Poetry Resources For Young Poets

A recent request for poetry resources for primary students has prompted me to consider some of the resources I use for this age group. 

I have developed an extensive list of resources over the years. I keep many of these books in my poet’s suitcase. http://alanjwrightpoetrypizzazz.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/poets-suitcase.html  and regularly share these resources as an initial poetry tasting with students. The idea behind this approach is based on the belief that young poets need to read a lot of poetry in order to successfully embark upon the writing of poetry. I want to do more than immerse them in poetry, I want to ‘dunk’ them in poetry and all it involves.

An observant young poet told me this week after spending an hour investigating and researching a plethora of poetic forms, - ‘When you write poetry, you can make your own rules, but then you have to stick to them.’ This is the kind of awareness we need to develop among our inexperienced poets.

So, here is a recently updated list of some of the poetry books I use to assist young writers to better understand, and hopefully embrace poetry as part of their writing lives:

Narrative/Free Verse Poetry
nQuick Let’s Get Out of Here, Michael Rosen
The Hypnotiser, Michael Rosen
Mind Your Own Business, Michael Rosen
nDon’t Put Mustard in The Custard, Michael Rosen
Hey World, Here I Am, Jean Little
Water Bombs, Steven Herrick
nAll the Small Poems and Fourteen More, Valerie Worth

Verse Novels
Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend, Steven Herrick
Naked Bunyip Dancing, Steven Herrick
nPearl Verses The World, Sally Murphy
Witness, Karen Hesse
nLove That Dog, Sharon Creech
His Name Is Fire, Catherine Bateson
The Crossover, Kwane Alexander

nI Am The Ocean, Suzanna Marshak

Poems For Two Voices
Joyful Noise, Paul Fleischman

Poetry Books embracing a single theme
nPoetrees, Douglas Florian
nComets, Stars, The Moon, and Mars, Douglas Florian
nHeard It In The Playground, Allan Ahlberg
nMachine Poems, Collected by Jill Bennett
Honey I Love, Eloise Greenfield
nThe Someday House, Anne Shelby
nSeasons, A book of Poems, Charlotte Zolotow
To This Day, Shane Koyczan (Bullying)
Something Permanent, Cynthia Rylant

Poems Written by Children
Salting The Ocean, 100 poems by poets, Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye

List Poems
nBing, Bang, Boing, Poems and Drawings by Douglas Florian
nThe Important Book, Margaret Wise Brown

nMichael Rosen’s A to Z –The Best Children’s Poetry from Agard to Zepeniah
nPoems To Perform, Julia Donaldson

nThe Dog’s Been Sick in The Honda, Colin Thompson
nUnspun Socks From A Chicken’s Laundry, Spike Milligan
nSearching for Hen’s Teeth- Poetry from the Search Zone, Alan j Wright

Professional Reading
Poetry Mentor Texts, Making Reading and Writing Connections, K-8, Lynne. R. Dorfman & Rose Cappelli
Poetry Everywhere, Jack Collom & Sheryl Noethe
For The Love of Poetry, Mandy Tunica

n Denotes titles suited to both junior and senior primary classes.


Michael Rosen –

Steven Herrick –


  1. Such great poetry resources, Alan! Several of the titles are new to me, but I do use many of those you list even with my high school students. We enjoy writing two voice poems like Fleischman's "Book Lice" at year's start--fun poetry play that.

  2. Thanks Lee Ann, I tried to create a mix of titles, some I know from my time working in the states as well as titles acquired here in Australia.Like you, I find they have application across a range of year levels, which is such a bonus. The two voices poems are a most interesting challenge, I love them and kids enjoy them too, particularly, the presentation of their work. The collection of valid poetry resources is an ongoing quest.


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