Family Time Tuesdays – Poetry With a Purpose

poetry arrangement

I love poetry, but in implementing a poetry-themed Family Time, I found myself…well – reading poems. I had no idea how to look at the poem with my children – to really see the poem.  Clearly, I know some poems are to just make us laugh, and these are a favorite in our home. But I wanted to enjoy some more meaningful poetry as well.

In the beginning, A Child’s Introduction to Poetry was perfect! Our homeschool community does weekly presentations, and this book helped us get going on the poem weeks. As I visited used book stores, I found myself gravitating towards poetry books. Sadly, I must admit that I did find one complete bomb. I wish I had kept the title, but it had material way too mature for children, and the poems certainly did not reflect my views on the topics. That one went by the wayside.

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Here are recommendations that I stand by!

child's intro to poetry

A Children’s Introduction to Poetry by Michael Driscoll

This treasure provides detailed information about different types of poetry and even has a listening CD for your enjoyment! Being a staple in our poetry library, it teaches about the history of poetry, and provides classic poems to explore and discover!

poetry book 1

Easily, Poems of Childhood by Eugene Field was originally published in 1904. Full of lighthearted poems, you can’t go wrong with Wynken, Blynken, and Nod. However, there are several poems that are about death and other serious subjects, so read the poems first before reading them to your children.

powetry childrens verse

An absolute classic is The Oxford Book of Children’s Verse in America by Donald Hall. With two different New England Primer alphabet poems and others such as John Rogers’ Exhortation to His Children, you can’t go wrong using this book for poetry day and character day (Thursday)! You will recognize O Captain! My Captain! by Whitman and many other famous poems and famous authors.

wishing bone cover

The Wishing Bone, and Other Poems by Stephen Mitchell has creative poetry matched with beautiful pictures! Here is an inside glimpse! My 10 year-old’s favorite is The Last of the Purple Tigers.

poetry wishing bone insides

This is one for the kids to gather around and look and hear all at once! With such beautiful pictures, it is also one they will love to pick up and read even when you aren’t around.

poetry miller

As the title implies, Apples, Snakes, and Bellyaches by Calvin Miller is full of poetry related to the Bible. However, before you dive in – know that it contains humorous poems that are not exactly the story. My brother gave us this one many years ago, and the kids devoured it! I’m pretty certain it was bedtime reading for months.

poetry shel silverstein

What do I need to say about Shel Silverstein? Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, Falling Up, The Giving Tree (I like this one), Everything On It, and so many more! Again, it’s the 10 year-od that will beg for a Shel Silverstein book at SAMS Club, and then sit and inhale it from cover the cover in one sitting.

poetry favorite

Last, but certainly not least is a new favorite, Working It Out by George Herbert! On Saturday, at the Great Homeschool Convention, a friend purchased this book. Once I opened it, I knew I had to have it! Magnificently, it uses poetry as a devotional and gives questions to ask about the poem – exactly what I had been looking for! I purchased the book, showed it to another friend, cleaned up our booth and headed home to rest. Little did I know, that would be the last time I saw her. As I finally got around to opening the book to read with my children, I cried and cried through the first poem. About a person’s relationship with God from the initial meeting through to the face-to-face meeting, it spoke so strongly to me as a reminder that she had seen Him face-to-face. While we see in a mirror dimly, she sees face-to-face!

Poetry is a gift. A gift from the author to the audience. A gift that reaches into our soul and brings all different emotions to the surface. With endless variety at hand, poetry should never grow old.

I hope you enjoy some of these books. They definitely add so much to our Poetry Thursday!


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