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Writing Poetry for Children: 5 Articles to Get Your Rhyme On

Many people associate rhyming poetry with children’s books–but there’s a lot of advice for children’s writers that steers you away from writing in rhyme. But what if you’re passionate about poetry? Check out the articles below for some encouragement about how to grow your skills and write GOOD poetry for children.

The Magic of Metaphor
In Shel Silverstein’s poem “Somebody Has To” he wrote that “Somebody has to go polish the stars…” Metaphor is that polishing cloth. It polishes the film of familiarity off of the things of this world; things that we sometimes take for granted because we see them daily. So a poet’s job is to bring back the shine of the world, whether seeing stained glass windows in dragonfly wings or describing jacks as “tin bouquets” or “bundles of piggyback stars.” Read more.

Picture Books: To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme
Are you unsure about whether you should write your picture book in rhyme? Maybe you’re drawn to the rhythm, but you’re afraid, because chances are you’ve come across advice to stay away from rhyme. People often say “rhyme is difficult to sell,” “you should rewrite all your manuscripts in prose”, or “editors and agents hate rhyme.” In some ways, that advice is true. Read more.

Writing Poetry for Children
Good poetry matches the developmental and cognitive level of its audience. Good poetry stirs up appropriate emotions. Children laugh, cry, wonder, and appreciate different things at different ages. Their sense of humor and what they understand changes as they grow. Read more.

Collecting Word Treasures
Keep a word journal or notebook to collect what we call word treasures or word surprises. Use the dictionary or thesaurus to find words you are curious about, like the sound or meaning of words that inspire you, surprise you, make you laugh or touch your heart. Words that knock your socks off. Read more.

Writing the Verse Novel
The verse novel is an incredibly powerful art form when done well. It is not the vehicle to use because you can’t think of much to say or because you want to write something quickly or because you want to jump on the bandwagon or because it’s easier (it’s not!). It’s a beautiful vehicle for the right story. Read more


Also consider coming to our fall workshop, The Craft and Heart of Writing Poetry for Children, October 13-17, to immerse yourself in writing poetry and working on the craft.

Posted on: July 23, 2019

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