Poems and Rhymes: Books for Young Children
These collections offer a wide range of poems and rhymes to share with young children at home, at day care, or in preschool. Many of the collections highlight songs and nursery rhymes from Latin America and are availabe in Spanish.
For additional ideas and titles, see the following:
- Playing with Words: Riddles
- Poems at Home
- More poetry titles from Reading Rockets' themed booklists
- Poetry: Activities and Books (Reading Rockets)
Poetry Essentials: Selected Books for Children and Teens (Children's Cooperative Book Council)
Parent Reading Tip Sheets for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers in 13 Languages (Colorín Colorado)
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers
From funny to sweet, silly to sincere, the lyrics of Mister Rogers explore such universal topics as feelings, new siblings, everyday life, imagination, and more. Through these songs — as well as endearing puppets and honest conversations — Mister Rogers instilled in his young viewers the values of kindness, self-awareness, and self-esteem. But most of all, he taught children that they are loved, just as they are. Perfect for bedtime, sing-along, or quiet time alone, this beautiful book of meaningful poetry is for every child — including the child inside of every one of us.
A Stick Is an Excellent Thing: Poems Celebrating Outdoor Play
Bright illustrations accompany lively poems that celebrate children's imaginations and playing outdoors on warm days. Some games, like 'jacks', may need a bit of explanation but walking on the edges (of sidewalks, curbs, etc.) and hopscotch are perennial favorites. Everyone may be inspired to go outside and play!
Agua, Agüita/Water, Little Water
"My name / is Water / but everyone / calls me Little Water." In this beautiful, poetic ode to the life-giving force of water, award-winning children's book author Jorge Argueta describes in English, Spanish and Nahuat the life cycle of water from the perspective of one drop. With stunningly beautiful illustrations by Felipe Ugalde Alcántara that depict the mountains, rocks, vegetation and animals of the natural world, this poem about the importance of water reflects Argueta's indigenous roots and his appreciation for nature.
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.
Arrorró, Mi Niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games
A beloved collection of traditional Latino baby games and lullabies from fourteen Spanish-speaking countries, complete with melodies for chanting and singing. Collected by Lulu Delacre, these rhymes and songs are available in English and Spanish.
Arroz con Leche
These traditional rhymes and songs from Latin America are presented in both English and Spanish. Gentle illustrations accompany the short verses, and show both cities and the countryside. Children and adults from Spanish-speaking backgrounds will recognize many of these fun songs and rhymes.
Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics / Poemas sobre Hispanos Extraordinarios (Bilingual board book edition)
Adapted from the Texas Bluebonnet Award–winning Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics, this board book of poems and portraits from writer Margarita Engle and illustrator Rafael López celebrates the lives and accomplishments of a number important figures young readers will enjoy learning about.
Cool Melons--Turn to Frogs!
Born in 1763 on a farm in central Japan, Issa began writing Haiku as a young child. Matthew Gollub has integrated the story of Issa's life and selections of his best-known work.
De Colores and Other Latin-American Folk Songs for Children
Product Description: Bursting with color and spirit, this collection of Latin-American songs is a tribute to Latino culture. From traditional tunes to rhymes and hand games, De Colores has songs for all occasions and moods. Each song is accompanied by simple musical arrangements, with lyrics in both English and Spanish.
Family Poems for Every Day of the Week/Poemas familiares para cada día de la semana
Children spend Sunday visiting their grandparents, play with school friends on Monday, daydream on Tuesday, eat popcorn at the local market on Wednesday, and more, until we arrive at Saturday, when they get to play nonstop all day. Along the way, we also learn how the names of the seven days came to be. Partly based on the real life experiences of Alarcón's own family, this festive, celebratory collection of poems highlights the daily life of children while also honoring the experiences of the poet's Latino family in the United States.
I Am America
Look how different we are and see how much we are the same! Readers will surely see themselves in the pages of this book, which is full of color photographs of children's faces. The rhyming text and images celebrate the tapestry of cultures, religions, and physical appearances of children throughout the United States.
I, Too, Am America
A celebration of Pullman porters is the focus of this new picture-book edition of Langston Hughes' classic poem. The collage spreads, blending oil paintings and cut paper, begin with an image of a speeding train before moving on to large portraits of African American porters serving white passengers aboard a luxury train. When the passengers leave, the porters gather left-behind items — newspapers, blues and jazz albums — and toss them from the train. Carried by the wind, the words and music fall into the hands of African Americans across the country.
Have you ever imagined what you might be when you grow up? When he was very young, Juan Felipe Herrera picked chamomile flowers in windy fields and let tadpoles swim across his hands in a creek. He slept outside and learned to say good-bye to his amiguitos each time his family moved to a new town. He went to school and taught himself to read and write English and filled paper pads with rivers of ink as he walked down the street after school.
It's You I Like: A Mister Rogers Poetry Book
For the first time ever, Mister Rogers’s heartwarming song “It’s You I Like” is in board book form to share with the youngest readers. Featuring a diverse array of families and friendships, the affirming lyrics and illustrations convey Mister Rogers’s singular warmth and belief that every child is special and loved.
La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños
Classic Mother Goose rhymes get a Latino twist in this cozy collection. From young Juan Ramón sitting in el rincón to three little gatitos who lost their mitoncitos, readers will be delighted to see familiar characters in vibrant, luminous scenes brimming with fanciful details.
Mamá Goose: A Latino Nursery Treasury
This book is a collection of Spanish-language lullabies, finger games, nursery rhymes, jump-rope songs, riddles, birthday songs, and more. It compiles songs from different Spanish-speaking countries. The English translations keep the essence of the native language, and grab the reader using captivating terminology.
My First Book of Proverbs
"In this collection of Mexican dichos (proverbs), artists Ralfka Gonzalez and Ana Ruiz bring to life their favorite sayings from Mexico and the United States. These dichos celebrate life and culture, reminding young readers that Donde hay gana, hay mana/Where there's a will, there's a way. With vibrant color and folk art flavor, the festive paintings draw readers into a whimsical world where bumblebees play bongo drums and roosters sing all day." — Children's Book Review
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.
Once Around the Sun
Every month of the year is cause for celebration – from sledding to holidays. Each poem and accompanying illustration (reminiscent of Ezra Jack Keats) for each month of the year reflects a child's joy and interests.
One Leaf Rides the Wind
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.
Pencil Talk and Other School Poems
A simple school day is a lot more fun when you add a little poetry! Follow along for a fresh look at spelling tests, recess, music class and more, in this spirited collection of school day poems. Spanish version available.
Tortillitas para Mamá and Other Nursery Rhymes
Product Description: Young children will treasure this collection of Latin American nursery rhymes. Preserved through oral tradition, these rhymes have been passed on from generation to generation. They have been lovingly gathered and translated for this book and many are accompanied by instructions for finger play.
Twist: Yoga Poems
Simple, evocative poetry suggest the meanings which inspire various yoga stances, movements, and more. The short poems coupled with handsome illustrations encourage imagination as together they show how a movement or pose can suggest something quite different.
Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube
Here is a poetic ode to the beauty of the natural world as expressed by the movement and moods of water on Earth. With every evocative verse, we visit one of fourteen different water landscapes and cultural areas around the world, each stunningly illustrated with a breathtaking view of a place of natural beauty and conveying a sense of the drama, joy, power, serenity, grandeur, or peacefulness of water.
Won't You Be My Neighbor?: A Mister Rogers Poetry Book
For the first time ever, Mister Rogers’s beloved opening theme song is a board book to share with the youngest readers. With bright, upbeat illustrations by Luke Flowers and sweet lyrics fans will know by heart, readers follow Mister Rogers through his neighborhood as he greets the familiar, lovable cast of characters from the show.
¡Pío Peep! Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes
Rhymes from Spanish speaking countries are presented in Spanish and recreated in English to form a bilingual collection, with attention to the sounds and patterns of both languages. Vivid illustrations complete this appealing book.
¡Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!
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.
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!