O Romeo, Romeo, Wherefore art thou Romeo? 

Well… perhaps Romeo, Romeo isn’t thy cup of tea-omeo! Maybe you’re more of an Amanda Gorman kind of poetry enthusiast. With her rhythmic and inspiring delivery of “The Hill We Climb” at the 2021 Presidential Inauguration, you light up hearing well-crafted words filled with hope and awe.  

As poet James Gates Percival put it, “The world is full of poetry. The air is living with its spirit; and the waves dance to the music of its melodies, and sparkle in its brightness.” 

From the unrhymed 5-7-5 syllable pattern of the haiku to the whimsical and rhythmic nonsensical poems that charm both young and old, to free verse poetry absent of limitations in meter or rhyme, poets take language and play with it. They create pictures and convey emotions. They make you laugh and sometimes cry. They take you places you’ve never been.

In this incredible collection of poetry resources, readers will visit tranquil Japanese gardens, go on African safaris, survive a devastating hurricane, move to a new neighborhood, experience tragedy on an otherwise peaceful summer night, question their place in the world, and encounter the ‘land of milk and honey’. They will ‘see’ invisible lions, smell not-so-savory scents and sometimes just pause to watch the rain or wait in line for ice cream.   

Readers will connect to the poets’ dreams and fears, anxieties and doubts, humor and pride. “Can I shoot for the stars? Will I make new friends? What do I do with my anger? How do I heal?”  

Or… maybe they’ll just laugh!

Whether through its coverage of free verse, quatrains, haikus, acrostics, lyrical, concrete, limericks or bio-poems, this collection is sure to reach all students!

Cool Melons - Turn To Frogs!: The Life And Poems Of Issa by Matthew Gollub

Poem Type: haiku, biopic

This collection of poems tells the story of Issa’s life, a famous Japanese poet of the 18th century. 33 haikus are accompanied by whimsical watercolors in this biopic poetry book that follows the story of Issa’s transformation from a disheartened child to a talented poet.

H is for Haiku: A Treasury of Haiku from A to Z by Sydell Rosenburg

Poem type: Haiku

This ABC haiku collection will help readers slow down to enjoy the moments that we tend to breeze by on a day-to-day basis, like waiting in line for ice cream or watching raindrops drop. Alongside vibrant illustrations, students will enjoy this tenderly real telling of life’s “small” moments while also gaining knowledge about haikus! 

In the Land of Milk and Honey by Joyce Carol Thomas

Poem type: Free verse

This free verse poem tells the true story of author Joyce Carol Thomas and her experience as a child moving from Oklahoma to California in 1948. The anticipation of new places and people will draw  readers in as they learn about the process of moving to a new place, as well as free verse poetry!

A Poke in the I: A Collection of Concrete Poems by Paul B. Janeczko

Poem type: Concrete

This mentor text contains 30 poems that are perfect for teaching students about concrete poetry in an exciting way! The poems engage readers with fantastical formats and fonts to stimulate students who are new to the dynamic world of concrete poetry.

One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis

Poem type: Haiku

This counting book illustrates the tranquility of the Japanese garden through rich illustrations and easy-to-understand haikus. The eleven poems tell the story of a young girl exploring the magnificence of the garden, making this mentor text a lush and educational book on the beautiful simplicity of nature and haikus.

African Acrostics: A Word in Edgeways by Avis Harley

Poem type: Acrostic

African Acrostics combines acrostic poetry with stunning photographs to create a safari-like reading experience. There are examples of double acrostics, cross acrostics, and multiple acrostics throughout this mentor text. In the back of the book there is additional information about the creation of acrostics and nature notes for the various animals pictured throughout the text!

Something Sure Smells Around Here: Limericks (Poetry Adventures) by Brian P. Cleary

Poem Type: Limerick

Author, Brian P. Cleary, provides an explanation of how limericks work before diving into his collection of 26 hilarious poems in this mentor text. Students will have the chance to learn about limericks and how to write their own while enjoying a chuckle along the way.

I Saw an Invisible Lion Today: Quatrains (Poetry Adventures) by Brian P. Cleary

Poem type: quatrains

This poetry adventure book dives into the world of quatrains by first explaining what they are and then how they are written. The rhyme schemes are listed underneath the title of each of the poems, helping readers to orient themselves within the world of rhyme! This mentor text is packed with information and clever poems to provide those who are new to poetry with a fun and productive learning experience.

A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey

Poem type: free verse

This mentor text is a lush example of free verse poetry about a young girl with big dreams of becoming a ballerina. Readers will follow along with this little ballerina’s search for hope as she looks to Janet Collins, the first African American prima ballerina. 

A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Renee Watson

Poem type: free verse

Children of New Orleans tell their experiences of Hurricane Katrina in this fictional account of the storm through poignant free verse poetry. In addition to serving as an example of free verse, this mentor text also helps to spark conversations that contextualize natural disasters and their tragic consequences for young students. 

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

Poem type: lyrical 

This mentor text is a beautiful example of lyrical poetry with an excellent message about coming to terms with one’s uniqueness. With lyrical verse, The Day You Begin reminds readers that everyone feels like an outsider at some point. Being the new student or feeling ‘different’ from everyone else is a hard thing for young students to process, but this book helps encourage readers to find connection and community in the fact that we’re all unique! 

A Place Inside of Me: A Poem to Heal the Heart by Zetta Elliot

Poem type: bio-poem

In this powerful poem, a Black child explores his changing emotions throughout the literal and metaphoric seasons of the year. The child’s summer of joy is interrupted by a police shooting that deeply wounds his community. Fear develops into anger, then pride and peace, as the narrative transitions from fall to winter to spring. This mentor text tells the story of the young boy, delving into the complexity of a child’s experiences with grief and healing.

I hope you found some amazing poetry books to use as mentor text for teaching the different types of poetry! If you would like to see a larger list of suggested poetry books, go to my Amazon List.

For other Poetry Blogs click: https://rockinresources.com/category/poetry


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