We believe it is important that children are encouraged to read poetry. Poetry features in our English curriculum as explicitly taught units of learning, and we also have an annual Poetry Week that takes place in November every year. This coincides with the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education’s (CLPE) poetry award, known as the CLiPPA. Throughout the week, children are exposed to a range of poems and encouraged to read, visualise, perform and evaluate poetry.
The CLPE booklist for poetry is excellent. Rather than being overwhelming, it’s an excellent selection of some of the best poetry collections available to teachers and children.
We suggest using the Year Group search tool to narrow down your search.
Over the last two years, a number of these books have been used throughout our poetry week, such as Zim Zam Zoom by James Carter and Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry. Below is a small selection from the list we highly recommend.
EYFS and KS1
Key Stage 1
Each Peach Pear Plum introduces characters from well-known nursery stories, such as the Three Bears, Mother Hubbard and Tom Thumb, and encourages children to participate and to find the characters hidden in the pictures. The text, with its strong rhyme and rhythm, is perfect to read aloud to very young children, while the game of ‘I Spy’ keeps children enthralled.
This beautiful book is a collection of poetry from all around the world, illustrated by some of the finest picture book artists working today.
Colours, animals, space, music, fairytale fireworks…! Here is a collection of poems especially written for performance. With delightful illustrations by a talented new illustrator, this is a brilliant introduction to poetry for young children
For this celebration of our Earth, distinguished anthologist Wendy Cooling has chosen poems to make children look, think, and ask questions. Why are trees so important? How are motorways damaging our countryside? What can we do about rubbish? What can we do to protect our Earth for the future? Strong, colourful illustrations combine to make this a gift book with a difference.
The second Harry and Lil story from acclaimed Faber poet Julia Copus, who has recently turned her hand to picture books for the first time! The tale of a hog – and his friend Candy Stripe Lil – kept awake by mysterious noises in the night is sure to delight adults and children alike.
The first in a brand-new series of poetry books created with KS1 teachers and students in mind, but packed with glorious poems that will appeal to a wide audience. This topic-based collection features brand-new poems about fairies, mermaids, princesses, monsters, mythical creatures, dinosaurs, pets, transport, families, seasons, school, people who help us, pirates, the senses, space, feelings, holidays and festivals, minibeasts, food, where we live, nature, friends and the past.
From beachcombing to stargazing, from watching squirrels, ducks and worms to making berry crumble or a winter bird feast, this is a remarkable book – part poetry, part scrapbook of recipes, facts and fragments – and a glorious reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered.
A vibrant collection of poems perfect to be performed by two or more voices! In this collection, Julia Donaldson has chosen poems with performance by children in mind, and in the notes section at the end of the book are her notes and ideas on performing them. Julia’s passionate belief that performance can help children enjoy reading and grow in confidence is informed by her own experience both as a child and now, working with groups of children to bring stories, poems and songs to life.
With magic tricks, incredible illusions and astonishing spectacles, both old and new fans will adore meeting the conjuring cat, Mr Mistoffelees, the second of the Old Possum’s illustrated picture books. Arthur Robins brings this magical cat bursting to life.
Here is a collection of fabulously funny poems put together by John Foster and illustrated with creative genius by Korky Paul. There are poems by a range of authors about all kinds of football matches – including meteorite footballs, football on the moon, a witches versus wizards football match, the goalie with expanding hands, and the Stone Age man who invented football.
The B on Your Thumb is a book of 60 hilariously illustrated rhymes and delightful ditties to boost early reading – each poem teaches a specific sound, spelling or rule. Using rhythm and wordplay, they promote phonics awareness, thinking skills and literacy. But most of all, this book delights young readers with the fun and silliness of the English language.
This beautifully designed picture book with exquisite illustrations explores a variety of shapes relating to Islamic objects and practices. This lovely visual exploration of pattern, art, Islam and different cultures is perfect to share with children at home or in the classroom.
A great big green crocodile lay down for a nap.
I lay down beside him until he went…SNAP!
Sixteen exuberant action rhymes for young children and babies, with ‘Let’s play’ guidance and joyful illustrations.
A wonderfully varied collection of poems that will speak directly to young children, full of beautiful examples of the craft of poetry. From the practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) to the fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake), the poems share a sense of joy. Soft, evocative illustrations will encourage readers to look at the world with an eye to its countless possibilities. Poets past and present that are featured include Kwame Alexander, Nikki Grimes, Christina Rossetti and Robert Louis Stevenson.
In this meditative and nicely paced poetry collection subtitled ‘Little Poems Big Ideas Mindful of Nature’, the poet presents beautiful snapshots of the natural world and has thought carefully about the form for each. The poems, which are both contemplative and playful, are complemented by gently humorous illustrations that use an unusual and effective muted limited palette and are sometimes surreal in their personification of animals and insects.
Key Stage 2
Do triangles ever get into a tangle when their sides meet their angles? A wonderful new children’s poetry collection, from a celebrated, award-winning poet. From nature and science to identity, prepare to be transported on a journey through past and present.
Here are 30 amazing poems, which are rooted in the world of fairy tale and legend. Wickedly witty, deliciously subversive and utterly modern, the poems are also affectionate and big-hearted tributes to the original tales and characters that inspired them. This is a sizzling new collection from a master poet, portrayed with verse by Satoshi Kitamura’s extraordinary black-and-white illustrations.
Have you ever heard of a doctopus or a hippopotamustn’t? Have you ever visited the Ning Nang Nong or lived in a floorless room? Did you know that in Japan cows go “mo”, in Vietnam they go “o-o” and that in the Philippines they go “ngna-ngna”? Here is an absolutely wonderful bunch of silly and charming poems from all around the world – from classics like the Jabberwocky, to great contemporary nonsense like The Computer’s First Proverb – with superb illustrations by Satoshi Kitamura.
This witty collection of poems about school is full of typical classroom events that will be recognized and enjoyed by everyone: the candid revelations in a pupil’s newsbook, the problem of copycats, bickering, making up, swaps, picking teams and forming gangs.
Maya Angelou’s poetic celebration of the courage within each person is matched by the daring vision of artist Basquiat, whose childlike style reveals the fanciful imaginings of childhood. In this introduction to poetry and contemporary art, brief biographies of Angelou and Basquiat accompany the text and artwork
A funny collection of football poems by Brian Bilston, the unofficial Poet Laureate of Twitter. Perfect for football fans of all ages – from the young footie fanatic to a been-to-every-game-grandma, and every ‘I could’ve been a pro’ in between.
When de July sun hot like fire Den I have just one desire To run down to de shop an’ buy a Kisko pop! A brilliant new collection from this wonderful performance poet. Her poetry is beautifully crafted yet full of energy and fun – her subjects range from global pollution to problems with maths homework and to the sad demise of pet frogs (he croaked of course). Her mixed use of standard English and dialect is a delight to read and hear. Children love reading and listening to her work!
Look out for the tree that saved a town; dip your toe in the Milky Way; sing the City Seed Song; play in Kitty Cat Street – and then come home to Belonging Street. Poems about nature and protecting our planet mingle with puzzle poems, riddles, family life and belonging, in this magical and warm-hearted new collection from an acclaimed poet and performer in schools and at festivals across the UK.