Saturday, April 11, 2015

April is National Poetry Month

What is National Poetry Month? 
National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, with tens of millions of readers, students, K-12 teachers, librarians, booksellers, literary events curators, publishers, bloggers, and, of course, poets marking poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives every April.
Who started it? 
Inspired by the successful celebrations of Black History Month (February) and Women’s History Month (March), the Academy of American Poets established National Poetry Month in 1996. Along the way we enlisted a variety of government agencies and officials, educational leaders, publishers, sponsors, poets, and arts organizations to help. National Poetry Month is a registered trademark of the Academy of American Poets.
Why was April chosen for National Poetry Month? 
In coordination with poets, booksellers, librarians, and teachers, we chose a month when poetry could be celebrated with the highest level of participation. April seemed the best time within the year to turn attention toward the art of poetry—in an ultimate effort to encourage poetry readership year-round.
What are the goals of National Poetry Month? 
The goals of National Poetry Month are to:
  • highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets
  • encourage the reading of poems
  • assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms
  • increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media
  • encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books, and 
  • encourage support for poets and poetry.
Shouldn’t we celebrate poetry all year round, not just in April?
By all means, yes! We encourage the year-round, life-long reading of poetry. National Poetry Month is just one of the many programs of the Academy of American Poets. To keep the celebration going, consider becoming a member, which entitles you to special benefits throughout the year. You can also sign up for Poem-a-Day to receive free daily poems by email all year long.

Unwrapping the top 10 kid's poets to date...

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we present 10 of the most popular poets for children. Although they write for children, these featured authors are also known for their appeal to parents. Browse this list of talented poets and their classic collections of poetry and inspire your own little poet to have fun with wordplay. 

1. Shel Silverstein
Works Include: A Light in the AtticThe Giving TreeFalling UpWhere the Sidewalk Ends
Shel SilversteinThe late, great Shel Silverstein was a cartoonist, playwright, poet, performer, recording artist, and Grammy-winning, Oscar-nominated songwriter. Although his creativity was cut short, his revolutionary and iconic children’s poetry lives on.

2. Jack Prelutsky
Works Include: Something Big Has Been HereNew Kid on the BlockScranimalsBe Glad Your Nose is on Your Face
Jack PrelutskyWith over 50 books, Jack Prelutsky continues to dazzle the world of children’s poetry. In 2006, Prelutsky was named the first Children’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation, fueling his passion for creating his signature content. The accompanying illustrations are similar to Silverstein’s in that Prelutsky generally uses simplistic and silly black-and-white art.
3. Kenn Nesbitt
Works Include: My Hippo Has the HiccupsThe Tighty Whitey SpiderRevenge of the Lunch LadiesThe Aliens Have Landed
Kenn NesbittWell known for his humorous collections, Kenn Nesbitt is one of today’s most popular children’s poets. His books are full of musical and cultural references and feature various illustrators. Nesbitt’s website,, is the most visited children’s poetry site on the Internet.
4. Jon Scieszka
Works Include: Science VerseMath Curse
Jon ScieskaJon Scieska might be well-known for his fairytale adaptations, but his contributions to the poetry world are not to be overlooked. His award-winning books turn academic subjects into amusing – yet still educational – stories and songs. Scieska is also an advocate for encouraging boys to read via his website
5. Roald Dahl
Works Include: Revolting RhymesVile VersesDirty BeastsThe Hungry Toilet
Roald DahlKooky and captivating, Roald Dahl is credited with providing children – young and old – with a lifetime of favorite literature. In fact, many of his poetry books boast a targeted age range of 5 to 105! The works of this influential Brit continue to populate children’s bookshelves worldwide.

6. Paul Janeczko
Works Include: A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete PoemsA Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic FormsA Foot in the Mouth: Poems to Speak, Sing and ShoutKnock at a Star: A Child’s Introduction to Poetry
Paul JaneczkoPaul Janeczko is a role model for children, teachers and parents alike. His collections of poetry, in addition to his own works, make him one of the most referenced authors and poets in parenting and curriculum guides. He continues to captivate and inspire teachers and parents with ways to teach and incorporate poetry into the everyday lives of young children.
7. Marilyn Singer
Works Include: Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible VerseA Stick Is an Excellent ThingNine O’Clock LullabyOn the Same Day in March
Marilyn SingerDog lover, adventure seeker, and teacher-turned-writer Marilyn Singer has penned several award-winning books for all ages. Her poetry books are often themed, reaching a diverse group of children with a wide variety of passions. With more than 90 published books, Singer continues to create original content for kids.
8. Sharon Creech
Works Include: Love That DogHate That CatWho’s That BabyFishing in the Air
Sharon CreechMeet Sharon Creech: the poet for children who hate traditional poetry. Her unconventional narratives encourage kids to investigate what poetry means to them and facilitate creativity. Newbery winner Creech continues to explore different writing styles and reach a diverse audience of reluctant readers and writers.
9. Allan Ahlberg
Works Include: The Jolly PostmanEach Peach Pear PlumEverybody Was a Baby OnceHeard It in the Playground
Allan AhlbergWhether in a collaborative effort or a solo creation, Allan Ahlberg seamlessly incorporates popular themes, fairy tales and classic rhymes into his wildly popular books for kids. His writing is fast, funny and fantastical, and has ensured him and his late wife and writing partner, Janet, a place in the heart of children everywhere.
10. Barry Louis Polisar
Works Include: Curious CreaturesPeculiar ZooInsect SoupNoises from Under the Rug
Barry Louis PolisarPolisar is a one-of-a-kind triple threat: author, musician and TV personality. He manages to combine all aspects of entertainment in order to captivate kids – and adults! Several of his books include accompanying music, making him an unconventional, yet spot-on children’s entertainer and education advocate.
Related Links:
PBS Parents: Sharing the Power of Poetry with Your Child
PBS KIDS: Martha’s Rhyme Time
PBS KIDS GO!: Fern’s Poetry Club
The Poetry Foundation Website: The Poetry Foundation
( source: - Danielle Steinberg)

Read on and read always!

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