April is National Poetry Month in the U.S., and I love taking this opportunity to recommend poetry and writing books for girls.
One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance
In this colorfully illustrated collection, poet Nikki Grimes couples writing from the poets of the Harlem Renaissance with her own work. Many of the poets of the past shared the same concerns we have today — racial profiling, violence, and injustice. “We live in a time when life is hard for many people,” she writes. “Yet there is reason to hope and to dig deep for the strength hidden inside of us.”
Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship
Although fifth-graders Irene and Charles are assigned to work on a poetry project together, they don’t think they have enough in common to make it work. Yet, they come to understand one another as they explore hobbies, family dinners, and their experiences with race.
Mia Tang keeps secrets. She lives in a hotel, not a house like most of her classmates. She works the front desk, while her parents, the hotel owners, hide immigrants in extra rooms. And she wants to be a writer, even though English isn’t her first language and her mom thinks she should focus on math. Will she be able to hold onto her job, help the immigrants at the hotel, and go after her dreams? If you like Front Desk, make sure to check out the rest of the books in the series: Three Keys, Room to Dream, Key Player, and Top Story.
Back to the Bright Before
When a neighbor recites a poem about a coin hidden on the grounds of a local abbey, everything changes for 11-year-old Pet. Ever since her dad hurt himself falling off a ladder — in an accident that Pet is sure was her fault — money has been tight. Even with Momma putting in extra hours waiting tables, they don’t have enough to pay for her dad’s surgery. If Pet could find that coin, her family’s money troubles would be over. But Pet isn’t the only one searching, which makes her quest more dangerous than she ever imagined.
What It Cost Us
It’s been three years since the Covid-19 pandemic started, and many of us are still making sense of it. A group of teens and young adults from Washington, D.C., used writing to explore their memories of 2020. In their book, each chapter features a different character, written by a different author. The complete novel introduces ten teens grappling with events from the first U.S. shutdowns in March 2020 to the insurrection at the Capitol in January 2021.
More Poetry and Writing Books for Girls
The Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters includes poems, stories, and illustrations for world-changing words from Ally to Zest.
Before She Was Harriet by Lesa Cline-Ransome, a biography in verse, explores Harriet Tubman’s roles as a spy, suffragist, and liberator.
Thanku: Poems of Gratitude by Miranda Paul features poets giving thanks for puppies, hot cocoa, the sky, and more. What are you thankful for? Write your own poem after reading this collection.
In Where We Come From, authors John Coy, Shannon Gibney, Sun Yung Shin, and Diane Wilson use poetry to explore where they come from and what unites them.
In Ode to a Commode by Brian P. Cleary, each poem is shaped like its subject (yes, including a toilet)!
What about you? Do you have favorite poetry and writing books for girls? Have you read any of the books featured above? Tell me about them in the comments!