Poems for Everyone

Celebrate poetry with these wonderful collections of poems from different cultures. Many of the featured books are bilingual in English and Spanish, offering poems for a wide-ranging audience.

Also, be sure to take a look at the Meet the Author pages of two of our favorite bilingual poets, Pat Mora and Francisco X. Alarcón, for video interviews and more recommended poetry collections!

A Movie in My Pillow: Poems

Illustrated by: Elizabeth Gomez
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: Young Jorgito lives in San Francisco's Mission District, but he hasn't forgotten his native El Salvador. He recalls the volcanoes, the tasty cornmeal pupusas, and his grandmother's stories. As he changes from timid newcomer to seasoned city dweller, Jorgito's memories and new adventures form a patchwork of dreams — the movie in his pillow — that is perfectly suited to his new bicultural identity.

Animal Poems of the Iguazú

Inspired by a visit to the Iguazú National Park in South America, Francisco X. Alarcón celebrates its animals, skies, waterfalls, and more in these short and vibrant bilingual poems. Each page holds pulsating paintings that swirl and move, further vivifying each poem.

Confetti: Poems for Children

Spanish words are incorporated naturally into this bright collection of poems that depict a day's activities in the Southwest. Vivid illustrations complement the verse to evoke the author's Mexican American background.

Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet in Spanish and English

Using the alphabet as a pattern, paintings and brief poems explore rural life in Mexico presented first in Spanish and followed by English. From A to Z, brilliant illustrations and fluid poems evoke the plants, and more and the emotional impact on the lives of farm workers.

Good Luck Gold and Other Poems

Age Level: 6-9

Easy-to-understand poems explore what it's like to grow up Asian in America. Readers will see themselves in the everyday activities of the poet who dispels typical notions of how Asians behave and how they excel. Perhaps, too, readers will realize the hurt that words can cause in several sophisticated and quite personal poems.

Grandmother's Garden

Illustrated by: Raúl Colón
Age Level: 6-9

Product Description: In this beautiful story-poem, master storyteller John Archambault celebrates the magnificence and commonality of life in all its rich diversity. Using the image of the Earth as a garden turning around the sun, the book affirms that with a bit of sunshine, rain and lots of love, there is room for everyone to bloom. Full color.

Harlem

Illustrated by: Christopher Myers
Age Level: 6-9

Experienced readers will enjoy this stunning and sophisticated visit to Harlem in word and image. Landmarks like the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater are included and invite discussion.

Knock on Wood: Poems about Superstitions

Illustrated by: Julie Paschkis
Age Level: 6-9

Original poems combine with stunning illustrations reminiscent of folk art, to explore superstitions and superstitious beliefs from black cats to knocking on wood — and lots more. An author's note with a bit of information about superstitions concludes this engaging book.

Love to Mamá: A Tribute to Mothers

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Paula Barragan
Age Level: 6-9

Thirteen poems rejoice in Latina women, their diversity, and their roles. This short, illustrated collection celebrates Spanish-speaking countries as well as bilingualism in the United States. Illustrations swirl across each page, combining computer generated and traditional art with energetic results.

My Chinatown

By: Kam Mak
Age Level: 6-9

It's a New Year in Chinatown, but one little boy from Hong Kong wonders, "How can it ever be a good year thousands of miles from home?" As he moves through the seasons, however, New York finally begins to feel like home. Told in verse, these poems capture the challenges of adapting to a new life from a child's point of view. Vivid paintings with a photograph-like quality bring the poems to life.

My Name Is Jorge on Both Sides of the River

This collection of bilingual poems gives voice to a young boy who has recently come to the U.S. from Mexico. He wonders, for example, why he has suddenly lost all of his intelligence here if in his country he was smart. From getting a library card to making friends, Jorge must find ways to overcome the challenges of his new life. An excellent portrayal of the roller coaster that newcomers experience upon arrival in the U.S.

My People

Illustrated by: Charles Smith
Age Level: 6-9

Handsome, artistic sepia portraits of young and older African Americans combine with Hughes' short poem. Together image and word presents a memorable celebration of beauty and diversity of a people. Smith includes a note describing how he approached the classic poem.

One Leaf Rides the Wind

Illustrated by: Susan Kathleen Hartung
Age Level: 6-9

This richly illustrated collection of haiku poems is a counting book as well as an introduction to Japanese gardens and to a poetic form. From one leaf chased by a little girl to 10 stone lanterns, this garden can be enjoyed on several levels.

Poems to Dream Together

Illustrated by: Paula Barragan

Dreams are for the day and the night. Children dream for themselves as well as their community and their world. Short poems, richly imagined and vibrantly illustrated appear in English and Spanish and are firmly rooted in a child's experience.

Rhymes Round the World

Illustrated by: Kay Chorao
Age Level: 3-6

Children everywhere enjoy similar things, celebrated here in rhymes from around the world. Some are traditional while others are by credited authors; each is accompanied by soft illustrations until it's time to say good night (in many languages).

Sol a Sol: Bilingual Poems/Sol a sol: Poemas bilingües

Everyday activities, from sun-up to sun-down — sol a sol — are presented in a series of short poems presented in Spanish and English. Richly hued paintings sweep across the pages adding movement and verve to the simple fluid language.

Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown

Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 9-12

This collection of multicultural poetry celebrates the color brown and all of the delicious and familiar places it can be found, from the reddish-brown mountains of the Southwest to the tamarind paste used in Mumbai to the acorns found on a city street. Author Malathi Michelle Iyengar uses the poems to express an appreciation for the many ethnic backgrounds who describe their skin color as "brown" around the world. Jamel Akib's warm drawings are a perfect complement to the poetry.

The Tree is Older Than You Are: A Bilingual Gathering of Poems and Stories from Mexico with Paintings by Mexican Artists

Art combines with poetry and short prose pieces all by creators from Mexico for a culturally specific but emotionally universal literary experience. Stories are everywhere; you simply need to find them. Perhaps as one poet suggests in "The Lemon Tree": "the tree/is older than you are/and you might find stories/in its branches." Edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.

You Have to Write

Illustrated by: Teresa Flavin
Age Level: 6-9

It's what every child who hates to write dreads most: the assignment that says they MUST do so. But it's not so bad when young people use their own experiences. A light, affirming text in free verse and interspersed with full-color illustrations may motivate even a reticent writer.

¡Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!

By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Rafael López

Celebrate the native foods of the Americas — peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more — through haiku poetry and stunning artwork from award-winning illustrator Rafael López.