April is National Poetry Month, so it’s my tradition to recommend poetry books! There aren’t as many poetry books published for girls as other types of books, so if you have recommendations, make sure to leave them in the comments!
One of my favorite poets is Emily Dickinson, a woman who wrote thousands of poems from her home in Amherst, Massachusetts throughout her life. If you’ve ever read her poetry in school or for fun, or if you are an aspiring poet yourself, you might enjoy Becoming Emily: The Life of Emily Dickinson by Krystyna Poray Goddu. Although she lived her whole life in one place, her world was much wider than that, from her close friendships to her unique religious views to her encounters with leading literary and cultural figures of the 1800s.
“You are free to love who you want/free to live where you want/free to believe what you want/Free to express yourself in any way you want,” Ariane de Bonvoisin writes in her poem, “You Are Free.” Whatever your religious views might be, many people consider reading or writing poetry to be a spiritual experience. Ariane has created three books of poetry about spirituality for kids: Being You, You Are Loved, and Giggles and Joy. I can get behind that!
Of course, poetry isn’t just for April — it’s something you can enjoy every day, all year long — and Sing a Song of Seasons, edited by Fiona Waters, is the perfect companion. With a different poem for every day of the year and gorgeous nature illustrations on each page, this is a big poetry book to get lost in.
If you’re a poet yourself, you need a place to record your creations. Of course, any notebook (or napkin, or paper bag!) will do, but a guided journal with quotes or questions can provide a little extra inspiration. The Always Be Yourself journal has colorful designs bordering each page and prompts to get you started. Any of them could be turned into poems with questions like, “What’s your personal style?” or “Who is the Bravest Person You Know?”, but some of them are specific to poetry, like the one that invites you to write a new lullaby.
If you’re looking for an edgier guided journal, check out Strong is the New Pretty: A Guided Journal for Girls. With photographs of adventurous girls on every page and prompts like, “In 22 years, I will be …” and “How do you conform to or break stereotypes of girls?”, it’s poetry waiting to happen.
What about you? Do you have a favorite poet? Do you write poetry? If you haven’t done so already, make sure to check out the New Moon Girls poetry section of the website — and maybe add your own!
Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She has also been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author of “Rumpled,” a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin for ages 14 and up, and the co-editor of “Hungering & Thirsting for Justice: True Stories from Young Adult Catholics.”