Sparking the Hearts & Minds of Our Young
08 May 2016

Sparking the Hearts & Minds of Our Young

How to Cultivate a Love of Poetry in Your child

"The poet's aim is to blend in one the delightful and the useful" - Horace. Parents will want to give their child a positive experience. Short poems that get to the heart quickly, and rhyming poems that maintain interest, are ideal. Find a poem on a topic that is meaningful to both you and your child which will make reading poetry together special. 

L B Hopkins, a noted poet in his own right with 113 titles to his credit, has compiled poetry collections for children based on  topics including animals, holidays, the seasons, and difficult emotions. He says of poetry that

                  "...nothing – no thing – can ring and rage through hearts 

                    and minds as does this genre of literature”.

What Makes a Good Poem?

A good poem will both gratify and teach. It will bring pleasure, as well as instruction, to its reader. Memorizing and reciting poetry can be an ideal activity for you and your child. Many of the poems in the following list are appropriate for children. These are poems that rhyme, are short, and have instructional value. Enjoy!

THE CROCODILE   by Lewis Carroll                                       

How doth the little crocodile                 

improve his shining tail                        

And pour the waters of the Nile            

on every shining scale                         

How cheerfully he seems to grin           

 how neatly spreads his claws              

And welcome little fishes                      

with gently smiling jaws            


The Swing   by Robert Louis Stevenson

How do you like to go up in a swing, 
Up in the air so blue? 
Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing 
Ever a child can do! 

Up in the air and over the wall, 
Till I can see so wide, 
River and trees and cattle and all 
Over the countryside-- 

Till I look down on the garden green, 
Down on the roof so brown-- 
Up in the air I go flying again, 
Up in the air and down!


Growing   by Mary Ann Hoberman

The grown-ups say I’m growing tall

And that my clothes are growing small.

Can clothes grow small?

I always think

That things grow big

Or else they shrink.

But did they shrink

Or did I grow

Or did we both change?

I don’t know


A Silly Poem by Spike Milligan

Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
I'll draw a sketch of thee,
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?


Eat Your Words   by Benjamin Zephaniah

I am a veggie table
A table made of veg,
There’s so much fruit upon me
All living on the edge,
Life is hard
But so are plates
And tea can be quite hot,
And vegetarian poets
Make me nervous quite a lot.


Talent   by Carol Ann Duffy

This is the word tightrope. Now imagine

a man, inching across it in the space

between our thoughts. He holds our breath.

There is no word net.

You want him to fall, don't you?

I guessed as much; he teeters but succeeds.

The word applause is written all over him.


Passing Time   by Maya Angelou

Your skin like dawn
Mine like musk

One paints the beginning
of a certain end.

The other, the end of a
sure beginning.


Dreams   by Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.


"Hope" is the thing with feathers   by Emily Dickinson

"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—

And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—

I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
Yet, never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.  


Where the Mind Is Without Fear   by Rabindranath Tagore

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high 
Where knowledge is free 
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments 
By narrow domestic walls 
Where words come out from the depth of truth 
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection 
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way 
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit 
Where the mind is led forward by thee 
Into ever-widening thought and action 
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake


A Walk  by Rainer Maria Rilke - Translated by Robert Bly 

My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance-

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.


By L B Hopkins...



this world

a whole lot




grow up



a writer.


                              write about

                              some things

                              I know —

                              how to bunt

                              how to throw . . .

                              a Christmas wish

                              a butter dish . . .

                              a teddy bear

                              an empty chair . . .

                              the love I have inside


                              share . . .


Yes .

To make

this world

a whole lot



I grow up






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