Poetry Studio

BOOKS ABOUT REAL AND FICTIONAL POETS

Books about writing poetry allow readers to see how fictional poets get their ideas, the importance of choosing just the right words, and the joy of sharing poetry with others. Biographies introduce young people to well-known poets, even though children may not read their poetry for many years. The poets' personal stories show readers how life experiences and the joy of language may lead to writing poetry. Share some of the titles below as part of your poetry-writing lessons with students.

 

Biographies

Bedard, Michael. Emily.
Illus. by Barbara Cooney.  Doubleday, 1992/Random House, 2005.  Gr. 2-5

Berne, Jennifer. On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson.
Illus. by Becca Stadtlander.  Chronicle, 2020.  Gr. 2-5

Bober, Natalie S. Papa Is a Poet: A Story about Robert Frost.
Illus. by Rebecca Gibbon.  Henry Holt, 2013.  Gr. 2-5

Brown, Monica. Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People.
Illus. by Julie Paschkis.  Henry Holt, 2011.  Gr. 2-4

Brown, Monica. My Name is Gabriela/Me llamo Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral/la vida de Gabriela Mistral.
Illus. by John Parra.  Luna Rising, 2005.  Gr. 1-3

Bryant, Jen. A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams.
Illus. by Melissa Sweet.  Eerdmans, 2008.  Gr. 3-8

Burgess, Matthew. enormous SMALLNESS: A Story of E.E. Cummings.
Illus. by Kris Di Giacomo.  Enchanted Lion, 2015.  Gr. 2-4

Burleigh, Robert. Langston's Train Ride.
Illus. by Leonard Jenkins.  Orchard, 2004.  Gr. 2-6

Burleigh, Robert. O Captain, My Captain: Walt Whitman, Abraham Lincoln, and the Civil War.
Illus. by Sterling Hundley.  Abrams, 2019.  Gr. Gr. 5-8

Cooper, Floyd. Coming Home: from the Life of Langston Hughes.
Philomel, 1994.  Gr. 2-5

Derby, Sally. Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar.
Illus. by Sean Qualls.  Candlewick, 2015.  Gr. 5-8

Duncan, Alice Faye. A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks.
Illus. by Xia Gordon.  Sterling, 2019.  Gr. 1-3

Harrison, David L. Connecting Dots: Poems of My Journey.
Illus. by Kelley Cunningham Cousineau.  Wordsong/Boyds Mills, 2004.  Gr. 4-8

Hegedus, Bethany. Rise!: From Caged Bird to Poet of the People, Maya Angelou.
Illus. by Tonya Engel.  Lee & Low, 2019.  Gr. 3-6

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. Been to Yesterdays: Poems of a Life.
Boyds Mills, 1995.  Gr. 5-9 (autobiographical)

Kerley, Barbara. Walt Whitman: Words for America.
Illus. by Brian Selznick.  Scholastic, 2004.  Gr. 4-9

Nelson, Marilyn. How I Discovered Poetry.
Illus. by Hadley Hooper.  Dial, 2014.  Gr. 6-10 (autobiography in verse)

Niven, Penelope. Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet.
Illus. by Marc Nadel.  Harcourt, 2003.  Gr. 3-6

Perdomo, Willie. Visiting Langston.
Illus. by Bryan Collier.  Henry Holt, 2002.  Gr. 2-4

Ray, Deborah Kogan. To Go Singing through the World: The Childhood of Pablo Neruda.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2006.  Gr. 3-6

Reef, Catherine. E.E. Cummings: A Poet's Life.
Clarion, 2006  Gr. Gr. 7 & above

Rogers, Lisa. 16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "The Red Wheelbarrow."
Illus. by Chuck Groenink.  Schwartz & Wade, 2019.  Gr. 3-6

Slade, Suzanne. Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks.
Illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera.  Abrams, 2020.  Gr. 2-4

Tate, Don. Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton.
Peachtree, 2015.  Gr. 2-5

Winter, Jeanette. Emily Dickinson's Letters to the World.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2002.  Gr. 2-5

Woodson, Jacqueline. Brown Girl Dreaming.
Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, 2014.  Gr. 5-8 (memoir in verse)

Yolen, Jane. The Emily Sonnets: The Life of Emily Dickinson.
Illus. by Gary Kelley.  Creative Editions, 2012.  Gr. 5-10

Yolen, Jane. Emily Writes: Emily Dickinson and Her Poetic Beginnings.
Illus. by Christine Davenier.  Henry Holt, 2020.  Gr. K-3

Yolen, Jane. My Uncle Emily.
Illus. by Nancy Carpenter.  Philomel, 2009.  Gr. 2-4

 

Poetry with Fictional Poets

Archer, Micha. Daniel Finds a Poem.
Nancy Paulsen/Penguin, 2016.  Gr. K-3

Bryant, Jen. Call Me Marianne.
Illus. by David A. Johnson.  Eerdmans, 2006.  Gr. 1-4

Cofer, Judith Ortiz. The Poet Upstairs.
Illus. by Oscar Ortiz.  Piñata Books, 2012.  Gr. 2-4

Dotlich, Rebecca Kai. Bella & Bean.
Illus. by Aileen Leijten.  Atheneum, 2009.  Gr. K-3

Kousky, Vern. Otto the Owl Who Loved Poetry.
Nancy Paulsen, 2015.  Gr. K-3

MacLachlan, Patricia. Word After Word After Word.
Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins, 2010.  Gr. 2-5

McNamara. Margaret. A Poem in Your Pocket.
Illus. by G. Brian Karas.  Schwartz & Wade, 2015.  Gr. 1-4

Montenegro, Laura Nyman. A Bird about to Sing.
Houghton Mifflin, 2003.  Gr. 1-3

Mutén, Burleigh. Miss Emily.
Illus. by Matt Phelan.  Candlewick, 2014.  Gr. 4-7

Regan, Dian Curtis. Barnyard Slam.
Illus. by Paul Meisel.  Holiday House, 2009.  Gr. K-3

Reynolds, Shauna LaVoy. Poetree.
Illus. by Shahrzad Maydani.  Dial, 2019.  Gr. K-3

Spires, Elizabeth. The Mouse of Amherst.
Illus. by Claire Nivola.  Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1999.  Gr. 2-4

Stohler, Lauren. The Best Worst Poet Ever.
Atheneum, 2020.  Gr. K-3

Swados, Elizabeth. Hey You! C'mere. A Poetry Slam.
Illus. by Joe Cepeda.  Scholastic, 2002.  Gr. 2-5

Page last updated 02/26/20

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