11 Canadian poetry books for kids to read during National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate by reading some great Canadian poetry.

April is National Poetry Month! Celebrate by reading some great Canadian poetry for children and young adults.

My Love is For You by Susan Musgrave, illustrated by Marilyn Faucher

A 2019 Canadian picture book by Susan Musgrave and Marilyn Faucher. (Orca Book Publishers)

My Love is For You is a poetic look at love and the four seasons of nature. Featuring detailed illustrations of all the joys that the natural world brings, My Love is For You is designed to be a literary and visual treat for small children. 

My Love is For You is for ages 0-2.

B.C.-based Susan Musgrave has written poetry, fiction, nonfiction, personal essay, children's writing. Her many books include Love You MoreMore Blueberries and Kiss, Tickle, Cuddle, Hug

Marilyn Faucher is an illustrator based in Montreal. 

Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue by Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd

Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue is a picture book by Roy Henry Vickers & Robert Budd. (ZG Communications, Harbour Publishing)

Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue introduces young readers to iconic sounds of the West Coast, like roaring sea lions, rustling cedar branches in the wind, sacred drumming of a potlatch and the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean. It's the fourth board book in The First West Coast Book series, which includes Hello Humpback!, One Eagle Soaring and Sockeye Silver Saltchuck Blue.

Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue is for ages 0-3.

Roy Henry Vickers is a renowned carver, painter and printmaker from British Columbia. He is the co-author of the popular children's Northwest Coast Legends series, which incudes Raven Brings the Light, CloudwalkerOrca Chief and Peace Dancer.

Robert "Lucky" Budd is the co-author of the Northwest Coast Legends series and the author of Voices of British Columbia and its sequel, Echoes of British Columbia.

In the Sky at Nighttime by Laura Deal, illustrated by Tamara Campeau

In the Sky at Nighttime is a picture book by Laura Deal (above) and illustrated by Tamara Campeau. (Inhabit Media)

In the Sky at Nighttime is an illustrated bedtime poem about the Arctic night sky. This lyrical poem sends readers sailing through the Arctic night sky to see and hear the unique beauty of a Northern night. In the sky at nighttime, the northern lights dance, a mother's song sways on the breeze and a raven roosts atop a tall building, bathed in the light of the moon.

In the Sky at Nighttime is for ages 0-3.

Originally from Nova Scotia, Laura Deal has been living in Nunavut since 2005. This is her second book.

This is the Rink Where Jack Plays by Stella Partheniou Grasso, illustrated by Chris Jones

A Canadian picture book by Stella Partheniou Grasso and Chris Jones. (Scholastic Canada)

The vibrant nature of ice hockey is on full display by Ontario-raised writer Stella Partheniou Grasso. Created for hockey fans of all ages, This is the Rink Where Jack Plays is a poetic ode to Canada's national sport and the classic nursery rhyme This is the House That Jack Built with colourful images by illustrator Chris Jones.

This is the Rink Where Jack Plays is for ages 3-8.

Stella Partheniou Grasso is an Ontario-based author. Her previous books for children include Take Me Out to the Ice RinkThere Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Puck and Five Busy Beavers. 

Chris Jones is a Toronto-based artist, graphic designer and illustrator. 

Tree Song by Tiffany Stone, illustrated by Holly Hatam

Tree Song is a children's book by B.C.-based writer Tiffany Stone. (Annick Press)

Tree Song uses poetic language and phrasing to explore the life cycle of a tree, from a tiny seed, to sapling and fully grown. The book looks at the tree in different seasons, from birds in spring, picnics in summer and leaves in fall. Tree Song is a read-aloud celebration of the venerable tree for small children while serving as the ideal introduction to nature's life cycles.

Tree Song is for ages 4-7.

Tiffany Stone is a Quebec-born and B.C.-based children's poet, picture book author and editor. 

Holly Hatam is an illustrator. She is known for her whimsical, quirky mixed-media art style. She has illustrated the New York Times Bestseller, Dear Girl, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Paris Rosenthal, as well other children's books. 

Be You! by Peter H. Reynolds

Peter H. Reynolds is a Ontario-born writer and illustrator. (Orchard Books/Scholastic Canada)

Be You!  is a celebration of the notion that each child is special and unique in their own enduring way. With words designed to inspire, empower and educate Be You! is in the vein of Oh, the Places You'll Go!, reminding young children that they have the power to be who they want to be. 

Be You! is for ages 4 to 8.

Peter H. Reynolds is an Ontario-raised and Mass.-based writer and illustrator of children's books. His bestselling books include The DotI Am HumanHappy DreamerThe Word Collector and Say Something!

I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe & I'm Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas, both illustrated by Pauline Young

Pauline Young with the two books she was asked to illustrate, I Lost My Talk and I'm Finding My Talk. (Gail Harding/CBC)

This children's book shares Rita Joe's iconic poem I Lost My Talk with a new generation. I Lost My Talk is about how Joe, a Mi'kmaw elder and poet, lost her language and culture after she was sent to residential school. 

I'm Finding My Talk is Rebecca Thomas's response to Rita Joe's poem I Lost My Talk. Thomas is a poet and a second-generation residential school survivor. In I'm Finding My Talk, she celebrates reconnecting with her language and culture.

Both books are for readers aged 4-8.

Both books are illustrated by Pauline Young, a Mi'kmaw illustrator who lives in New Brunswick.

Explosion at the Poem Factory by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann

A picture book by Kyle Lukoff, illustrated by Mark Hoffmann. (Groundwood Books, Charles Ludeke, Mark Hoffman)

Explosion at the Poem Factory is a humorous book for young readers about a piano teacher named Kilmer Watts who finds himself unemployed when automatic pianos arrive in town. One day, upon seeing a "Help Wanted" sign at the poem factory, he soon finds out all about how poems are manufactured and assembled. Explosion at the Poem Factory uses rhymes and creative wordplay while deconstructing all that goes into a poem. 

Explosion at the Poem Factory is for ages 6-9.

Kyle Lukoff is a children's book author, school librarian and former bookseller based in Brooklyn, New York.

Mark Hoffman is an American children's book author/illustrator, editorial illustrator and fine artist.

Climbing Shadows by Shannon Bramer, illustrated by Cindy Derby

A book of poetry for children by Shannon Bramer, illustrated by Cindy Derby. (Groundwood Books, Linda Marie Stella)

Inspired by kindergarten children, Climbing Shadows features poems for children to spread the love, joy and wonder of poetry. Poet and playwright Shannon Bramer was inspired to develop this anthology that is a sensitive look at all the emotions that young children experience: happiness, sorrow, worry, fear and humour. 

Climbing Shadows is for ages 6 and up.

Shannon Bramer is a Toronto author of poems, plays and short fiction. She has published a number of poetry collections and chapbooks and won the Hamilton and Region Best Book Award for 1999 book suitcases and other poems

Cindy Derby is a San Francisco-based writer, illustrator and puppeteer. Derby has illustrated many picture books, including Climbing Shadows by Shannon Bramer.

Say Her Name by Zetta Elliott

A children's book of poetry by Zetta Elliott. (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Bianca Cordova)

Say Her Name is a poetic call-to-action for older children. Inspired by the U.S.-founded #SayHerName campaign, Zetta Elliott wrote 49 poems that highlight historical names such as Lucille Clifton, Audre Lorde and Nikki Giovanni to celebrate the creativity, resilience and courage of black women and girls.

Say Her Name is for ages 12 and up.

Elliott was born in Ajax, Ont., and has lived in the United States for the past 20 years. She is a poet, a teacher and a writer for children and young adults. Her most recent book is Dragons in a Bag.


  • An earlier version of this story said Kyle Lukoff was based in Ontario. He is based in Brooklyn, New York.
    Apr 27, 2020 4:22 PM ET

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