Category: News

Famous Poets: Edward Lear

Edward Lear was born in the bustling city of London, England, on May 12, 1812. With a natural talent for drawing, painting, and writing, Edward would grow up to become one of the most beloved humorists and poets of the 19th century. Best known for his limericks and nonsensical poetry, Edward Lear made a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature and inspired generations of readers to embrace the joy of laughter and the power of imagination.

Edward Lear

A Man of Many Talents

Edward Lear was a multitalented artist who excelled in various creative fields. As a young man, he worked as a professional illustrator, drawing animals, birds, and landscapes. His keen eye for detail and his artistic talent led him to create some of the most celebrated illustrations of his time.

Edward Lear Birds

In addition to his work as an illustrator, Lear was a skilled musician, composer, and writer. He had a unique ability to find humor in everyday situations, and he used his words and melodies to bring laughter and joy to his readers and listeners.

The Birth of Nonsense

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear

Edward Lear’s most enduring legacy is his nonsensical poetry, which he began writing for the amusement of his friends and their children. His first collection, A Book of Nonsense (1846), introduced the world to his quirky, imaginative verse and the now-famous limerick form.

Edward Lear There Was an Old Man with a Beard

Lear’s limericks were characterized by their playful language, absurd situations, and humorous illustrations. Some of his most famous limericks include “There Was an Old Man with a Beard” and “There Was a Young Lady of Ryde.” His poetry delighted both children and adults, breaking the boundaries of traditional verse and inviting readers to explore the world of nonsense.

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat by Edward Lear

One of Edward Lear’s most enduring and well-loved poems is “The Owl and the Pussycat.” This charming narrative poem tells the story of an unlikely pair of animals who set sail on a romantic adventure. The poem’s delightful imagery, engaging rhythm, and whimsical language have made it a timeless favorite among children and adults alike.

Inspiring Generations of Readers

Edward Lear’s nonsensical poetry has left a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature. His playful verse and illustrations have inspired countless writers and artists, including Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, and Shel Silverstein.

Lear’s work continues to resonate with readers of all ages, reminding us of the importance of imagination, laughter, and the joy of language. His poetry encourages us to embrace the nonsensical, to find humor in the everyday, and to celebrate the power of words.

Remembering Edward Lear

Edward Lear

Edward Lear passed away on January 29, 1888, but his legacy of laughter and delight lives on. Today, let’s celebrate the life and work of Edward Lear by reading one of his limericks, sharing “The Owl and the Pussycat” with a friend, or simply embracing the joy of nonsense in our own lives. Through his wit and whimsy, Edward Lear continues to bring joy to people around the world.

Famous Poets: Spike Milligan

In the bustling city of Bombay, British India (now known as Mumbai, India), on April 16, 1918, a boy named Terence Alan Milligan was born. He would later become known as Spike Milligan, a multitalented artist renowned for his humor, wit, and creativity. As a comedian, writer, poet, and musician, Spike Milligan brought laughter and joy to countless people around the world. Among his many contributions, he also held a special place in his heart for children’s literature and poetry.

Spike Milligan

A Man of Many Talents

Spike Milligan’s career was as diverse as his talents. He first rose to fame as a radio comedian in the groundbreaking BBC radio show, “The Goon Show,” which aired from 1951 to 1960. His unique brand of humor and innovative comedic techniques would later influence many other comedians and writers, including Monty Python and Eddie Izzard.

In addition to his work as a comedian, Milligan explored various other creative avenues. He was an accomplished musician, playing the trumpet, guitar, and piano. He also acted in films, wrote comedic novels and memoirs, and even dabbled in painting.

Spike’s Children’s Poetry

Spike Milligan had a gift for crafting whimsical, humorous poetry that appealed to both children and adults. His playful verses often featured quirky characters, absurd situations, and clever wordplay. Some of his most famous children’s poems include “On the Ning Nang Nong,” “A Silly Poem,” and “My Sister Laura.”

Silly Verse for Kids by Spike Milligan

His poetry collections, such as Silly Verse for Kids (1959) and Unspun Socks from a Chicken’s Laundry (1981), continue to entertain and delight readers of all ages. His ability to make people laugh while also engaging their imaginations has left a lasting impact on children’s literature.

Inspiring Young Minds

Spike Milligan the Serious Poet

Spike Milligan’s children’s poetry has introduced countless young readers to the joys of verse and the power of language. His poems not only entertain but also encourage children to play with words and explore their own creativity.

His work has also inspired many educators to incorporate humor and lightheartedness into their teaching, recognizing the value of laughter in learning. Spike Milligan’s poetry serves as a reminder that learning can be fun, and that laughter is a universal language.

Remembering Spike

Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan passed away on February 27, 2002, but his legacy of laughter and creativity lives on. Today, let’s celebrate the life and work of Spike Milligan by reading one of his poems, sharing a joke, or simply embracing the humor in our everyday lives. Through his wit and whimsy, Spike Milligan continues to bring joy to people around the world.

Famous Poets: Lee Bennett Hopkins

In the small town of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 1938, a boy named Lee Bennett Hopkins was born. As a child, he discovered the enchanting world of books and poetry, which provided solace during difficult times. This early love for verse would ignite a lifelong passion for poetry and its power to captivate young minds. Lee Bennett Hopkins went on to become a celebrated poet, anthologist, and educator, dedicating his life to fostering a love of poetry in children.

Lee Bennett Hopkins

A Teacher and a Poet

Lee Bennett Hopkins started his career as a teacher. He had a special talent for connecting with his students, and he knew that poetry could help them express their feelings, thoughts, and dreams. He wanted to inspire children to fall in love with poetry, just as he had.

In addition to teaching, Lee began writing his own poems and putting together collections of poetry for children. His work was unique because he focused on selecting poems that would speak directly to children’s experiences and emotions.

Celebrating Children’s Poetry

Days to Celebrate by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Over the years, Lee Bennett Hopkins compiled and edited more than 100 anthologies of poetry for children. These collections featured a wide range of themes, from friendship and family to nature and the world around us. Some of his most popular anthologies include Days to Celebrate, Jumping Off Library Shelves, and World Make Way.

Jumping Off Library Shelves by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee also wrote his own poems, many of which were published in various children’s magazines and anthologies. His poems often captured the joys and challenges of childhood, using language that was both playful and meaningful.

Encouraging Young Poets

Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

Lee was not only passionate about sharing poetry with children, but also about supporting and encouraging young poets. In 1993, he established the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, which is presented annually to an American poet or anthologist for the most outstanding new book of children’s poetry.

In addition, he established two other awards that are given every three years for outstanding works of poetry for children; the SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award and the ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award. These awards have helped recognize and promote talented poets and their work in the world of children’s literature.

Lee’s Legacy

Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee passed away on August 8, 2019, but his dedication to children’s poetry continues to inspire readers, writers, and educators. His love for poetry and his commitment to sharing it with young people have left a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature.

We can celebrate the life and work of Lee Bennett Hopkins by reading a poem, writing our own verses, or sharing a favorite collection with friends and family. His passion for poetry will live on through the countless children who have discovered the magic of words, thanks to his efforts.

Famous Poets: Maya Angelou

Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Marguerite Annie Johnson. She was born on April 4, 1928, in St. Louis, Missouri. Little did she know, she would grow up to become one of the most famous poets and writers in the world. You might know her better as Maya Angelou.

Maya Angelou

Growing Up

Maya Angelou’s childhood was filled with many challenges. Her parents separated when she was young, and she had to move to a small town in Arkansas to live with her grandmother. When Maya was just eight years old, she faced a terrible event that left her speechless for five years. During this time, she found solace in reading books and writing in her journal.

Finding Her Voice

Maya eventually found her voice again and discovered the power of words. She knew that she wanted to use her voice to tell stories, make people think, and bring hope to others. So, she changed her name to Maya Angelou and started her journey as a writer and a poet.

Maya’s Poetry

Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water fore I Diiie

Maya Angelou wrote many poems, but she is perhaps best known for her collection of poetry called Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water ‘fore I Diiie, published in 1971. Her poems often talked about love, hope, and the strength of the human spirit. She had a special way of writing that made her words come alive and touch the hearts of people who read them.

One of her most famous poems is “Still I Rise.” It’s a powerful piece about overcoming obstacles and finding the strength to keep going, no matter what challenges you face. Another well-known poem is “Phenomenal Woman,” which celebrates the beauty and power of being a woman.

For Young Readers

Life Doesn't Frighten Me

Maya Angelou also wrote books and poems that were specially created for younger readers. One of her children’s books, Life Doesn’t Frighten Me, combines her poetry with paintings by famous artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. This book encourages kids to face their fears and believe in themselves.

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me

Another children’s book by Maya Angelou is My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me. It’s a charming story about a young girl in South Africa who loves her colorful house and her pet chicken. This book shows the beauty of different cultures and the importance of friendship.

Maya’s Legacy

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou passed away on May 28, 2014, but her words and wisdom continue to inspire people all over the world. She once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” By sharing her stories and her poetry, Maya Angelou made us feel stronger, braver, and more hopeful.

Now it’s your turn to pick up one of her books or read one of her poems. Let the words of Maya Angelou inspire you to find your own voice and share your stories with the world.

Introducing “The Elephant Repairman” – Now in Paperback!

The Elephant Repairman by Kenn Nesbitt

Hey there, dear readers, parents, and teachers!

I am absolutely thrilled to announce the release of the paperback edition of The Elephant Repairman, my latest collection of hilarious poems!

The Elephant Repairman is jam-packed with 70 delightful poems that will have kids (and even their parents and teachers) giggling and laughing out loud.

In this book, you’ll find magical toilets, tyrannosaurus teachers, supersonic sloths, pranks to play on parents, and much, much more. Each poem is full of whimsical rhythms, lively rhymes, and priceless punchlines that keep kids coming back for more.

The Elephant Repairman is perfect for reading aloud during family time, as well as for teachers to share with their students in the classroom. It’s a fantastic way to spark kids’ imaginations and encourage their love for reading and poetry.

You can now get your hands on a copy of The Elephant Repairman in its brand-new paperback edition on Amazon right now, and soon at your favorite local bookseller. Don’t miss out on this fun new collection that is sure to keep you laughing!

Happy reading!

Famous Poets: Robert Frost

Today, let’s dive into the enchanting world of Robert Frost, a beloved American poet who wrote not only for adults but also for kids. Born on March 26, 1874, in San Francisco, California, Robert Frost grew up to become one of America’s most famous poets, leaving a lasting impact on the world of literature.

Robert Frost

Frost’s Early Life and the Path to Poetry

Though he was born in California, Frost moved with his family to Massachusetts after his father passed away. Growing up on a farm in New England, he found inspiration in the beautiful landscapes and changing seasons, which later became key themes in his poetry.

Robert Frost

Frost was an excellent student and loved to read. He attended Dartmouth College and Harvard University, but he didn’t finish his formal education. Instead, he decided to pursue his passion for poetry, which was a bold move for that time.

Frost’s Journey Through Books

A Boy's Will by Robert Frost

Robert Frost published his first book of poetry, A Boy’s Will, in 1913. It was an impressive debut, filled with the beauty of nature and the wisdom of a young poet finding his voice. His second book, North of Boston, published in 1914, became even more famous, containing some of his best-known poems like “Mending Wall” and “After Apple-Picking.” Over the years, Frost continued to publish books that captured the hearts of readers, including Mountain Interval, New Hampshire, and A Further Range.

A Poet for All Ages

You Come Too by Robert Frost

While Robert Frost is known for his famous adult poems like “The Road Not Taken” and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening,” many of his books contain poems that are enjoyable for both children and adults. Frost’s collection titled You Come Too: Favorite Poems for Young Readers is a wonderful introduction to his work specifically for kids. This delightful book features a selection of Frost’s poems that are easy to understand and perfect for young readers, inspiring them to explore the magical world of poetry.

Some of his well-known poems for kids include “The Pasture,” “Birches,” and “Mending Wall.” In these poems, he uses simple language and paints vivid pictures that can spark your imagination.

Let’s take a closer look at one of his poems for children, “The Pasture.” It’s a short and sweet poem that invites you to come and explore the beauty of nature with the poet:

I’m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I’ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

I’m going out to fetch the little calf
That’s standing by the mother. It’s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I sha’n’t be gone long.—You come too.

Frost’s poems are not only fun to read, but they also teach us valuable lessons about life, love, and nature. They remind us to appreciate the world around us and to cherish the simple moments.

Frost’s Legacy

Robert Frost 1983 One Ounce Gold Coin

Throughout his life, Robert Frost received numerous awards and accolades for his remarkable poetry. One of his most notable achievements was becoming the only writer to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry four times. He was also honored with the Congressional Gold Medal in 1960, a recognition of his outstanding contributions to American literature. Furthermore, Frost served as the U.S. Poet Laureate (also known as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress) from 1958 to 1959, a position that celebrates and promotes the art of poetry in the United States. These awards and honors are a testament to Frost’s enduring legacy and his exceptional talent as a poet who touched the hearts of people of all ages.

Robert Frost passed away on January 29, 1963, but his work continues to inspire people of all ages. If you’re interested in reading more of Frost’s poems, check out some of his books like A Boy’s Will, North of Boston, and Mountain Interval. You might even be inspired to write your own poetry!

So, let’s celebrate Robert Frost’s magical world of poetry and the beautiful moments he shared with us through his words. Remember, poetry is for everyone, and you’re never too young to start exploring!

Ad-Free Poetry4kids

Are you enjoying the poems, lessons, and other resources on Would you like to help support the website and receive additional benefits (including no advertising) as well? Then please keep reading…

Writing poems and running Poetry4kids are my full-time job. Unfortunately, maintaining a website that gets millions of visitors each year is time-consuming and expensive, and I do it all myself. The advertising on Poetry4kids pays for the cost of the website and helps support me to continue creating more poetry resources for you.

But, I’ve always wanted a way for Poetry4kids to be ad-free, so last year I added memberships through, starting at $5/month, which remove the advertising, along with other benefits. As of this writing, Poetry4kids now has 99 supporters on BuyMeACoffee! A huge thank you to everyone who has become a member or simply bought me a coffee or three. Your supports makes it easier for me to continue expanding this valuable resource for teachers and kids around the world!

To celebrate nearing 100 supporters, I have added a new “Supporter” membership tier. For just $1/month (or $10/year) you can become a member of Poetry4kids and have an ad-free experience throughout the website. In addition, as a member you can direct message me any time through the BuyMeACoffee app, or reach out to me through a special members-only email address. Higher tiers include additional benefits, including free ebooks, free audiobooks, and even free online author visits.

To become a member, help support poetry4kids, and enjoy an ad-free experience and other benefits, simply visit the Membership page on to sign up.

Thank you again for your support. I look forward to creating lots more fun poetry for you!

Famous Poets: Judith Viorst

A few years ago, I had the good fortune to meet legendary American children’s author and poet Judith Viorst. I have been a fan of her poems for many years and was thrilled to get the chance to tell her so in person.

Kenn Nesbitt and Judith Viorst

Judith Viorst is an American author, journalist, and poet who has written many books of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry for both children and adults. She is best known for her Alexander picture book series, which includes the award-winning Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Born on February 2, 1931 in Newark, New Jersey, Viorst grew up in Maplewood, New Jersey with a love of reading and writing. After attending college at Rutgers University, she worked as a journalist, covering politics and foreign affairs for several newspapers and magazines.

If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries by Judith Viorst

But it was her work as a children’s author that made her famous. Her first book of poetry for children, If I Were in Charge of the World and Other Worries: Poems for Children and their Parents, was published in 1981 and quickly became a classic. This collection of poems, which ranges from silly to poignant, touches on the common childhood experiences. It begins…

If I were in charge of the world
I’d cancel oatmeal,
Monday mornings,
Allergy shots, and also Sara Steinberg.

Her other poetry collections for children include Sad Underwear and Other Complications: More Poems for Children and Their Parents and What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem.

What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?: Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem by Judith Viorst

In addition to her children’s poetry, Viorst also wrote many other books for both children and adults, including picture books, science books, and a series of poetry collections for adults about growing older.

Throughout her career, she has received numerous awards and honors for her writing. She has also been recognized for her contributions to the field of children’s literature, and her poetry remains popular to this day.

She has left a lasting impact on the world of children’s literature. Her poetry, with its humor, honesty, and sensitivity, continues to delight and inspire young readers today. Her work is a testament to her passion for writing and her dedication to helping children understand and cope with the complexities of the world around them.

If you would like to read some of her poems, check the poetry section of your library or ask your librarian if they have If I Were in Charge of the WorldSad Underwear, or What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?

Famous Poets: Gelett Burgess

When I was a kid, my dad would often recite poems to me, especially short, funny ones. One that I especially loved was a short poem called “The Purple Cow,” written by a man named Gelett Burgess, which read:

I never saw a purple cow.
I never hope to see one.
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’d rather see than be one.

Gelett Burgess

Gelett Burgess was an American writer, poet, and humorist, who was famous for his children’s poetry. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on January 30, 1866, Burgess moved to San Francisco, California in 1887 after graduating college. There he began his career as a freelance artist and illustrator before turning to writing just a few years later.

Goops and How to Be Them by Gelett Burgess

One of Burgess’s most famous works is The Goops, a series of illustrated children’s poems. The Goops poems feature a group of mischievous and misbehaving children who are taught lessons about manners and good behavior through lighthearted verse and playful black-and-white illustrations. He first published these poems in a magazine called “The Lark” that he created with a group of friends, including children’s poet and mystery writer Carolyn Wells (who happens to be one of my all-time-favorite poets).

The Lark by Gelett Burgess

His poem “The Purple Cow” also first appeared in The Lark in 1895. It became such a famous poem that strangers would often recite it to him. While this was meant to show that they liked the poem enough to memorize it, Burgess eventually became so sick of hearing it that he wrote the following sequel, which he published in The Lark in 1897:

Ah, yes, I wrote the “Purple Cow”—
I’m sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you, anyhow,
I’ll kill you if you quote it!

In addition to his Goops books, Burgess wrote other poetry books for children, including The Burgess Nonsense Book, as well poetry for adults, short stories, and novels. He even wrote a dictionary of words he invented called Burgess Unabridged: A New Dictionary of Words You Have Always Needed, in which he coined the word “blurb,” which is still commonly used today.

Burgess Unabridged by Gelett Burgess

Burgess passed away in 1951, but his work has continued to be enjoyed by readers of all ages. His poetry and children’s books have been widely anthologized and remain popular to this day. His unique style and sense of humor made him a beloved figure in American literature. If you liked “The Purple Cow” and its sequel, you can read a few more of his short, silly poems here.

Famous Poets: Lewis Carroll

January 27 is the birthday of Lewis Carroll, an English writer, poet, mathematician, and photographer best known for his two famous novels Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass.

Lewis Carroll

Born in 1832 in northern England as Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, he grew up in a family with eleven children. As a child he loved to read and he began writing poems and short stories at a young age. In his early twenties, he had a number of works published in magazines. In 1856, at the age of 24, he first used the pen name Lewis Carroll for a poem called “Solitude.”

In 1865, he published his first, and most successful novel, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This book was especially notable for its fantastical and imaginative nature, as well as its use of wordplay and clever puns. It is considered a classic of children’s literature. It has been in print continuously for more than 150 years and has been translated into more than 80 languages. The story follows the adventures of a young girl named Alice as she falls down a rabbit hole and enters a surreal world filled with talking animals and strange characters.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

In addition to being a novelist, Carroll was also a skilled poet. Each of his books of children’s literature includes a number of poems that are filled with clever wordplay. His most famous poem, “Jabberwocky,” appeared in the sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, a book called Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. “Jabberwocky” is perhaps the world’s best-known “nonsense poem,” filled with made-up words, leaving the reader to decide on the meaning of the words from their context and sound.

Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

In addition to his Alice novels, he also wrote another pair of children’s novels called Sylvie and Bruno and Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, both of which include a number of poems, the most famous of which is “The Mad Gardener’s Song.”

Aside from his novels, Carroll wrote several collections of poems, including Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, Rhyme? and Reason?, and Three Sunsets and Other Poems, as well as another famous nonsense poem, “The Hunting of the Snark,” an epic poem that tells the story of an impossible voyage to catch an elusive creature called the Snark.

The Hunting of the Snark by Lewis Carroll

Lewis Carroll died in 1898 at the age of 65, but his poems and stories have had a lasting impact on children’s literature. They have inspired countless other writers and continue to delight readers of all ages. His works have also been adapted into numerous films, television shows, and stage productions, including the Disney film Alice in Wonderland, solidifying his place in literary history as a master of children’s literature. Why not celebrate his birthday on January 27 by reading one of his poems?