You Asked, We Answered: Poetry

December 11th, 2016 by

On October 30, 2016, Kidsmomo reader Aaron asked us for book recommendations based on his interests:

Is poetry nonfiction and fiction ? What is a good poetry book ?

Aaron, thank you for sending in your questions! Let’s go in order:

Is poetry nonfiction and fiction? Yes, it can be either! Poetry is really just a form for telling a story or sharing a message. In other words, it’s the content of the poem that determines whether it’s nonfiction or fiction. For example, Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai are both books written in verse, both about girls growing up in the United States in the past. But Brown Girl Dreaming is a memoir about the author’s real life, while Inside Out and Back Again tells a fictional story. That makes Brown Girl Dreaming nonfiction and Inside Out and Back Again fiction, even though both books are in verse.

Brown Girl Dreaming_ Jacqueline Woodson     inside-out-and-back-again

But if you’re just trying to figure out where to find poetry books at the library or bookstore, there’s usually a section specifically for books that are collections of poems, like Laugh-eteria and Bing Bang Boing by Douglas Florian.


Of course, if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for, we can help with that too! That leads us to your second question: What is a good poetry book?

To start, check out our Books for Poetry Month blog post, which includes our personal picks:

  • A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, written by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka (Karen’s pick)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (Nancy’s pick)


a-kick-in-the-head   where-the-sidewalk-ends

You can also hear us talking about these books in the podcast episode, “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue.”

Of course, Kidsmomo is all about connecting young readers with each other. So instead of just getting book recommendations from old fogeys like Karen and Nancy, check out these Reviews by You(th):

LoveThatDog-SharonCreech  hate-that-cat  A Pizza the Size of the Sun

Aaron, we hope that gives you some good ideas for your next read!

To the rest of you: If you’re like Aaron and want some customized book recommendations just for you, submit an Ask Kidsmomo question in the form below!

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    Poem in Your Pocket Day 2013

    April 12th, 2013 by

    poem-in-your-pocketSupposedly, April is the season for rain showers and spring flowers. But did you know it’s also National Poetry Month?

    Yes, you probably did. Your teacher has probably already talked about it a bunch, am I right? And we’ve also talked about it here on Kidsmomo in past Aprils.

    But here’s something you maybe didn’t already know: April 18th is Poem in Your Pocket Day! (If you already knew that, well, you are much smarter than me and should be running this website because I just found about it!)

    Poem in Your Pocket Day is exactly what it sounds like: You pick out a favorite poem, write it down or print it out, fold it up, and put it in your pocket. Then throughout the day, you and your friends can take turns sharing the poems that you’ve picked.

    Or you could put lots of copies of your favorite poem in your pocket and then hand them out to people. Or if you want, you could even keep your poem to yourself and just take it out of your pocket every once in a while to read silently when you need a little pick-me-up, like when your little brother is being super annoying or you find out it’s tuna mystery surprise day at the cafeteria.

    If you don’t already have a favorite poem, here are some books and sites with awesome options — from funny to beautiful to downright silly (a jump-roping rhino, anyone?). Check ’em out now — you’ve only got a week to decide which poem gets to make a home in your pocket!

    For my part, I’ve decided on this poem:

    The Boa
    by Douglas Florian

    Just when you think you know the boa,
    There’s moa and moa and moa and moa.

    -From the book Beast Feast: Poems and Paintings

    — Karen

    When she was a kid, Karen’s favorite kind of poem to write was the haiku. Now it’s limericks!

    More about Karen »

    Kidsmomo Podcast #47: “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue”

    May 4th, 2011 by

    It’s Kidsmomo,
    Saying, “Hello.”
    Now listen to our audio!

    As you might have guessed, our latest podcast is all about poetry and verse. Tune in to hear our own original poems — plus, our performance of a favorite by Shel Silverstein!

      Listen now: 

      Download the MP3 (4.6 MB)

    • “Poetry? Yuck!” — aka our mystery book revealed
    • Our poetry book picks (A Kick in the Head and Where the Sidewalk Ends)
    • Kidsmomo presents… two up-and-coming poets! (or not)
    • An ode to Zac Efron

    Also, don’t forget: our new theme is books starring guys! So send us a review of your favorite book starring a guy (or multiple guys) check out these books starring guys!

    — Karen and Nancy

    Book Spine Poetry

    April 30th, 2011 by

    Words are the backbone of Book Spine Poetry. Get it? Backbone? Yuk yuk! Anyway… Inspired by these book spine poems, I recently stopped by a bookstore and decided to write a little poetry — with book titles. Imagine me, the poetess! Click on each thumbnail to see the poem!

    Did you notice my own poetry theme book pick, Where the Sidewalk Ends, made it into one of my poems? I hope I made Shel Silverstein proud.

    Still hankering for some more? Check out these book spine poems! What poems can you compose from the books around your house, school, and library? Leave your own book spine poetry in the comments!

    — Nancy

    Nancy balanced about 15 books in her arms in the bookstore. A few people thought she was hoarding and gave her the stinkeye. =/

    Meet Nancy »

    Book Trailer: Love That Dog

    April 26th, 2011 by

    This book trailer for Love That Dog was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our Poetry and Verse theme. For more on Love That Dog, check out our “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue” podcast.

    We’ve all been there. Your teacher assigns you to write a poem, and you’re like, “Say what?” That’s exactly what happens to the poor guy in Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog — and he is NOT happy about it. Watch our video to see how he deals…

    From Page to Poem: Booktalks in Verse

    April 24th, 2011 by

    You’ve probably  heard your teacher or librarian use the term “booktalk” — meaning a book preview kind of speech to get you interested in reading something new. But have you ever come across booktalk poetry? Well, prepare to behold its brilliance!

    Fine, I’m just saying that because I wrote these myself. So be forewarned! But it’s National Poetry Month and our Kidsmomo theme is Poetry and Verse — so I couldn’t resist!

    First, a limerick for a hilarious book series:

    Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker

    There once was a girl with a fruit name.
    Nobody else was quite the same.
    She’s totally funny.
    I’d even bet money,
    You’ll agree that her books all deserve fame!

    And next, two haiku (hey! that rhymes!):

    Holes by Louis Sachar

    I’m at Camp Green Lake.
    It’s not green; there is no lake.
    Darn my grandpa’s curse!

    Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

    The hippo is dead.
    Was he killed? If so, by whom?
    Must investigate!

    And finally, my masterpiece — a poem for one of my new favorite books:

    The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens

    Meet the Ps —
    Michael, Emma, and Kate.
    Evil was hunting them,
    But arrived too late.

    They’d already been taken
    Away from mom and dad;
    They lived as orphans
    To be protected from bad.

    Then one fateful day,
    They discover a book.
    It’s not as innocent
    As it may look!

    Before they know it,
    They’re in the past,
    And there they meet
    A peculiar cast:

    An evil Countess
    And her scary Screechers,
    A wizard, dwarves,
    And other creatures…

    It’s up to the kids
    To save the day.
    Can they do it?
    I will not say!

    You’ll have to read
    The book yourself;
    It deserves a home
    On your bookshelf.

    Also, check out this Ode to the Mysterious Benedict Society that I wrote a while back.

    So, I hope these poetic booktalks have entertained — but more importantly, I hope they’ve inspired! If the spirit moves you, please try your hand at booktalk poetry and share your verse in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with!

    — Karen

    Back in the day, Karen used to write lots of poetry. Once, she was inspired to wrote a poem immediately upon arriving in Italy on vacation with her parents. It was all about the horribly hot weather.

    More about Karen »

    Books for Poetry Month

    April 19th, 2011 by

    There once were two girls with a website.
    They loved finding books that were just right.
    Then Poetry Month came,
    And true to their claim,
    Here are poetry books sure to delight!

    Hey, we never said we were Shakespeare… But we DID round up a bunch of poetry and verse offerings for National Poetry Month. Enjoy them this April or anytime (in no particular order):

    1. A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, written by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Chris Raschka (Karen’s pick)
    2. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (Nancy’s pick)
    3. The New Kid on the Block by Jack Prelutsky
    4. Laugh-eteria by Douglas Florian
    5. Rimshots: Basketball Pix, Rolls, and Rhythms by Charles R. Smith Jr.
    6. Swimming Upstream: Middle School Poems by Kristine O’Connell George
    7. Night Garden: Poems From the World of Dreams, written by Janet S. Wong and illustrated by Julie Paschkis
    8. Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
    9. Science Verse, written by Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith
    10. A Writing Kind Of Day: Poems for Young Poets by Ralph Fletcher

    (Also, here’s a printable version of our Poetry and Verse booklist, for you to take to the library or bookstore — or use to impress that classmate you have a crush on.)

    If you’ve read any of these, send in your book review. Or send in a review of your favorite poetry book.

    UPDATE 5/4/11: We revealed the answer to our Poetry and Verse Mystery Book Theater in the “Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue” Podcast, so take a listen if you want to know the answer. Or just tune in if you want to hear our semi-successful attempts at writing our own poetry. (We won’t hold our breath for any awards…)