gives voice to positivity in her new pandemic-era single for kids and families, “Thanks To The Doctors And Nurses.” “Kids need to feel they can do something creative and constructive during difficult and scary times like this,” says DARIA. She developed ancillary materials, including lyric sheets, a karaoke version of the song, posters and thank-you cards for use in the classroom and as a way of thanking our health care professionals. These materials are available free of charge on the Teachers Pay Teachers website, HERE. Available wherever music is sold. dariamusic.com
Books That Celebrate Hearts and Black History