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English Poetry Books for Children (0 to 12 years)

Poetry and music are crucial to a child's development, which is the reason that every language and every culture in the world has songs and rhymes meant just for babies and children. Poetry and music are universal and central to childhood learning and cognitive development.

Poetry builds phonemic awareness in a child and helps them to learn to read. Poetry also helps to develop literary skills like vocabulary, fluency, expression, and writing. Here are a few books of poetry and rhymes that you will find helpful to introduce your child to the joys of poetry. When kids learn to perform poetry recitation/singing with or without movements, it opens up the door to performance arts skills as well.

With YouTube, is there a need for poetry books?

Thousands of nursery rhymes videos are available on YouTube. Even if your child loves those, it is advisable to expose your child to the book form of the verses and illustrations of the verses, so that the child develops a taste for reading and imagines the characters and events in their minds with their unique creativity, instead of just watching the animations. An animated video leaves nothing to imagination. And if one wishes to explore the beautiful world of literature and poetry, one has to resort to books.


Here are the books I have used for my child and which I liked very much.

Infants, Toddlers and Preschoolers

1. Big Book of Nursery Rhymes Board book (0 - 3)

This book has 19 nursery rhymes, so the number of rhymes are less for the price. But the book is a board book, with high quality glossy papers, and is very infant friendly. Spills can be just wiped off, and the child cannot tear off any pages. The illustrations by Sophia Touliatou are really colourful and delightful.

Click here to buy.

2. Ladybird Favourite Nursery Rhymes (3 to 7)

(Hardcover with normal pages inside)

This is a fantastic collection for preschool kids. when their speech, vocabulary and exploratory skills are expanding. The rhymes are categorized into Animal Rhymes, Story Rhymes, Action Rhymes, Food Rhymes, Counting Rhymes and Bedtime Rhymes. There are more than 100 rhymes and sweet illustrations with each of them.

Click here to buy. You can see the Kindle Version here.

3. Poems to Perform: A Classic Collection Chosen by the Children's Laureate by Julia Donaldson (For 4+ Kids)

A sparkling collection of poems that are suitable for reciting or performing aloud. The favourite children's author, Julia Donaldson, offers an assortment of poetic gems with notes at the end of the book with suggestions on how to perform them. The book includes poems by Julia Donaldson herself, as well as by Michael Rosen (one of my favourites), and many others, including some rhymes.


5 Years and above

1. The Booktime Book of Fantastic First Poems

We love this books as the first book to enter the wonderful world of poetry. It is not a book of rhymes, so many people who imagine poetry for children to be only rhymes and rhyming verses typically taught in Indian preschools are disappointed with the book. But this is a foray into different kinds of poetry, suitable for children. From short 2 lined verses to poems with many stanzas, this book introduces a child to the joys of verse. The book has over 40 poems, and is divided into 2 sections: Animal poems, and Fun and nonsense poems.

Click here to buy it.

2. 100 Great poems for children (Age 7+)

This book is a endearing collection of great poems chosen especially for children. The book features poets from both India and abroad, including the works of T.S. Eliot, Rabindranath Tagore, Robert Browning, Gulzar, Ruskin Bond, Anushka Ravishankar, and many others. From Lewis Carroll's ‘Jabberwocky’ to Ruskin Bond's 'Hip Hop Nature Boy’ who escapes a muggermuch among many other perils, this is a delightful collection that will definitely be enjoyed by kids, for reading aloud, performing and cherishing quietly with mirth.

3. A world full of poems (Age 7+)

An amazing collection of poems for children, with beautiful, bright illustrations, with thematic sections like friendship, science, sports, space, family, and feelings. This is a keepsake book that has something for every age from small kids to teenagers. Interesting facts are mentioned with the topics, and the poem collection is very relevant and informative. There are also prompts and activities for children to create their own poetry with poetic devices explained in a light way.

Click here to buy.


Poems are not just meant to be memorized and recited by kids for school admission interviews. Poetry is a form of literature that is joyful, thought provoking and entertaining. I also love Michael Rosen's videos of performing or speaking poetry aloud for showing to kids, to convey the fun of poetry. I end this post with three of my child's favourite videos of Rosen. I hope you will find this post useful. Don't forget to share your own poetry book recommendations, poetry suggestions and your child's poetry reading videos to our Facebook Group!


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