Poetic Picture Books from Perpich Library
April 19, 2023
April is National Poetry Month. In honor of this, the library is featuring picture books about poetry! Not just for children, these books encourage a love of poetry in all ages and are excellent to either use in the classroom or to read for fun.
All items on this list are available at the Perpich library. Click on titles for more information.
1. Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing by Marilyn Singer; illustrated by Kristi Valiant
Marilyn Singer has crafted a vibrant collection of poems celebrating all forms of social dance from samba and salsa to tango and hip-hop. The rhythm of each poem mimics the beat of the dances’ steps. Together with Kristi Valiant’s dynamic illustrations, the poems create a window to all the ways dance enters our lives and exists throughout many cultures. This ingenious collection will inspire readers to get up and move!
2. Hip Hop Speaks to Children: 50 Inspiring Poems with a Beat edited by Nikki Giovanni
Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a celebration of poetry with a beat. Poetry can have both a rhyme and a rhythm. Sometimes it is obvious; sometimes it is hidden. But either way, make no mistake, poetry is as vibrant and exciting as it gets. And when you find yourself clapping your hands or tapping your feet, you know you’ve found poetry with a beat! READ more than 50 remarkable poems and songs. The Hip Hop Speaks to Children CD contains more than 30 performances, either by the artists who created them, or as unique interpretations by admiring poets and artists.
3. I Am Enough by Grace Byers; pictures by Keturah A. Bobo
This gorgeous, lyrical ode to loving who you are, respecting others, and being kind to one another comes from Empire actor and activist Grace Byers and talented newcomer artist Keturah A. Bobo.
4. Jazz by Walter Dean Myers; illustrated by Christopher Myers
Fifteen poems, infused with the rhythm and wordplay of jazz music, are paired with bold, stylized illustrations of performers and dancers to convey the history and breadth of this unique musical style. From bebop to New Orleans, from ragtime to boogie, and every style in between, Jazz takes readers on a musical journey from jazz’s beginnings to the present day.
5. Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander; with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth; illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.
6. Tamalitos: Un Poema Para Vocinar / A Cooking Poem words by Jorge Argueta; pictures by Domi; translated by Elisa Amado
In simple poetic language, Argueta shows young cooks how to mix and knead the dough before dropping a spoonful into a cornhusk, wrapping it up and then steaming the little package. He makes cooking a full sensory experience, including beating on a pot like a drum, dancing the corn dance, delighting in the smell of corn masa … And at the end, he suggests inviting the whole family to come and enjoy the delicious tamalitos “made of corn with love.” Domi’s vivid paintings, featuring a sister and her little brother making tamalitos together, are a perfect accompaniment to the colorful text.
7. Thanku: Poems of Gratitude by Joseph Bruchac [and 32 others]; illustrated by Marlena Myles
This anthology brings together a diverse group of poets who express gratitude for everything from a puppy to hot cocoa to the sky itself. Each writer uses a different poetic form, and readers will encounter a concrete poem, a sonnet, a pantoum, a sijo, and much more.
Contributors include Kimberly Blaeser, Sun Yung Shin, Naomi Shihab Nye, Charles Waters, Janice Scully, Jane Yolen, Traci Sorell, JaNay Brown-Wood, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Margarita Engle, and more. Stunning illustrations from Marlena Myles invite close examination, making this a collection to return to and savor again and again.
8. The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander; illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Originally performed for ESPN’s The Undefeated, this poem is a love letter to Black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world’s greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Robust back matter at the end provides valuable historical context and additional detail for those wishing to learn more.
9. Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein; art by Ed Young
An unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect. Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique worldview that is wabi sabi.
10. Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico! Americas’ Sproutings haiku by Pat Mora; pictures by Rafael López
Peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more – here is a luscious collection of haiku celebrating foods native to the Americas. Brimming with imagination and fun, these poems capture the tasty essence of foods that have delighted, united, and enriched our lives for centuries. Exuberant illustrations bring to life the delicious spirit of the haiku, making Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America’s Sproutings an eye-popping, mouth-watering treat. Open it and dig in!
All items on this list are available at the Perpich Library.