Go Play Inside: Nature Poetry in 5 Compelling Picture Books
Poetry can open a window, allowing for a fresh look at a familiar view. These books of poetry for kids all focus on nature, word play and pictures, in ways that help readers rediscover the world outside. I found all five books to be delightful, providing both a quick read and a deep experience. The lyrics and images combine to recreate forest, ocean or sky. Exploring them expanded my sense of the exterior world while strengthening the quiet of my interior self.
- Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater – This book is simple and captivating. These poems quietly travel the woods, observing creatures and seasons, and inviting readers to listen, look and walk with care. In these words and watercolors, a forest can be found.
- Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman – At night, the forest can be forbidding to enter, but it becomes accessible in this evocative and informative book. Here, excellent poetry is paired with factual information to illuminate forest life in the dark, and the illustrations, made by relief printing, further help to reveal many of the creatures awake in these hours.
- In the Sea by David Elliott – This volume has a similar mission of making known the lives of animals, although it tours and conjures a different environment, using a less pensive and more lighthearted style. These short energetic poems speak for many of the ocean’s creatures, and the woodcuts help to amplify the celebration of life below the waves.
- Water Sings Blue: Ocean Poems by Kate Coombs – In my favorite of these books, attention turns to the entire ocean environment, both above and below the waves. Through poems and watercolors both playful and powerful, I was taken to the ocean to again experience its beauty.
- Sky Magic: Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins – Here, intelligent and engaging poems by various authors articulate wonder about the sky, asking readers to pause and reconsider the world above.