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 Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers

Painting of Fred Rogers
Illustrated by: Luke Flowers
Age Level: 3-6, 6-9

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 Movie in My Pillow: Poems

Illustrated by: Elizabeth Gomez
Age Level: 6-9
Language: English

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.

Agua, Agüita/Water, Little Water

Animals near waterfall
Illustrated by: Felipe Ugalde Alcántara
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

"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

Animal near the Iguazú
Illustrated by: Maya Christina Gonzalez
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

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.

Brown Is Beautiful: A Poem of Self-Love

Illustration of young girl and flowers
Illustrated by: Noor Sofi
Age Level: 6-9

On a hike with her grandparents, a young Indian-American girl makes note of all the things in nature that are brown, too. From a nurturing mother bear, to the steadiness of deep twisting roots, to the beauty of a wild mustang, brown is everywhere! On her way, the girl collects the beautiful brown things she encounters as mementos for a scrapbook to share with a very special new addition to her family — a baby brother!

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

Young girl harvesting crops
Illustrated by: Simón Silva
Age Level: 3-6
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

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. English translation by Rosa Zubizarreta.

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.


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.

I, Too, Am America

Illustrated by: Bryan Collier
Age Level: 3-6

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.


Illustrated by: Lauren Castillo
Age Level: 6-9

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

Illustration of Mister Rogers and Daniel Tiger
Illustrated by: Luke Flowers
Age Level: 0-3, 3-6

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.

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

Age Level: Middle Grade
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

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

Young African American boy looking up
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

Child sleeping under sky
Illustrated by: Paula Barragan
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

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).

Rise! From Caged Bird to Poetry of the People, Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou holding a book and an open cage. A bird is flying away.
Illustrated by: Tonya Engel
Age Level: Middle Grade

Writer, activist, trolley car conductor, dancer, mother, and humanitarian Maya Angelou's life was marked by transformation and perseverance. In this comprehensive picture-book biography geared towards older readers, Bethany Hegedus lyrically traces Maya's life from her early days in Stamps, Arkansas through her work as a freedom fighter to her triumphant rise as a poet of the people.

Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown

Painting of diverse brown people
Illustrated by: Jamel Akib
Age Level: 6-9

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.

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo

Tap Dancing on the Roof: Sijo
Illustrated by: Istvan Banyai
Age Level: 6-9

Like haiku, sijo — a little known, brief poetic form from Korea — looks at everyday activities from breakfast to the weather. Sophisticated illustrations complement the seemingly simple language to delight readers and listeners.

The One Thing You'd Save

Collection of special objects
Illustrated by: Robert Sae-Heng
Age Level: 9-12, Middle Grade

When a teacher asks her class what one thing they would save in an emergency, some students know the answer right away. Others come to their decisions more slowly. And some change their minds when they hear their classmates' responses. A lively dialog ignites as the students discover unexpected facets of one another — and themselves. With her ear for authentic dialog and knowledge of kids' priorities and emotions, Linda Sue Park brings the varied voices of an inclusive classroom to life through carefully honed, engaging, and instantly accessible verse.

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.

Won't You Be My Neighbor?: A Mister Rogers Poetry Book

Illustration of Mister Rogers
Illustrated by: Luke Flowers
Age Level: 0-3, 3-6

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.

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.

Your Mama

Mother dances with daughter
Illustrated by: Jacqueline Alcántara
Age Level: 6-9

Heartwarming and richly imagined, Your Mama twists an old joke into a point of pride that honors the love, hard work, and dedication of mamas everywhere.

¡Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué Rico!

Painting of foods of the Americas, such as pumpkins and corn
By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: Rafael López
Age Level: 6-9
Language: Spanish (Bilingual Eng/Sp)

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.