Some call it their Morning Basket; others call it Morning Time; and still others call it Poetry Tea Time. Whatever you choose to call it, one of the most special things you can do with your children is immerse yourselves in rich and beautiful literature.
I know, I’m starting to sound like a broken record. But I just can’t stress it enough.
There’s something so special about reading together. Stories awaken the imagination, and poems teach children how to put words together to create beauty.
Under this premise, we’ve slowly built up our library over the last few years. I’m so excited to share some of our favourite story and poem collections with you today.
Collections of Poetry for Children
One of the best classes I’ve ever taken was a poetry-writing class. It was part of a college writing program, something that I did on the side while pursuing my university degree in English. I love poetry. I love writing poems and I love reading poems to my children.
Here are a few of our favourite poetry collections:
1. A Child’s Book of Poems (Gyo Fujikawa)
A Child’s Book of Poems is one of our favourite collections of poetry. It’s filled with a beautiful combination of classic and modern poetry alongside gorgeous illustrations.
2. A Child’s Garden of Verses (Robert Louis Stevenson)
I read A Child’s Garden of Verses over and over again when I was a child. Robert Louis Stevenson writes such sweet poems. Most versions are beautifully illustrated, and the poems are ones that your children will remember and treasure all their lives.
3. Favorite Poems, Old and New (Helen Ferris)
Favorite Poems, Old and New is a massive collection of hundreds of poems. More than 700 poems, in fact. The poems are divided by subject, making it easy to find the right piece of poetry to suit any occasion. Although I don’t own this particular book, I’ve had the opportunity to look through it, and I’ve added it to the top of my wishlist for next school year.
4. Poems for Young Children (Miles Kelly Publishing)
Poems for Young Children is a sweet collection of classic children’s poems divided into four categories: Fun and Nonsense, Enchanted Lands, All the Day Long, and A Wonderful World. These poems are perfect for the imaginative child.
5. Poetry for Young People series (Sterling Children’s Books)
I first heard about Poetry for Young People at a homeschool meeting last year when a friend brought in some copies for us to page through. Each book in this series covers one poet, allowing an in-depth look at their work. The poems (or excerpts) are curated for children, with accompanying notes explaining difficult words and concepts.
6. Where the Sidewalk Ends (Shel Silverstein)
My children adore Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends. My husband used to read them one of these poems every night before bed, and it’s this book that sparked a love of poetry in my kids. If you have a child who isn’t really into poetry, this book is a great place to start.
Collections of Short Stories for Children
While we certainly read our fair share of individual picture books each day, I love switching things up with some beautiful children’s story anthologies. These ones have been wonderful additions to our Morning Time routine:
Aesop was an ancient Greek storyteller. This version of Aesop’s Fables for Children is gorgeously illustrated by Milo Winter. If you’re the type of person who needs to give your voice a break from reading out loud, I highly suggest purchasing this version, which comes with the accompanying audio CD.
Best-Loved Children’s Stories is a delightful collection of classic stories such as “The Little Red Hen”, “The Three Little Pigs”, and “The Three Billy-Goats Gruff”. We picked up a gorgeous hardcover version at a local discount bookstore for under $5!
3. Great Stories Remembered (Focus on the Family)
“Unconsciously, we mirror the traits of the story characters we dwell on most” (Joe L. Wheeler, Great Stories Remembered II, vii).
Great Stories Remembered is a compilation of sweet stories written around the turn of the 20th century and organized by season. We have Volume II in the series. I’m not sure how many there are and I believe they are out of print, but you can purchase a used copy off Amazon or the audio version of Volume I from Christianbook.com.
Thankfully, most versions of Grimm’s Fairy Tales look nothing like the originals. I remember studying the original “Little Red Riding Hood” in university and being horrified. Although still considered dark by many people, stories such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and “Little Red Riding Hood” have become much more child-friendly over time. In fact, many of the Grimm’s tales have been turned into popular, animated Disney movies.
Paired with sweet illustrations, the Usborne version of Grimm’s Fairy Tales is perfect for kids and absolutely delightful.
Since “The Princess and the Pea” and “Thumbelina” are two of my favourite childhood fairy tales, I couldn’t wait to share Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tales with my children. I have the version illustrated by Rie Cramer—a second-hand treasure. Usborne has a beautifully illustrated version as well.
6. Tales from Shakespeare (Charles and Mary Lamb)
Tales from Shakespeare by Charles and Mary Lamb contains prose versions of Shakespeare’s plays. Although directed towards children, it was written in the early 1800s and the language reflects the time period. Still, it’s a wonderful way to introduce Shakespeare to children.
For more poetry tea time ideas, check out my Poetry Tea Time Pinterest board.