Free-Verse Poetry for Children
By: Stephanie Rivera, Youth Department Director
Poetry has always been my favorite type of writing, both as a child and as an adult. This type of writing forces the author to be intentional in their choice of words, which can create a powerful statement. Poets use words to show rather than tell. For example, instead of writing “I was so mad!” an author may write, “The anger of a thousand volcanoes enveloped me.”
Many forms of poetry also mimic music, with alliterative and rich language that can sound lyrical when read aloud. Most importantly, poetry can provide several academic benefits; as kids learn to rhyme, they will seek out new words and new uses for existing words. This allows them to greatly expand their linguistic building blocks.
Beyond traditional poetry, there are many other written forms of poetry to explore. Recently, a popular form of poetry in children’s literature has been free-verse poetry. This format follows few rules and allows the author plenty of creative freedom when writing. Poems written in free verse don’t have to rhyme, and they can vary in sentence structure and number of stanzas. Novels written in verse differ from traditional chapter books in that they include a certain cadence and thoughtfully choose which syllables and words to stress.
Here are some of my favorite books of free-verse poetry to read and enjoy, listed according to recommended grade levels. Next time you’re in the library, let me know which one is your favorite!
Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
House Arrest by K.A. Holt