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Poems to Learn by Heart

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  557 Ratings  ·  121 Reviews
For this companion to her New York Times bestselling collection "A Family of Poems," Caroline Kennedy has hand-selected more than a hundred of her favorite poems that lend themselves to memorization. Some are joyful. Some are sad. Some are funny and lighthearted. Many offer layers of meaning that reveal themselves only after the poem has been studied so closely as to be le ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published March 26th 2013 by Disney-Hyperion (first published October 16th 2012)
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I love this book.

I am that girl you knew in school - the one who loved to read and never minded the poetry sections of literature class. So, admittedly, I am a tad biased.

Caroline Kennedy edited this book in the same fashion as "She Walks in Beauty," her last collection of poetry. That means that the poems are grouped by subject - sports, war, school, etc. My only complaint with "She Walks in Beauty" was the lack of "The Lady of Shalott" and "Shall I Compare Thee to a Summers Day."

That is not
It's hard to improve on the The Random House Book of Poetry for Children edited by Prelutsky and illustrated by Arnold Lobel for a good children's poetry anthology--particularly for preschoolers and early elementary students. But when you need an anthology for those elementary-middle school students (and up!), this is the one to turn to. Muth's watercolor illustrations are gorgeous (as always) and do such an excellent job of capturing the mood and tone of each poem as well as its content. Kenned ...more
Julie Williams
Sep 22, 2013 Julie Williams rated it liked it
A lot of people have raved about this collection of poetry so I may be the lone voice who doesn't totally agree. Don't get me wrong. I really don't have anything against the poems. Many of the poems in this collection are familiar to me and many of them are fabulous. I especially liked "Voices Rising". The illustrations are beautiful as well. So what is the problem? I just don't find it very kid friendly. I have a copy. I will put it in my library. But who will check it out? Poetry doesn't get c ...more
Whoa, nelly. This book took forever for us to get through. Part of the problem was that the book is (or at least was) very popular at our local library and there were always holds on it, so we could never renew it. Then we'd have to put it back on hold and sometimes wait for weeks or months before we'd get it again.

Also, we would read a poem or two and then set it aside for several days or a week. I have to admit that we never attempted to memorize any of the poems, although we did revisit a few
Jun 16, 2015 LauraR rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This beautiful anthology was compiled by Caroline Kennedy, a New York Times number 1 best-selling author. This award winning book features a collection of poems about a variety of subjects that connect to the happenings of everyday life. These poems, although all different and connected in some way, deal with life's tellings of both the good and the bad. A reader, has the opportunity to explore each section in depth depending on what their "mood" is that day.
The illustrations are watercolor pai
Aug 04, 2013 Barbara rated it it was amazing
More than 100 poems, some classic and some written recently, are provided in this anthology. Caroline Kennedy asked some of the members of DreamYard Prep, an arts-based high school in the Bronx, to help select the poems for the book. The book is divided into nine different sections, ranging from poems about the self to poems about school to poems about sports and games and poems about war. Although the collection is pitched to children and teens, many adults will be drawn to this collection sinc ...more
Abby Lyn
Apr 04, 2013 Abby Lyn rated it really liked it
Caroline Kennedy has said that her mother Jackie encouraged her children to recite poetry from memory as gifts to her growing up, a tradition I thought was both charming and educational. In her companion book to her previous compilation of poetry for children, Caroline Kennedy here selects her favorite poems that she thinks children (and others) should be able to recite by heart. This author has a real gift for selecting poems with true emotional depth, and I say this as someone who has now boug ...more
Oct 02, 2015 Eva rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rll-538
One of my best-loved poems "Under the Bed" is included in Caroline Kennedy's compilation of more than 100 poems. Classic and new authors are featured with topics ranging from family to history to sports. Kennedy arranges her poems into chapters and includes her thoughts in the introduction to each chapter.

There are poems included for all ages and grade levels. This book could be used as an introduction to poetry, for more advanced study, or simply for reading pleasure. The watercolor illustratio
Brindi Michele
quite diverse with poems from Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Bible scriptures, Jack Prelutsky, and the Gettysburg Address.
Rachel Devine
Oct 30, 2016 Rachel Devine rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
1) Awards: None
2) Grades: Kindergarten and up
3) This book has a plethora of different poems for all ages. The poems are divided into different categories to make it easier to find a poem you are looking for or on a topic that you like. For example, some of the categories are self, family, friendship and love, and school.
4) I love this book. I admire Caroline Kennedy and I love the poems that she has chosen and the categories she has put them in. I also love the paintings, they are beautiful an
Apr 21, 2016 Linda rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of almost 200 poems, a companion to "A Family of Poems," Caroline Kennedy's New York Times #1 Bestseller from 2005. This beautiful volume is filled with poetry of all sorts: about one's self, family, friendship, and love. There are poems about sports and games, about school. Nonsensical poetry, poems about fairies, ogres, and witches are included too. There are deeply touching poems about war, poetry about nature, Bible verses, and so much more are scattered together and thr ...more
Nadine Jones
Dec 06, 2016 Nadine Jones rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
I love Jon J Muth, and I loved Kennedy's other poetry anthology, She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems, so I had high expectations for this volume. The artwork is gorgeous, because Muth is a genius at capturing poignant beauty, youth, and longing in a few brush strokes. But the selection of poems is a disappointment.

This is presented as a book of poetry for young children to memorize, and I'm basing my review on that. This was not a good selection for young children. And it's not
May 18, 2017 Tanya rated it it was amazing
Beautiful poetry selections and wonderful illustrations! I enjoyed this book so much and look forward to reading it many more times.
Feb 28, 2017 Ryan rated it really liked it
Truly a book of classics like Langston Hughes, Robert Service, and Robert Frost. If you want to read a collection of classics and cry, laugh, and read good poems, this book is for you!
Rachel Rouleau
We didn't get to read all the poems while we had it out of the library, but all the ones we read were great. Also had beautiful illustrations. This one would be worth buying.
Dec 30, 2013 Angie rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry
Synopsis: "For this companion to her New York Times bestselling collection "A Family of Poems," Caroline Kennedy has hand-selected more than a hundred of her favorite poems that lend themselves to memorization. Some are joyful. Some are sad. Some are funny and lighthearted. Many offer layers of meaning that reveal themselves only after the poem has been studied so closely as to be learned by heart.
In issuing the challenge to memorize great poetry, Caroline Kennedy invites us to a deeply enrichi
Taylor Laird
Oct 07, 2015 Taylor Laird rated it really liked it
Shelves: edrd314
Throughout this week we had to find a few anthologies and pick one that was our favorite. By far, I liked Poems to Learn by Heart. It had many different poems, and had very many different poets, some even classic poets that one can never forget. I was surprised to find Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare, Shel Silverstein, Emily Dickenson, and surprisingly Abraham Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address was in this anthropology. Though it may not seem like a poem, it is a memorable moment ...more
Stephanie George
Feb 26, 2015 Stephanie George rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
This book features beautiful poems written by well-known and loved poets. I think it is a wonderful way to introduce poetry into children's lives. There are not may books out there that encourage young readers to read poetry, let alone books that introduce young readers to classic poets such as Robert Frost and Shakespeare. I feel like many would dismiss this book thinking that the poems in it are too complicated for young readers to understand and enjoy, but I disagree. The poems that I read in ...more
Charli Greene
Apr 26, 2016 Charli Greene rated it it was amazing
Poems to Learn by Heart illustrated by Jon Muth and written by Caroline Kennedy includes over 100 wonderful poems. This book has a poem to celebrate every moment in life, ranging from winning or losing a sports game to reading a book in bed after a long day. The illustrations in this book allow you to enjoy the poem as well as the painting that goes along with it. Every illustration is colorful and inviting. Not all moments in life are happy, and this book of poems does a fantastic job at coveri ...more
Camille Ryckman
Oct 31, 2013 Camille Ryckman rated it really liked it
As I read the poems in this book I thought what wonderful words people have written and that was enough for me to believe that even if these are not learned by heart, they should be read to kids. Some poems are for younger kids and some for older kids so there has to be some discretion among what will be read and shared. That said, the collection has poems that are old and it has newer poems. Poems that are short and poems that are long. It has funny, serious, sad, silly and every kind of emotio ...more
Feb 02, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The following is a direct quote from the Introduction. It just a few words, the author explains why we should memorize a poem:

"In today's world, where it is so easy to look things up, we discount the value of memorization. For example, kids don't see the point of learning multiplication tables when they have a calculator. But it makes us feel empowered to know that we have the knowledge to solve a problem, rather than having to depend on a device to do the work for us. It's the same with words.
I guess I really don't like poetry very much no matter how I try. I have been mostly not reading this book. I got tired of seeing it on my current reading shelf and skimmed through the rest of it. I reread parts of a few poems, enjoyed a few I haven't seen before that attracted my attention, and gave up on the rest. I had had dreams to actually put my mind to work memorizing some of the poems but I just can't be bothered. If I want a poem, I'll look it up. I really doubt I will ever want a poem. ...more
Mikey Briccetti
Oct 21, 2016 Mikey Briccetti rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
•No awards
•1 to 2 grade
•This collection of poems offers older children varying topics such as nature, sports and even war. Some can be a simple as a few lines while others take up entire pages. With 114 poems to choose from any child can find a poem that will interest them.
•Covering topics like war with a poem of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address this is more of an older child book. Some pictures take up the whole page while not being too overwhelming while others are small little pictures that mean
May 05, 2014 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, anthology
This exceptional anthology is built around the idea of memorizing poems. Before you groan, listen to this quote from the intro: “Poets distill life’s lessons into the fewest possible words…If we learn poems by heart, we will always have their wisdom to draw on, and we gain understanding that no one can take away.” Kennedy explains that a certain empowerment comes with memorization. Organized into ten groupings of similarly themed poems (e.g., poems about nature, wartime poetry, poems about the s ...more
Sep 10, 2014 Felicia rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-book, poetry
Beehive Nominee 2015-- I'm of two minds if I was rating this for myself I would rate it about a 4 since there are some great poems in here a lot a grew up with and new ones I read and really liked as with any collection there were few that didn't sit well with me but I can deal with that. But I read this with my kid for a kid award and I didn't think that most of these poems were appropriate for that. Death, a little swearing, explaining things. I loved the pictures but they weren't engaging for ...more
Geneva Roberts
Mar 30, 2014 Geneva Roberts rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Poems to Learn by Heart is a wide variety of poetry by poets that might be recognized and some that are new to you. The illustrations are well done, some more abstract and some more simple. I think this book would be great for children 6-7 as some of them are very long and might not attract the attention of very young children. The poetry in this book covers a wide array of subjects for boys, girls and even adults to relate to. This book would make a great addition to a classroom or school libra ...more
Addy McConville
Nov 27, 2016 Addy McConville rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016-17
There are many types of pomes in this book. There are pomes about yourself, about family, about friendship and love, about fairies, ogres, and witches. There are also pomes about nonsense, about school, about sports and games, about war, and about nature. One of my favorite pomes is in the school section. It is called "Lucky Trade." It is about how a mom and a boy switch places for the day. At the end the boy says "I'll pick you up at 4 o'clock. Today you have detention." I like it because the m ...more
Marinna Bressel
There's a poem to celebrate every moment in life-whether it's hitting a home run, watching a sunset, or laughing with your best friend. A poem is a gift of the heart that can inspire, reassure, or challenge us. Memorize it-share it-it's yours forever.
100 poems are divided into nine thematic sections—family, friendships, war, and nature, among others—and come from such writers as Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Nikki Grimes, Linda Sue Park, and Gary Soto; biblical verses are included, and the G
Jun 24, 2015 KevinL rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is a great book of poems put together by Caroline Kennedy. As Kennedy said “If we learn poems by heart, we will always have their wisdom to draw on, and we gain an understanding that no one can take away.” There is truly a poem in this book for everyone. The categories covered in this book arenature, sports, monsters and fairies, friendship and family. It is truly relatable to all. The beautiful illustrations compliment the poems beautifully. This book would be a great addition to any libra ...more
Natalie Zeitman
Apr 14, 2016 Natalie Zeitman rated it really liked it
Caroline Kennedy has done a marvelous job of bringing together some of the most wonderful poems. Her categories make this poetry book easy to navigate in case one is in a darker mood versus a lighter one. My favorite part of this book is that she includes the Gettysburg Address as one of the poems, which to me is, for lack of a better word, poetic. This book will have you riding a whirlwind of emotions with poems like the Ballad of Birmingham to Casey at the Bat. Not only are the poems beautiful ...more
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Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is the daughter and only surviving child of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. An older sister, Arabella, died shortly after her birth in 1956. Brother John F. Kennedy, Jr. died in a plane crash in 19
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