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Camp’s Starter Guide For Young Poets

For young orators who want to raise their voices like Amanda Gorman.

Megan Baldwin · 8 months ago

  • art

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Poetry has the power to move people. Case in point: Amanda Gorman’s poem, “The Hill We Climb,” which you heard delivered at the Jan. 20 inauguration. Amanda, the nation’s first-ever youth poet laureate, struck a chord and showed many kids that poetry can be a medium to change the world. Ready to find your voice? Ahead, we’ve put together a starter kit for any young poet, from books, classes, videos, and games to train your voice and get you started.

Step 1: Build Your Library

Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman

The Inaugural’s youth poet laureate and activist Amanda Gorman shows us anything is possible when our voices join together. With lyrical text and rhythmic illustrations, Change Sings introduces your young poet to the power of their voice and shows them how they can use it to make a difference.

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein's collection of poems and drawings belongs on everyone's bookshelf. You'll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, a girl who eats a whale, and Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout, who will not take the garbage out. It’s the perfect book for showing your poet that art can be serious or silly.

Poetry for Kids: Walt Whitman

Introduce your young poet to the beautiful words of classic American poet Walt Whitman. This collection of 35 of Walt's best works has been carefully curated for kids and features illustrations and kid-friendly explanations.

Step 2: Practice Putting Pen to Paper

Write Your Own Haiku for Kids

Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that uses words and imagery to capture a feeling or a moment in just three lines. Short but powerful, haiku poems are easy and fun to write and share, so new poets can practice finding the right words.

Un-Journaling: Daily Writing Exercises That Are Not Personal, Not Introspective, Not Boring!

Writing about personal stuff can be challenging. This journal features 200 writing prompts on a wide variety of general interest topics suitable for writers of all ages. Use it to start to unlock your inner creative writer and practice putting pen to paper each day.

The Giggly Guide to Grammar by Cathy Campbell

Poets bend the grammar rules all the time, but you need to know them first to break them. That’s where this lighthearted and ludicrous guide to the essential elements of language and grammar comes in; Not to mention the writing tips that author Cathy Campbell throws into the mix.

Rip the Page: Adventures in Creative Writing

This is the everything-you-need guide to spark new poems and unstick old stories, including lists of big, small, gross-out, and favorite words. The book also includes adventurous and zany prompts, dares, and double-dares to help you mash up truths and lies into outrageous paragraphs.

Step 3: Play with Words

101 Improv Games for Kids

Improv strengthens our imagination, promotes self-confidence, increases spontaneity, promotes teamwork, and creates something out of nothing. This workbook introduces kids to the art (and magic) of improv, so they’re ready to deliver their poems in public.

On Stage: Theatre Activities for Kids

Lights, camera, wordplay! With this second edition of On Stage: Theater Games and Activities for Kids, budding orators will have fun as they choose from more than 125 theater games that spark creativity, boost confidence, and encourage collaboration.

Rhyme Antics: The Hilarious Rhyming Vocabulary Game!

Catch Phrase meets karaoke! Engage In a rap battle of words and wits that will test your flow-cabulary skills as you freestyle in proper English and create lyrical raps.

Vocabulary Battle: Poetry Game for Kids

Watch and learn from poet Simon Mole who shows us how to work together to generate ideas quickly. But watch out! Settling for the first word you think of isn't always the best idea.

Step 4: Listen More

Children’s Poetry Archive

Poetry doesn't just live in books — it lives in the sounds that words make. The Children’s Poetry Archive features an archive of poems read by the poets who wrote them and poems recorded by well-known voices. Listen to interviews with poets and discover how to use language in new ways.