14 Canadian poetry books for kids to read during National Poetry Month


April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate by reading great Canadian poetry for children and young adults.

A children’s poetry book by Zetta Elliott. (Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Bianca Cordova)

Say his name is a poetic call to action for older children. Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign founded in the US, Zetta Elliott wrote 49 poems that spotlight historic names such as Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde and Nikki Giovanni to celebrate the creativity, resilience and courage of women and girls black.

Say his name is for ages 12 and up.

Elliott is a feminist writer and children’s author from Ajax, Ontario. His work includes the mid-level fantasy book series dragons in a bagpoetry collections A place inside of me and Say his name, inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum. She has lived in the United States for 20 years.

Loveis Wise is a Philadelphia-based artist and illustrator.

18:26Zetta Elliott in The Teenage Witch

Zetta Elliott talks to Shelagh Rogers about the latest episode of her Dragons in a Bag series, The Witch’s Apprentice. 18:26

A picture book by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann. (Groundwood Books, Charles Ludeke, Mark Hoffman)

Explosion at the poetry factory is a humorous book for young readers about a piano teacher named Kilmer Watts who becomes unemployed when automatic pianos come to town. One day, upon seeing a “Help Wanted” sign at the Poem Factory, he quickly discovers how poems are made and put together. Explosion at the poetry factory uses creative rhyme and puns while deconstructing everything that goes into a poem.

Explosion at the poetry factory is for ages 6-9.

Kyle Lukoff is a children’s book author, school librarian and former bookseller based in Brooklyn, New York.

Mark Hoffman is an American children’s book author/illustrator, editorial illustrator, and visual artist.

A Very Silly Alphabet is a picture book by Jeannie Hillman (left), illustrated by Sarah Shortliffe. (Nimbus, Jack Hillman)

A very silly alphabet is a poetic picture book consisting of 26 poems read aloud, each representing a letter of the alphabet. With brilliant, silly characters and lyrics, A very silly alphabet highlights the fact that reading and learning can be fun.

A very silly alphabet is for ages 4 to 8.

Jeannie Hillman is a Nova Scotia-based children’s book author.

Sarah Shortliffe is an artist born and raised in the Maritimes.

I Sang You Down from the Stars is a picture book by Tasha Spillett-Sumner (pictured) and illustrated by Michaela Goade. (Leonard Sumner, Submitted by Tasha Spillett-Sumner, Owlkids)

I sang to you from the stars is a story of birth and creation for young readers. Using poetic language and watercolors, the picture book uses Indigenous creation stories and traditional teachings to celebrate nature and the bond between mother and child.

I sang to you from the stars is for ages 2 to 5.

Tasha Spillett-Sumner is an educator, poet and scholar of Nehiyaw and Trinidadian descent. She is also the author of a graphic novel Survive the city, who won the $2,000 Indigenous Voices Award for Alternate Format Works in 2019.

Michaela Goade is an American illustrator from the Tlingit and Haida tribes. Goade won the 2021 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations in the book We are water protectors by Carole Lindstrom.

That’s How I Know is a picture book by Brittany Luby (left) and Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley. (Groundwood Books)

That’s how I know is a vibrant narrative poem about an Anishinaabe child, her grandmother, and a look at the wonder and beauty of the natural world. That’s how I know was a finalist for the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Literature — Illustrated Books.

That’s how I know is for ages 3 to 7.

Brittany Luby is an academic and children’s book author. She is the great-granddaughter of Chief Kawitaskung, an Anishinaabe chief who signed the Northwest Angle Treaty of 1873.

Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley is a multidisciplinary Ojibway artist from Ontario, whose family is from the Wasauksing First Nation.

Alvin Ted Corbiere and Alan Corbiere are Anishinaabe from the M’Chigeeng First Nation. The father and son duo translated the Anishinaabemowin text for the book.

A 2019 Canadian Picture Book by Susan Musgrave and Marilyn Faucher. (Orca Book Publishers)

my love Is For You is a poetic look at love and the four seasons of nature. With detailed illustrations of all the joys the natural world brings, my love Is For You is designed to be a literary and visual treat for small children.

my love Is For You is for 0-2 year olds.

Based in British Columbia, Susan Musgrave has written poetry, fiction, non-fiction, personal essays and children’s writing. His many books include I love you more, More blueberries and Kiss, tickle, cuddle, cuddle.

Marilyn Faucher is an illustrator based in Montreal.

Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue is a picture book by Roy Henry Vickers and Robert Budd. (ZG Communications, Harbor Publishing)

Silver Sockeye, Blue Saltchuck introduces young readers to the iconic sounds of the West Coast, like the roar of sea lions, the rustle of cedar branches in the wind, the sacred drumming of a potlatch and the crashing of Pacific Ocean waves. It is the fourth hardcover book in The First West Coast Book series, which includes Hello humpback!, a soaring eagle and Sockeye Silver Salchuck Blue.

Silver Sockeye, Blue Saltchuck is for 0-3 year olds.

Roy Henry Vickers is a renowned sculptor, painter and printmaker from British Columbia. He is the co-author of the popular children’s series Northwest Coast Legends, which includes Raven brings the light, cloud walker, orc leader and Peace Dancer.

Robert “Lucky” Budd is the co-author of the Northwest Coast Legends series and the author of Voice of British Columbia and its sequel, Stories from British Columbia.

In the Sky at Nighttime is a picture book by Laura Deal (above) and illustrated by Tamara Campeau. (Living in the media)

In the sky at night is an illustrated poem set against the Arctic night sky. This lyric poem sends readers sailing through the Arctic night sky to see and hear the unique beauty of a northern night. In the sky at night, the Northern Lights dance, a mother’s song sways on the breeze, and a crow perches atop a tall building, bathed in moonlight.

In the sky at night is for 0-3 year olds.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Laura Deal has lived in Nunavut since 2005. This is her second book.

A Canadian picture book by Stella Partheniou Grasso and Chris Jones. (Scholastic Canada)

The vibrant nature of ice hockey is on full display by Ontario writer Stella Partheniou Grasso. Created for hockey fans of all ages, This is the rink where Jack plays is a poetic ode to Canada’s national sport and the classic nursery rhyme This is the house Jack built with colorful images by illustrator Chris Jones.

This is the rink where Jack plays is for ages 3-8.

Stella Partheniou Grasso is an Ontario author. His previous children’s books include take me to the rink, There was an old lady who swallowed a puck and Five busy beavers.

Chris Jones is a Toronto-based artist, graphic designer and illustrator.

Tree Song is a children’s book by British Columbia writer Tiffany Stone. (Annick press)

tree song uses poetic language and phrasing to explore the life cycle of a tree, from a tiny seed to a sapling and full growth. The book examines the tree in different seasons, birds in the spring, picnics in the summer, and leaves in the fall. tree song is a loud celebration of the venerable tree for little children while serving as the perfect introduction to nature’s life cycles.

tree song is for ages 4-7.

Tiffany Stone is a Quebec-born, British Columbia-based children’s poet, author and picture book editor.

Holly Hatam is an illustrator and author. She is known for her whimsical and quirky mixed-media art style. She is the illustrator-author of Mermaids are real! and has illustrated various children’s books, including the New York Times bestseller dear girl by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal.

Peter H. Reynolds is an Ontario-born writer and illustrator. (Orchard Books/Scholastic Canada)

Be you ! is a celebration of the notion that every child is special and unique in their own enduring way. With words designed to inspire, empower and educate — Be you ! is in the vein of Oh, the places you will go!reminding young children that they have the power to be who they want to be.

Be you ! is for ages 4 to 8.

Peter H. Reynolds is an Ontario-raised, Mass.-based children’s book writer and illustrator. His bestselling books include Point, I am human, happy dreamer, The word collector and To say something!

Pauline Young with the two books she was asked to illustrate, I Lost My Talk and I’m Finding My Talk. (Gail Harding/CBC)

This children’s book shares Rita Joe’s iconic poem I lost my speech with a new generation. I lost my speech tells how Joe, a Mi’kmaw elder and poet, lost her language and culture after being sent to residential school.

I find my conversation is Rebecca Thomas’ response to Rita Joe’s poem I lost my speech. Thomas is a second-generation residential school survivor and poet. In I find my conversation, it celebrates reconnecting with one’s language and culture.

Both books are intended for readers aged 4 to 8.

Both books are illustrated by Pauline Young, a Mi’kmaw illustrator who lives in New Brunswick.

A children’s poetry book by Shannon Bramer, illustrated by Cindy Derby. (Groundwood Books, Linda Marie Stella)

Inspired by kindergarten children, Climbing shadows presents poems for children to spread the love, joy and wonder of poetry. Poet and playwright Shannon Bramer was inspired to develop this anthology which takes a sensitive look at all the emotions experienced by young children: happiness, grief, worry, fear and humor.

Climbing shadows is from 6 years old.

Shannon Bramer is a Toronto-based writer of poetry, plays and short stories. She has published a number of poetry collections and book collections and won the Hamilton and Area Best Book Award for her book in 1999. suitcases and other poems.

Cindy Derby is a San Francisco-based writer, illustrator, and puppeteer. Derby has illustrated many picture books, including Climbing Shadows by Shannon Bramer.