The Family

The Family

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

My Favorite Poems for Younger Children

I've come to relish the almost daily rhythm that poetry has created in our lives in the two plus years I've been reading it aloud with my children.

We have three standard anthologies we use. I typically read one to two poems from each anthology every weekday. Once we finish all the poems in a book, we simply start over.

And having read the same poems again and again, I'd say the following constantly stand out as crowd pleasers in our home:

1. Amelia Mixed the Mustard by A. E. Housman - My daughter loves this poem. It makes her laugh every time. If you've read it you probably understand why I can't decide whether I should be amused or anxious!

2. Me by Walter de la Mare - We read this poem just this morning, and what always strikes me is the encouraging tone for total acceptance of one's self.

3. Daddy Fell Into the Pond by Alfred Noyes - this silly and entertaining poem always puts a smile on my face.

4. maggie and millie and molly and may by e.e. cummings - one only has to love the sea to understand the beauty and depth of this poem (though cummings lack of capitalization always throws me). This is one we all know by heart.

5. Bed in Summer by Robert Louis Stevenson - this poem perfectly captures what children truly feel in relation to bedtime.

6. If Little Red Riding Hood by Jeff Moss - this witty poem hits the nail on the head when it comes to disputing the classic fairy tale.

7. Bad Morning by Langston Hughes - short and completely on point about how a bad morning is one of the most frustrating things on earth.

8. Casey at the Bat by Ernest Lawrence Thayer - this classic is long but, oh, so worth the read.

9. Casey's Revenge by Grantland Rice - this lesser known poem leaves you satisfied. It also includes one of my favorite lines in all of poetry: "And Fate, though fickle, often gives another chance to men."

10. The Cremation of Sam McGee - it's an odd one, and some would argue not for young children, but mine are often rapt by the long, bewitching story.

11. Hunting-Song of the Seeonee Pack by Rudyard Kipling - the cadence and rhythm of this poem is mesmerizing.

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