Category: News

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

As Children’s Poet Laureate, one of my jobs is to select a collection of poetry each month to feature on the Poetry Foundation’s website. There you’ll find my monthly book picks, and those of the previous Children’s Poets Laureate.

My pick for September, 2013 is Words with Wings, a novel in verse by Nikki Grimes.

Interview with Children’s Poet Nikki Grimes

In addition, I interviewed Nikki about her life as a poet and about her new book. Here is what she had to say.

Kiss, Kiss Good Night

Kiss, Kiss Good Night by Kenn Nesbitt

I’m pleased to announce my newest book, Kiss, Kiss Good Night is now available. This is my first book for babies and toddlers, and also my first bedtime book.

Kiss, Kiss Good Night is a large (9-inch square) “board book” with a soft, squishy cover, rounded corners, and sturdy, baby-proof pages, so your little one can hold the book and turn the pages safely without damaging it.

This charming bedtime book tells the story of how baby animals go to be each night. What happens when they need to rest their little heads? Their mothers tuck them into bed, of course! Read along as baby bunnies, lambs, chicks, kittens, and cubs settle down for a good night’s sleep while their mommies give them nuzzles, cuddles, and good-night kisses! A lulling, soothing bedtime poem perfect for getting little ones to settle down.

When baby bunnies go to bed,
Their mothers kiss them on the head.

Inside their burrows, warm and deep,
They close their eyes and fall alseep.

. . .

Sweet dreams!

Where to Buy

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes & Noble
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Interview on Bigfoot Reads

“Tuesdays with Morzant” Interview on Bigfoot Reads

Interview with Kenn Nesbitt I had the pleasure of being interviewed by an alien this week. And not just any alien. I was interviewed on the blog Bigfoot Reads by Morzant, an alien who has been studying earth literature, and who is good friends with Bigfoot and a number of other cryptids.

Bigfoot Reads is one of the most fun children’s literature blogs you will ever come across. The blog posts are written by a crazy cast of characters that includes Violet the Telekinetic Puppy, Norman and Beverly the Half-Invisible Turtles, Penny C. Monster, and many others. Each of them has their own unique personality and laundry list of idiosyncrasies, as you can see from this review of MORE BEARS! written in 2011 by Violet the Telekinetic Puppy.

Today’s interview by Morzant the Alien is easily the most fun interview I’ve done. As you read the interview, you may notice that Morzant is a scientist who is particularly interested in studying Earth literature. He is also interested in snails the tensile properties of Rice Krispie Treats. Occasionally, Norman the Half-Invisible Turtle will tell him something outrageous (such as that the Children’s Poet Laureate award is bestowed on the winner of an arm-wrestling contest). Morzant is somewhat gullible, and usually believes Norman.

My photograph for the interview was taken by Bigfoot himself. Bigfoot tries, but he’s not much of a photographer, so his pictures usually end up blurry.

I hope you’ll take the time to read the interview and explore Bigfoot Reads for more fun author interviews and children’s book reviews and recommendations.

Weekend Children’s Poetry Links

Children's Poetry Links

The Miss Rumphius Effect challenges readers to write a Tanka, a Japanese form of poetry that has been practiced for over 1000 years.

NPR this week published a list of the 100 must-read books for kids aged 9-14. The one poetry book on the list is Thanhha Lai’s Inside Out & Back Again, a novel in verse about a young girl who leaves Vietnam with her mother and brothers at the end of the Vietnam war to resettle in Alabama.

Ted Scheu, “That Poetry Guy” posted a new video of his “cousin” Luigi reading his poem “Nothing Much.”

Children’s writer Elli Woollard posted a few silly nursery rhymes here and here and a wonderful, more serious poem on her blog, Taking Words for a Stroll.

Sylvia Vardell posted a “back to school” poem called “Underwear Scare” by new poet Terry Webb Harshman, along with a list of Poetry Books for Children About School on her blog Poetry for Children.

Renee LaTulippe hosted the Poetry Friday Roundup, including a first draft of her poem “The Boat,” on her blog No Water River.

M.M. Socks posted a new poem called “Gorilla in a Kid Costume” on his blog The Drawer of M.M. Socks.

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater posted a new poem called “Mittens and Friends” on her blog The Poem Farm.

Poet Eric Ode’s newest book The Boy and the Dragon is now available for pre-order on

Playing With Your Food Poem Lesson


Here’s a quick and easy poetry writing lesson that can be used as early as first grade. I call it a “playing with your food” poem. It’s a list poem about playing your favorite sports with your favorite foods.

Step 1: Create a list of  five of your favorite sports, like this:

  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Baseball
  • Volleyball
  • Football

A Dazzling Display of Dogs by Betsy Franco

A Dazzling Display of Dogs, Concrete Poems by Betsy Franco

As Children’s Poet Laureate, one of my jobs is to select a collection of poetry each month to feature on the Poetry Foundation’s website. There you’ll find my monthly book picks, and those of the previous Children’s Poets Laureate.

My pick for August, 2013 is A Dazzling Display of Dogs, concrete poems by Betsy Franco, illustrations by Michael Wertz.

Interview with Children’s Author Betsy Franco

In addition, I interviewed Betsy Franco about her life as a poet and about her new book. Here is what she had to say.

Write a Poem About Your Favorite Things

What's Your Favorite Thing?

It’s famously said about writing that you should “write what you know.” Unfortunately, this can mean a lot of different things, and can be easily misunderstood. For example, you might think it means to only write about things you have actually experienced. But that would be like saying you can’t write about someone driving a car if you’ve never driven a car yourself. Obviously that doesn’t make sense.

So instead of telling kids to “write what you know,” I like to say that “the easiest thing to write about is your favorite thing,” because that is what you know the most about. If you love playing video games, you probably know a lot about them. If your favorite thing happens to be karate, or soccer, or pizza, you probably know a lot about that.

This doesn’t mean that your favorite thing is the only thing you should write about, but if you are ever stuck for an idea, just ask yourself what you like and then write a poem about it.

In fact, if you have a lot of things you like, you can even make a simple list poem of all of your favorite things. Here’s how.

I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room

“I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room” from the book My Hippo Has the Hiccups> is the first animated video I created on my own. I hope you enjoy it. I’m looking forward to creating more in the months to come.

List of Rhyming Animals

There have been many times that I have been writing a poem and needed a list of animal names that rhymed with one another. To make it easier, I have collected the following list of rhyming animal names. Feel free to use these in your own animal poems.

  • Alsatian / crustacean / dalmatian
  • Auk / hawk
  • Auks / fox / hawks / ox
  • Baboon / loon / raccoon
  • Bat / cat / gnat / rat
  • Beagle / eagle
  • Bear / hare / mare
  • Beaver / retriever / weaver
  • Bee / flea / manatee
  • Buck / duck / geoduck
  • Bug / pug / slug
  • Calf / giraffe
  • Camel / mammal
  • Caribou / cockatoo / ewe / gnu / kangaroo / kinkajou / shrew
  • Chick / tick
  • Chinchilla / gorilla
  • Clam / lamb / ram
  • Cockatiel / eel / seal
  • Cottontail / quail / snail / whale
  • Cow / sow
  • Crow / doe
  • Deer / steer
  • Dog / frog / hog / polliwog
  • Drake / snake
  • Eel / seal / teal
  • Fawn / prawn / swan
  • Ferret / parrot
  • Fowl / owl
  • Gander / salamander
  • Germ / worm
  • Goose / moose
  • Grice / lice / mice
  • Grouse / louse / mouse
  • Guppy / puppy
  • Hen / wren
  • Hippopotamus / rhinoceros
  • Jay / ray
  • Lark / shark
  • Lynx / minks / skinks
  • Man / orangutan
  • Mink / skink
  • Mole / oriole / vole
  • Moth / sloth
  • Nag / stag

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

List of Rhyming Body Parts

It has happened more than once that I have needed to rhyme various parts of human or animal anatomy – body parts – in a poem. Here is the list that I refer to when I need it. I hope you find it useful as well.

  • Back / crack
  • Beak / cheek / physique
  • Biceps / triceps
  • Breast / chest
  • Butt / gut
  • Bum / gum / thumb / tum
  • Claw / jaw / maw / paw
  • Clothes / nose / toes
  • Chin / grin / shin / skin
  • Ear / rear / sneer
  • Eye / thigh
  • Eyelash / moustache / rash
  • Feet / seat
  • Fist / wrist
  • Groin / loin
  • Hide / inside / side
  • Hip / lip / fingertip
  • Lung / tongue
  • Nail / tail

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.