Children’s Books: Five Children’s Poetry Books

Reading together is a big part of our evening routine. As a parent, the books I’ve most enjoyed reading to my son are ones that have been written with a rhyming structure like the Hairy Maclary books by Lynley Dodd or any of Julia Donaldson’s books. I’ve always felt that these kind of children’s poetry books were a wonderful gateway into the world of poetry.

I’ve picked out five children’s poetry books which I either read a lot with my son, or I’m looking forward to reading with him when the times comes. I hope you enjoy my choices.

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg. This has been a childhood classic for as long as I can remember. First published in 1978 this classic is full of rhyming couplets featuring almost every fairy tale character you can think of. The illustrations are a joy too, even though my son is getting a bit old for this book now, I still like to flick through it and savour the simple joy of it.

Kicking a Ball by Allan Ahlberg. This is a book my son likes to read out loud to us, it’s full of action and action words and is the perfect poetry-story book for football fans.

Children's Books: Five Children's Poetry Books

Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl. No poetry round-up is complete without a Roald Dahl book. Dirty Beasts is a collection of poems about the foulest, most grotesque creatures in Roald Dahl’s imagination. This was my copy from when I was a child and I’ve passed it down to my son who loves the disgusting rhymes and terrifying tales in Dirty Beasts. This is a treat for adults and children alike!

I’m a Little Alien by James Carter. This poetry book for 3-8 year olds covers all forms of life, from aliens, sharks, robots, snowflakes, moles and elephants. Each poem is full of joy and it’s perfect for dipping in and out of with your little ones. We are big fans!

Poems to Perform, chosen by Julia Donaldson. This wonderful poetry collection has been chosen by Children’s Laureate Julia Donaldson, it’s ideal for children’s groups and school classes to learn and perform, but equally it’s a wonderful collection of poetry to have at home. Something you can dip in and out of. It’s a collection for slightly older children, my son is 7 and he’s only just starting to read and enjoy the poems from this book.

Reading and writing poetry at home is a great way to encourage a love of the written word. Poetry doesn’t have to be hard work or hard to understand. It can be the start of a wonderful adventure with the written and spoken word.

What’s your favourite children’s poetry book?

Children's Books: Five Children's Poetry Books

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Is your school part of Premier League Primary Stars?

Some children take to school and learning like a duck to water, while other children need a bit of gentle encouragement and motivation. Premier League Primary Stars have been visiting and supporting my son’s school since they launched earlier this year. The Premier League Primary Stars scheme uses the appeal of the Premier League and links with local professional football clubs to inspire children to learn, be active and develop important life skills.

Premier League Primary Stars is available to every primary school in England and Wales, and is open to boys and girls aged 5-11. All teachers need to do is register on the Primary Stars website and they can instantly access a wealth of free teaching materials covering English, maths, PE and Sport as well as PSHE.

Is your school part of Premier League Primary Stars?

There are free to download lesson plans all linked to the National Curriculum. The lesson plans help to underpin a range of key values including equality and diversity; self-esteem; resilience; teamwork and fair play. Being part of Primary Stars means schools can also access extra resources such as videos, free football kit and sports equipment as well as free book boxes for school libraries.

The free resources have been created in partnership with industry experts Edcoms and the PSHE Association; National Literacy Trust and other key stakeholders. Children’s authors Cressida Cowell (‘How to Train Your Dragon’ series) and Dan Freedman (‘Jamie Johnson’ series) helped create the programme’s English resources, while Rachel Riley the Sky Sports presenter and mathematician is a consultant in the development of Maths teaching resources.

Schools can work with a local Premier League football club who will come in and work with the children. The teams help to inspire their learning, as well as teaching them a few footballing skills along the way. The kids really benefit from having their local football club coming in. My son’s school is linked to Manchester City FC and last term they had players coming in to work with the kids, which was great!

Launched in March 2017, Premier League Primary Stars is already in 10,000 schools across England and Wales. The scheme is having a positive impact on the learning and outcomes for so many primary school aged children.

Premier League values underpin everything on offer, encouraging children to:

  • Be ambitious – work hard and never give up on their goals
  • Be inspiring – set a great example to others
  • Be connected –work well with others and in a team
  • Be fair – treat people equally and think of others

Is your school part of Premier League Primary Stars? If you’re not sure, ask your class teacher. They might not yet be aware of this brilliant scheme to inspire and encourage kids all over the country to learn and develop a whole range of life skills.

Is your school part of Premier League Primary Stars?

For more information on Premier League Primary Stars visit their website


Premier League Primary Stars are currently running a Writing Stars Poetry Competition. To find out how you can get involved click here.

This blog post was written in collaboration with Premier League Primary Stars and Mumsnet.

Premier League Writing Stars Kids Poetry Competition

This month I’ve been finding out more about the Premier League Primary Stars programme which is currently being used in over 10,000 primary schools across England and Wales. Primary Stars helps to develop literacy, numeracy, PE and PSHE skills in the schools, with all participating being linked up to and supported by their local football teams. My son’s school has had several exciting visits from Manchester City FC players to help motivate and encourage pupils.

Premier League Writing Stars Kids Poetry Competition

Primary Stars has recently launched a fantastic kids poetry competition, with winning entries being published in a book. Other prizes include author-led writing workshops and Premier League Trophy school visits, as well as poems being read aloud by football stars.

Premier League Writing Stars is open to all primary schools in England and Wales and aims to get pupils writing poetry in different creative forms, whether it be in a rap, song lyrics or haiku.

The great news is, the first 1,000 schools to enter the competition will also receive a bespoke “Book Bag” of poetry which is great for expanding school libraries and encouraging a love of poetry.

For more information on how to enter Writing Stars click this link.

The Writing Stars competition invites schoolchildren aged 5-11 to write around the theme of resilience; what does it mean to you to try and try again? Have a look at this brilliant advert from the Premier League Primary Stars campaign, where footballers and children recite the William Hickson poem “Try, Try Again”.

A few famous faces have had a go at writing a poem on the try, try again theme and they’re brilliant. Take a look at the poetry of Alan Shearer, Ben Shephard and Alex Scott (female footballer who has played for England and Arsenal).

All Writing Stars entries will be read by a panel of judges including former Chelsea midfielder and children’s author Frank Lampard; Lauren Child, the author-illustrator of the Charlie and Lola series and Waterstones Children’s Laureate; Yannick Bolasie, the Everton winger and lyricist; and Young People’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi.

The closing date is 22nd December.

How can you get involved?

Primary Stars is a fantastic scheme for primary schools to get involved in. They have a huge range of free resources for teachers to use, so it is worth checking with your child’s teacher to see if they are using Primary Stars already.

Get writing! I’ll be showing my son the advert and talking to him about resilience and how try, try and trying again is the secret to success in all things. We will also be having a go at writing a little poem at home.

Reading and writing poetry at home is a great way to encourage a love of the written word. Poetry doesn’t have to be hard work. You can write a limerick, haiku, sonnet or song. You can even write a rap. It doesn’t matter what you do, the goal is to enthuse children and encourage them to love learning!