Poetry Anthologies & Verse Novels for Readers Aged 2-12
Encouraging young people to read widely and enjoy a balanced literary diet is something that can add immeasurably to their reading and writing journey. For many of us, poetry and verse novels are often not the first thing that comes to mind when we are pondering reading choices for our children. I admit that, for many years, poetry felt ‘beyond me’; that I was somehow not intelligent enough to comprehend and enjoy poetry. This is all changed for me with verse novels and I am now a voracious reader of both verse novels and poetry anthologies. Verse novels feel somehow so much more accessible and an ‘easy entry’ into the world of poetry – they are essentially free verse poems which, when sequentially set, form a narrative structure. They are exquisite. The verse novelist removes all extraneous words, leaving only the most perfect of words to express the pure heart and soul of the story. Read more about verse novels them here and here.
As parents, we all sing nursery rhymes to our children and funny little chants and rhymes have been enjoyed for generations; these are all forms of poetry. As our children grow and the poetry becomes more complex, we seem to freak out and abandon all poetry (except in songs we enjoy) until the senior years of high school when it is studied in detail and we sob into the textbooks alongside our children. The more sensible thing to do (look at me offering sensible advice!) is to add some of the books below to our bookshelves, read them with our children and to our children and deeply appreciate the skill – or simply just enjoy them!
I love what Natalie Jane Prior says in my book ‘Raising Readers’ about poetry: “Nothing enriches a child’s understanding of how language works more than poetry. Reading it teaches children to think outside the square, to see things from unexpected angles. In our modern world, this skill is becoming essential. Don’t think of poetry as an optional extra: think of it as an weapon in your children’s arsenal for life.” Natalie Jane Prior in ‘Raising Readers’, Chapter 8.