Poetry Month 2021

April is National Poetry Month! Here’s a list of recent books with rhyming text or novels-in-verse to share with all the young readers in your life.

A is for Audra: Broadway’s Leading Ladies from A to Z
By John Robert Allman
Illustrated by Peter Emmerich
48 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525645405 | Doubleday BFYR
Step into the spotlight and celebrate a cavalcade of Broadway’s legendary ladies. Start with “A” for six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald, then sing and dance your way through the alphabet with beloved entertainers like Patti LuPone, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, Lea Salonga, Kristin Chenoweth, Kelli O’Hara, and Liza Minnelli! Broadway fans and theater lovers everywhere will give a standing ovation to this one-of-a-kind tribute full of toe-tapping rhymes, with illustrations as bright and beautiful as the shining lights on any marquee.

Big Feelings
By Alexandra Penfold
Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
42 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525579748 | Knopf BFYR
In their bestselling picture book All Are Welcome, Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman celebrate kindness, inclusivity, and diversity. Now with Big Feelings, they help children navigate the emotional challenges they face in their daily lives. What should we do when things don’t go to plan? We may feel mad, frustrated, or overwhelmed, but by talking it through, compromising, and seeing another point of view, we can start fresh, begin anew.

I Don’t Want to Be Quiet
By Laura Ellen Anderson
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593117286 | Philomel BFYR
Sometimes it’s hard to be quiet. There are drums to drum and hums to hum, drinks to slurp, and burps to burp – so many loud and wonderful noises to make! So when this spunky little girl goes to the library, it’s extra difficult to behave – until the entire room tells her to SHHHHHH. It’s only then, as she discovers the wonders that live inside books, that she sees how much fun she can have in her own imagination – all without making a peep. In this bright and playful rhyming picture book filled with vibrant, cheerful illustrations, readers learn the joy that is possible when we really stop and listen.

I Talk Like a River
By Jordan Scott
Illustrated by Sydney Smith
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823445592 | Neal Porter Books
When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father’s ability to reconnect a child with the world around him. Poet Jordan Scott writes movingly in this powerful and ultimately uplifting book, based on his own experience, and masterfully illustrated by Greenaway Medalist Sydney Smith. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.

Just Like Me
By Vanessa Brantley-Newton
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525582090 | Knopf BFYR
From Vanessa Brantley-Newton, the author of Grandma’s Purse, comes a collection of poetry filled with engaging mini-stories about girls of all kinds: girls who feel happy, sad, scared, powerful; girls who love their bodies and girls who don’t; country girls, city girls; girls who love their mother and girls who wish they had a father. With bright portraits in Vanessa’s signature style of vibrant colors and unique patterns and fabrics, this book invites readers to find themselves and each other within its pages.

Natsumis Song of SummerNatsumi’s Song of Summer
By Robert Paul Weston
Illustrated by Misa Saburi
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735265417 | Tundra Books
Natsumi’s nervousness about meeting her cousin from across the sea quickly disappears when she discovers that her cousin is a lot like her: they both love summertime’s hot sandy beaches, cool refreshing watermelon, festivals, and fireworks. Then Jill asks Natsumi about the strange buzzing sound that comes from the nearby trees, and Natsumi is nervous once again. What if Jill is frightened of Natsumi’s cherished cicadas, the insects that sing the music of summertime? This sweet and gentle picture book celebrates summer in Japan, as one little girl shares her love for bugs with her cousin who is visiting from America.

No Buddy Like a Book
By Allan Wolf
Illustrated by Brianne Farley
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536203073 | Candlewick
Have you ever wanted to climb to the top of Everest with one hand behind your back? Kiss a crocodile all by yourself on the Nile River? How about learning how to bottle moonlight, or track a distant star? There are endless things to discover and whole universes to explore simply by reading a book. But books are only smears of ink without the reader’s mind to give their letters meaning and bring them to life. With a rollicking, rhyming text and delightful artwork, poet and storyteller Allan Wolf and illustrator Brianne Farley remind us that books, no matter how they may be consumed, give readers of every background an opportunity to expand their world and spark their imagination. With infectious enthusiasm, No Buddy Like a Book offers an ode to the wonders of language – written, spoken, and everything in between.

Raindrops to Rainbows
By John Micklos, Jr.
Illustrated by Charlene Chua
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593224090 | Penguin Workshop
Raindrops are falling outside, but there’s still a world of color to experience! Delightful rhymes and brilliant illustrations detail how a gloomy, rainy day might not actually be so gloomy after all when you get to spend time with Mom, Brown Bear, and the colors around you. And when a “beaming rainbow, bold and bright” cuts through the sky, everyone gets to experience the joy of all the colors that can only come after the rain.

Someone Has to Build the Dream
By Lisa Wheeler
Illustrated by Loren Long
48 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984814333 | Dial BFYR
Gorgeously written and illustrated, this is an eye-opening exploration of the many types of work that go into building our world – from the making of a bridge to a wind farm, an amusement park, and even the very picture book that you are reading. An architect may dream up the plans for a house, but someone has to actually work the saws and pound the nails. This book is a thank-you to the skilled women and men who work tirelessly to see our dreams brought to life.

Starfish
By Lisa Fipps
256 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9781984814500 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she’s been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules – like “no making waves,” “avoid eating in public,” and “don’t move so fast that your body jiggles.” And she’s found her safe space – her swimming pool – where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It’s also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie’s weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life – by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

The Stars Beckoned: Edward White’s Amazing Walk in Space
By Candy Wellins
Illustrated by Courtney Dawson
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593118047 | Philomel BFYR
Edward White was the first American astronaut to walk in space. But before his spacewalk, he was just a boy who loved the stars. As he grew up, he would look up at the night sky in wonder – he knew that, one day, he would visit the stars themselves. In this touching and poignant picture book biography, we see how Edward’s passion for the stars shaped the course of his life, and how he came to realize, even in the depths of space, what was ultimately most important to him – his family.

We Belong
By Cookie Hiponia Everman
208 Pages | Ages 10+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593112205 | Dial BFYR
Stella and Luna know that their mama, Elsie, came from the Philippines when she was a child, but they don’t know much else. So one night they ask her to tell them her story. As they get ready for bed, their mama spins two tales: that of her youth as a strong-willed middle child and immigrant; and that of the young life of Mayari, the mythical daughter of a god. Both are tales of sisterhood and motherhood, and of the difficult experience of trying to fit into a new culture, and having to fight for a home and acceptance. Glorious and layered, this is a portrait of family and strength for the ages.

What Are Little Girls Made Of?
By Jeanne Willis
Illustrated by Isabelle Follath
32 Pages | Ages 7-10 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536217339 | Nosy Crow
Think you know your nursery rhymes? Then think again! In this witty reworking of some nursery rhymes, Georgie Porgie doesn’t dare to make the girls cry, Little Bo-Peep’s sheep are all present and accounted for, thank you, and it’s a female doctor, of course, who fixes Humpty Dumpty. With the combination of clever rhymes and charming, witty illustrations, this remixed nursery rhyme collection is the perfect gift book for any child (or adult!), to read aloud or enjoy alone.

Wild Symphony
By Dan Brown
Illustrated by Susan Batori
44 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593123843 | Rodale Kids
Travel through the trees and across the seas with Maestro Mouse and his musical friends! Young readers will meet a big blue whale and speedy cheetahs, tiny beetles and graceful swans. Each has a special secret to share. Along the way, you might spot the surprises Maestro Mouse has left for you – a hiding buzzy bee, jumbled letters that spell out clues, and even a coded message to solve! Children and adults can enjoy this timeless picture book as a traditional read-along, or can choose to listen to original musical compositions as they read – one for each animal – with a free interactive smartphone app, which uses augmented reality to play the appropriate song for each page when a phone’s camera is held over it.

Valentine’s Day Reading

This Valentine’s Day, spend some quality time with your littlest reader and a good book – here are some suggestions!

Bunny Roo and Duckling Too
By Melissa Marr
Illustrated by Teagan White
32 Pages | Ages 1-3 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780525516040 | Nancy Paulsen Books
A loving mama has fun sharing the various animals her growing child resembles, in this delightful companion to Bunny Roo, I Love You. It’s hard to keep up with an energetic toddler, and as an adoring mom tries to, she describes all the frisky young animals her little one reminds her of – from a hopping frog and a squirming snake, to her adorable cuddly bunny.

Crocodiles Need Kisses Too
By Rebecca Colby
Illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan
40 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780451480071 | Viking BFYR
Fun-to-read-aloud, rhyming text describes prickly porcupines, roaring tigers, and slithery snakes – not the most cuddly creatures, but still worthy of hugs and snuggles from their mamas! With a luscious and colorful palette, Crocodiles Need Kisses Too shows that animals (and children) don’t have to be warm and fuzzy to be totally lovable.

Elmo Loves You
By Sarah Albee
Illustrated by Maggie Swanson
26 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Board
ISBN 9780399552182 | Golden Books
In this Sesame Street Little Golden Book, Elmo tells in a rollicking, rap-like rhyme how everybody has something special to care about. And Elmo reminds his readers that, yes, “Elmo loves you!” Though this humor-laced poem is a natural for Valentine’s Day, toddlers will love it year-round.

Guess How Much I Love You: Blush Sweetheart Edition
By Sam McBratney
Illustrated by Anita Jeram
32 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536216806 | Candlewick
It’s a sentiment shared across the world – and a classic book treasured from one generation to the next. Now the droll tale of a big and little hare vying to love each other as high as they can hop, as far as they can reach, up to the sky and beyond, receives a captivating new treatment. With shiny rose-gold lettering, a pearlescent pale-pink cover frames Little Nutbrown Hare inside a cut-out heart – an endearing design sure to charm anyone who adores somebody more than they can measure.

Huggy Kissy
By Leslie Patricelli
26 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board
ISBN 9781536211351 | Candlewick
When you’re an adorable bald baby, your family finds lots of ways to show you how much they love you: Mommy lifts you uppy, Daddy kisses you on the tummy, and everyone wants to snuggle. What’s not to love? With comedy and warmth, Leslie Patricelli offers a universal tribute to love and affection in a board book full of instant appeal for little valentines everywhere.

I Love You to the Moon and Back
By Amelia Hepworth
Illustrated by Tim Warnes
28 Pages | Ages 2-5 | Board
ISBN 9781589255517 | Tiger Tales
The sun rises, and a bear and cub begin their day together. They splash in the water, climb mountains, watch the colorful lights in the shimmering sky, and play with friends. They show their love for each other by touching noses, chasing each other, and, of course, hugging and snuggling before bed. A sweet, gentle rhyme, perfect for sharing with a special little one that also includes a “To” and “From” personalization page in the front of the book, making this heartwarming book an ideal gift.

I Love You With All My Heart
By Jane Chapman
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781680101898 | Tiger Tales
With a wonderfully strong message of unconditional love, this book is perfect for little ones who need reassurance from time to time. Little Bear has broken Mommy’s favorite sunflower plant. What if her mom won’t love her anymore? Luckily, Mommy knows just what to do. . . . “Put your paw on your heart,” she smiles, “and you’ll feel my love going on and on forever!”

Love
By Matt de la Peña
Illustrated by Loren Long
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524740917 | Putnam BFYR
In this heartfelt celebration of love, Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.

Love from the Crayons
By Drew Daywalt
Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
32 Pages | Ages 5-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781524792688 | Penguin Workshop
Ring in Valentine’s Day – and love – with the New York Times Best-Selling Crayons! This charming new title featuring everyone’s favorite coloring crew is the perfect gift for that special someone on Valentine’s Day – or any day of the year. This special gift book, featuring all the The Crayons from The Day the Crayons Quit, explores the bright colors and subtle shades of love. This is a must-have for fans of The Crayons, and the perfect gift for that special someone.

Love from the Very Hungry Caterpillar
By Eric Carle
32 Pages | Ages 3-5 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780448489322 | World of Eric Carle
“You are the cherry on my cake; you make the sun shine brighter; you make my heart flutter.” Using a range of images from the World of Eric Carle, and featuring the Very Hungry Caterpillar, this special gift book gives all the reasons why someone special makes the world a better and brighter place. Perfect for that someone special any day of the year!

My Love Is All Around
By Danielle McLean
Illustrated by Sebastien Braun
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781680101942 | Tiger Tales
Mommy Bear shows Baby Bear how love is all around them no matter where they go and what they do! Join Mommy Bear and Baby Bear as they discover that love is all around them.

Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink
By Sharon Hampson, Lois Lilienstein, and Bram Morrison, with Randi Hampson
Illustrated by Qin Leng
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735264069 | Tundra Books
What does “skinnamarink” mean? You may not find its definition in a dictionary, but the meaning is clear to the generations of children who sang along: friendship, happiness, sharing, community and, ultimately, love. This song has been sung in weddings and in classrooms. It can be fun and silly – especially with the accompanying actions! And it has a way of bringing people together. Through Qin Leng’s wonderfully imaginative illustrations, this delightful picture book tells the story of a community coming together. Young and old, from little mice to a big elephant, people and animals gather into a spontaneous parade as they follow the sound of music.

The Boy Who Loved Everyone
By Jane Porter
Illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9781536211238 | Candlewick
Dimitri may be small, but his heart is as big and as open as a cloudless blue sky. “I love you,” Dimitri tells his new classmates at preschool. “I love you,” Dimitri tells the class guinea pig and the ants on the ground. “I love you,” Dimitri tells the paintbrushes and the tree with heart-shaped leaves. So why doesn’t anyone say “I love you” back? Could love also be expressed in unspoken ways? In a familiar story of navigating the social cues of new friendship, author Jane Porter and illustrator Maisie Paradise Shearring offer a thoughtful tribute to the tender ones – those who spread kindness simply by being, and who love without bounds.

Vintage Valentines
By Golden Books
12 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9780375875144 | Golden Books
This nostalgic Little Golden Book will conjure up memories of dollies, glitter, and shoeboxes full of homemade valentines! A very special collection of vintage-style press-out cards and envelopes with red flocking on the cover that will make consumers long for the simpler times when these cards were originally created.