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Poetry

On this booklist we have picked a selection of recommended poetry for primary school classrooms. Scroll down to find poetry collections for EYFS, KS1 and KS2.

Poetry for Early Years/Reception

A Great Big Cuddle: Poems for the Very Young

Michael Rosen & Chris Riddell

A collection of Michael Rosen's poems for very young children, with delightful colour illustrations by Chris Riddell.  The poems are accessible and playful, designed to capture elements of life that very small children can relate to;  choosing toys, falling into a puddle or waiting for lunchtime to come. A brilliant introduction to poetry that engages young children with rhythmic and playful verses that are easy to join in with and learn by heart.  You can see a few examples of the poems here.
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Poems Out Loud

Laurie Stansfield & Various Poets

A new collection of illustrated verses from a range of contemporary children's poets, performers and hip-hop artists. This is the poetry collection that EYFS classrooms have been waiting for! The poems have been selected for their suitability to read aloud and cover topics like minibeasts, pirates, animals and night time. Highly recommended. 

Zim Zam Zoom

James Carter & Nicola Colton

A collection of sixteen energetic poems and rhymes to ignite the senses, with topics including fireworks, food, dragons and splashy puddles. Colourful illustrations make the book a delight to look at as well as to listen to being read aloud.
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 50 Recommended Reads for Reception.

My Village: Rhymes from Around the World

Danielle Wright & Mique Moriuchi

This collection contains 22 nursery rhymes from different countries around the globe, with each poem appearing in its own language next to an English translation. Examples include 'Song of Kites' from Japan,  'Spotty Spider' from Tonga and 'Snowman Frost' from Denmark. For some children, this will provide a first taste of seeing printed words in other languages, while other children will delight to see their own languages featured. The selected poems are short, playful and set on full-colour illustrated spreads. 

Mad About Dinosaurs!

Giles Andreae & David Wojtowycz

A brightly-illustrated collection of catchy poems about the different sorts of dinosaurs, from the author of the popular Commotion in the Ocean. These rhymes are ideal for reading aloud and learning by heart.
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Poetry for Key Stage 1

A First Book of the Sea

Nicola Davies & Emily Sutton

Poetry meets science and art in this beautiful picture book anthology of sea-themed poems. Each double-page spread explores a different aspect of the sea, from pebbles and sandcastles to whales and puffins to lighthouses and sailors. Each new aspect is drawn out in beautifully poetic language that makes the reader reflect with awe at the natural and man-made wonders of the sea, the pleasure it provides and the unanswered questions it holds.

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Perfectly Peculiar Pets

Elli Woollard & Anja Boretzki

We love this whacky A-Z of weird and wonderful pets. With a different pet poem for each letter of the alphabet (from armadillos to zebras via kookaburras to umbrella birds!), the poems are quirky and energetic, making them perfect to read aloud. Children will enjoy finding the poem that matches their name's initial or just dipping in and out of the rhythmical menagerie of verses. 

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Poems About Festivals

Brian Moses, Kristina Swarner & Various Poets

Poet Brian Moses selects an appealing variety of poems about different festivals in this illustrated anthology suitable for Key Stage 1. Different styles of poetry capture the spirit of a range of festivals, from Pancake Day and Holi to  Eid-ul-Fitr and Chinese New Year. 

I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree: A Nature Poem for Every Day of the Year

Fiona Waters & Frann Preston-Gannon

This beautiful poetry anthology that includes a new nature poem for every day of the year is likely to become a primary classroom essential. The collection of 366 poems (to make sure leap years are covered too!) contains a really interesting mix of poems from well-known favourites from Christina Rossetti and Walter de la Mare to more modern offerings by Benjamin Zephaniah and Carol Ann Duffy, with each poem reflecting the seasonal changes associated with that day's position in the year. An excellent book to keep on a teacher's desk for a daily dose of classroom poetry.

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Crazy Mayonnaisy Mum

Julia Donaldson and Nick Sharratt

A collection of Julia Donaldson's amusing poems and rhymes that are perfect for reading aloud and sharing. The laugh-out-loud poems about everyday topics are brimming with word-play and rhyme, making this collection an excellent choice for helping children to engage with poetry in an entertaining way.

Poetry for Lower KS2

I am a Jigsaw: Puzzling Poems to Baffle your Brain

Roger Stevens

A collection of poems for children who love solving brainteasers and cracking codes. The illustrated anthology includes riddles, acrostics, kennings and paradiddles (you'll have to read the book if - like me- you didn't already know what a paradiddle poem is...). There is also a section of the book designated to how to write different types of puzzle poems. A brilliantly fun introduction to poetry designed to get puzzle-loving children engaged with a variety of poetic forms.

I Don't Like Poetry

Joshua Seigal

This collection of poems was shortlisted for the 2017 Laugh Out Loud Book Awards and it is not hard to see why, as each poem is designed to raise a chuckle. From the clever and witty to the downright silly, this imaginative collection of verses is likely to win over reluctant readers and be passed from pupil to pupil in KS2 classrooms.

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The Lost Words

Robert MacFarlane & Jackie Morris

The Lost Words is a collaboration between Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, seeking to ‘summon what has vanished’ and celebrate a host of disappearing words relating to the natural world. This is a poetry book about preservation - of nature, of language and of childhood – and the beautifully illustrated over-sized hardback volume is in itself a book to preserve and treasure. Inside the book, readers will find acrostic ‘poem-spells’, with each one intending to preserve a nature word that has disappeared from the dictionary as well as to evoke the unique sounds, sensations and moods associated with the experiences of encountering wildlife firsthand.

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Spaced Out

James Carter, Brian Moses & Various Poets

Blast off into galaxies unknown with this illustrated collection of poems about space by a variety of children's poets. With a diversity of poetic forms covering topics from planets and asteroids to black holes and shooting stars, this cosmic collection is likely to be enjoyed again and again by children in KS2 classroom.

Where Zebras Go

Sue Hardy-Dawson

Sue Hardy-Dawson offers a perfectly-pitched variety of imaginative poems covering topics of interest to children, including animals, sports, playtime, growing up and protecting the environment, all delivered through entertaining verses including a number of shape poems. 

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Poetry for Upper KS2

Quick, Let's Get Out of Here!

Michael Rosen & Quentin Blake

Michael Rosen's poetry books are a must-have in primary classrooms and this one - illustrated by Quentin Blake - has a hugely entertaining appeal in KS2.  The poems zoom in on small moments from growing up, from sibling squabbles to best friends to the feeling of trying to avoid being told off by mum and dad (even when you've sneaked downstairs in the night to eat some chocolate cake...). Young readers may also enjoy the fact that they can see many of the poems being performed on the poet's dedicated YouTube channel.

Overheard in a Tower Block

Joseph Coelho & Kate Milner

Award-winning poet Joseph Coelho depicts one boy's experiences of growing up in a tower block, told through a series of poems that explore different aspects of growing up, including parental separation, school bullies, exam results and adolescence. The poems are powerful, thought-provoking and vivid, with themes that will feel relatable to many young people. This is an excellent collection to dip and out of, suitable for the crossover between Upper KS2 and Lower KS3.

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A Kid in My Class

Rachel Rooney & Chris Riddell

A popular collection that captures the essence of primary school life through a series of poem portraits depicting different characters in a class, from the fidgety pup to the know-it-all (and even the class hamster gets a turn). Entertaining and empathy-building, this is an excellent collection for primary classrooms.

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Moon Juice

Kate Wakeling & Elina Braslina

This collection of witty and intriguing poems that stir the imagination was the winner of the 2017 CLiPPA poetry award. The poems are lively, thought-provoking and are likely to be enjoyed for their humour, language play and rich variety of themes that appeal to upper KS2, including magic, space, relationships, family life and human emotion.

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Be The Change: Poems to Help you Save the World

Liz Brownlee, Roger Stevens & Matt Goodfellow

Three children's poets come together to create a collection of positive poems about looking after the planet. The poems in this stirring and topical volume explore the theme of sustainability without the doom and gloom that can too easily dominate conversations about climate change, instead encouraging positive steps that make an impact on the world around us.

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More ideas...
Click each book cover to view on Amazon.
Let's Celebrate
Silly Verse for Kids
Out and About: A First Books of Poem
Love That Dog
Journey to the Centre of My Brain