If you’ve ever laughed out loud while reading a poem about a computer that ate your homework, a cat that knows karate, or a magical toilet that can make anything disappear, chances are you’ve stumbled upon the whimsical world of Kenn Nesbitt. This poet, with his playful words and hilarious ideas, is a favorite among kids like you!
Who is Kenn Nesbitt?
Born on February 20, 1962 in Berkeley, California, Kenn Nesbitt is one of the most popular children’s poets of recent times. When he was just a year old, his family moved to Fresno, California, where he fell in love with poetry, humor, and nonsense. He would memorize the silly poems that his father would recite, such as “The Purple Cow,” “The Dying Fisherman’s Song,” and “If You Ever Meet a Whale,” and read whatever funny books he could find.
When he was 11, his family moved again, this time to San Diego, California, where he attended middle school, high school, and college. In high school, he discovered a new passion; programming computers.
In fact, Kenn didn’t start off thinking he’d become a poet. He had several different jobs—including working for Microsoft as a computer programmer, and writing for many different computer magazines—before realizing that making kids (and adults!) chuckle with his poetry was his true calling.
In 1994 he wrote his first children’s poem, “Scrawny Tawny Skinner,” about a little girl who wouldn’t eat her dinner, after hearing a recording of Shel Silverstein’s poem “Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out.” Writing it and sharing it with his friends was so much fun that he wrote another and another, eventually writing thousands of poems and many many books.
A World Filled with Giggles
Kenn’s poems are like a roller-coaster ride—full of surprises and fun. Let’s dive into why his poems are so special:
- They are laugh-out-loud funny: From the titles to the very last word, his poems promise giggles. With zany topics like “My Mother Does My Homework” or “I Tried to Take a Selfie,” he talks about situations that could happen in any kid’s life… but with a twist of humor.
- Some are everyday adventures gone loony: Kenn has this cool talent for turning everyday events into hilarious adventures. Did you ever use too much glue for crafts? In Kenn’s world, that can turn into a sticky, uproarious mess!
- He writes about animals and their antics: If you love animals, you’re in for a treat! Kenn’s poems feature all sorts of animals, from the usual cats and dogs to the weirdest, wildest creatures, all doing the funniest things.
- He has poems on just about every topic you can imagine: Whether you want to read funny poems about food, family, monsters, aliens, sports, holidays, or even wordplay and nonsense, Kenn has probably written poems for you.
Books, Books, and More Books!
Kenn’s first book, The Aliens Have Landed at Our School!, was published in 2001. Since then, he has written more than 25 books for kids.
Some of his famous collections of poems include:
- The Tighty-Whitey Spider: Filled with more than 50 funny poems, this book will take you on a wild journey of fun with animals doing extreme sports.
- My Hippo Has the Hiccups: This book is a roller-coaster of giggles that even includes audio recordings of Kenn reciting many of his wacky poems.
- When the Teacher Isn’t Looking: Anyone who’s been to school will find something to chuckle about in this one.
Besides these, Kenn has many other poetry collections and even picture books, such as MORE BEARS!, and a chapter book, The Ultimate Top Secret Guide to Taking Over the World, to his name. If you’re looking for a good laugh, picking up any of his books is a sure bet!
Children’s Poet Laureate: A Big Title for Big Laughs
In recognition of how amazing his poems are, Kenn was named the Children’s Poet Laureate, now called the Young People’s Poet Laureate, by the Poetry Foundation in 2013. It’s like being crowned the “King of Kid’s Poetry!” For two years, he held this title, spreading his love for poetry and humor across the land.
Did You Know?
Kenn Nesbitt loves visiting schools. He enjoys reading his poems aloud and teaching kids how to write their own funny verses. So, the next time a poet visits your school, keep your fingers crossed—it just might be him!
Is He Married? Does He Have Kids? What Does He Do Besides Write Poems?
Kenn married his wife Ann in 1996 and they live in Spokane, Washington. They have two adult children, Max and Asher who also live in Spokane. You can find out more about his life and works here and here.
These days, he spends much of the school year traveling all around the world with his wife Ann. He has inspired kids to read and write poetry in such far-flung places as China, India, Turkey, Egypt, Argentina, The Philippines, Thailand, and many others. He even visits lots of schools online while he’s traveling!
Inspired by Kenn? Here Are Some Tips to Write Your Own Funny Poems
Want to pen down your own hilarious verses? Here’s how you can get started, inspired by Kenn Nesbitt’s style:
- Think Silly: Start with something regular, like brushing your teeth, and think of the silliest scenario. Maybe the toothbrush and the toothpaste start dancing!
- Play with Words: Rhyming can be a lot of fun. Think of words that sound funny together.
- Keep it Short and Sweet: Not all poems need to be long. Sometimes, the funniest moments are short and snappy.
- Read Some of His Lessons: Kenn has written dozens of poetry-writing lessons for kids to help you get started. See how many you can do!
The Playful Poetry of Kenn Nesbitt
The world can sometimes be a serious place, but poets like Kenn Nesbitt remind us of the brighter, lighter side of life. Through his words, he encourages kids everywhere to look at the funnier side of things and find joy in the ordinary.
Whenever you feel like a laugh or want to escape into a world where hippos get hiccups and spiders wear underwear, remember Kenn Nesbitt’s poems are just a page-flip away. Dive into his universe, and you’re sure to come out with a big smile on your face!