April is National Poetry Month, and over the last few weeks, I’ve been reminiscing about my favorite childhood poetry moments. I still remember my second-grade teacher reading William Jay Smith’s “Seal” while my classmates and I drew pictures inspired by the verse. At bedtime, my mother and I often read Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), which elicited both giggles and thought-provoking discussion. Poetry was a social event, something to be shared. I’m happy to see so many new works of poetry being published; these titles are sure to give young people endless hours of joy.

Children certain that they aren’t cut out to be poets will sing a different tune after reading Poetry Prompts: All Sorts of Ways To Start a Poem From Joseph Coelho (Wide Eyed Editions, 2023), illustrated by Georgie Birkett, Amanda Quartey, Grasya Oliyko, and Viola Wang. Readers are invited to try out haiku, experiment with alliteration, and more. U.S. Children’s Laureate Coelho is an enthusiastic, reassuring, and thoughtful guide; keenly aware that poetry is meant to be performed, he urges aspiring writers to consider how their words might sound when read aloud.

With Animal Albums From A to Z (Walker US/Candlewick, March 26), Cece Bell conjures up an imaginary era when animal musicians such as the Barbershop Beagles and the Klezmer Kangaroos recorded hits that have since fallen into obscurity. Paying homage to rockabilly, hip-hop, disco, and more, the Newbery-winning author pairs album art with an alphabetically arranged array of song lyrics, from Arnie Dillow’s “My Aromatic Armpit Is Astonishing to All” to the Zydeco Zebras’ “You Snooze, You Ooze.” Her zany verse will have youngsters howling with glee, and her attention to detail is impressive: Eagle-eyed readers will spot fictitious record company logos on each cover, and Bell caps it off with biographies of the artists. Not only will this one turn children into budding poets; it also might awaken in them a passion for collecting vinyl. (Read an interview with Bell on page TK.)

While the illustrated verse in Grant Snider’s Poetry Comics (Chronicle Books, March 26) may be succinct, it’s also funny, moving, and profound. Exploring both lighter topics (school, friendship, the pleasures of racing through a sprinkler) and weightier fare (fear of the unknown, the complicated emotions dredged up as a youngster muses on a lost bicycle), Snider imbues his minimalist cartoons with joy, whimsy, and even melancholy. This quietly potent blend of verse and art captures the complexities of childhood; the poems that confront the struggles—and rewards—of the writing life are an especially inspiring throughline.

With Windsongs: Poems About Weather (Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster, May 28), acclaimed children’s poet Douglas Florian delivers another winner. Relying on clever wordplay (“It’s reigning rain!”) and folding in meteorological facts, he crafts an illuminating tribute to everything from thunder and lightning to dew. Though Florian closes with a somber acknowledgment of climate change, a sense of playfulness pervades his work: His energetic illustrations ramp up the fun, and he makes superb use of concrete poetry to visually represent tornadoes and hurricanes.

Mahnaz Dar is a young readers’ editor.