In the United States, April is National Poetry Month, which is the perfect time to check out these poetry books for girls. Maybe you’ll even find inspiration for your own poetry!
The 1619 Project: Born on the Water
When a Black girl feels embarrassed that she can only trace her family history back three generations for a school assignment, her grandmother shares stories from the family’s past. This illustrated collection of poetry by Nikole Hannah-Jones and Renee Watson explores the history of slavery in the United States, traveling all the way back to West Central Africa. “Ours is no immigration story,” the grandmother tells her granddaughter. “Never forget that you come from a people of great strength.”
Singing With Elephants
Born in Cuba, 11-year-old Oriol struggles to belong in her home of Santa Barbara, California. Then Gabriela Mistral, the first Latin American to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, moves to town. Oriol starts opening up and finding a way to express herself in writing. She enjoys helping injured animals at her parents’ veterinary clinic, so when a baby elephant is in danger, she wants to help it, too. It will take all the courage she’s learned through her friendship with Gabriela to follow her heart in this novel-in-verse.
In a collection of essays, photographs, and poetry, Ibi Zoboi explores the life of Octavia S. Butler, a Black science fiction writer. Octavia grew up during the Civil Rights movement, raised by her widowed mother. Writing in a genre dominated by white men, Octavia’s books explored racism, feminism, and the African and African-American experience. She won several Hugo and Nebula awards, the most prestigious awards in science fiction writing. Organized around Octavia’s novels, this book is a both a great introduction for new readers and a fascinating deeper look for fans.
Ever since she wore a whale swimsuit at her fifth birthday party, others have bullied Ellie about her weight. She tries to live by the “fat girl rules” — no eating in public, no moving so fast her body jiggles, and no calling attention to herself. Her safe place is her swimming pool, where she feels weightless and can take up as much space as she wants. With support from her dad, her therapist, and a new neighbor who loves Ellie just the way she is, Ellie begins to move beyond the “fat girl rules” to star in her own life in this novel-in-verse.
At the Height of the Moon
Snuggle up with this bedtime collection of poetry and art if you love beautiful books. Gorgeous, full-colored, classic artwork accompanies poems that span centuries. Perfect for paging through, lingering, and savoring, you can read this book cover-to-cover or skip to the pages that speak to you. You might even discover a new favorite poet!
More Poetry Books for Girls
Feeling sleepy? Curl up with A Songbird Dreams of Singing: Poems About Sleeping Animals by Kate Hosford and Jennifer Potter, to get both your poetry and your cute animal fix.
Respect the Mic* is a poetry collection featuring work spanning 20 years from students and graduates of Chicago’s Oak Park River Forest High School Spoken Word Club.
African Town*, a novel-in-verse by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, tells the story of the last known slaves brought to the United States aboard the Clotilde in 1859.
Explore the Civil Rights era through poetry with And We Rise* by Erica Martin.
Call Us What We Carry* by Amanda Gorman uses poetry to explore the Covid-19 pandemic.
What about you? Have you read any of the books above? Do you have other favorite poetry books for girls? Let me know in the comments!
* These books are classified as “Young Adult,” which means the publisher recommends them for ages 12 and older.