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Poems to Learn by Heart
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Poems to Learn by Heart

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  343 ratings  ·  81 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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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
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
Maybe an additional star would be warranted if this collection were aimed at older children or adults. But, judging by the illustrations, it's aimed at age 7 and below, and yet few of the poems are accessible to the little ones. Heck, you regular readers of my reviews know that I'm a fan of lots of poetry, even some of the more challenging works, and yet Kennedy chose a bunch that were opaque to me. And an awful lot of them are awfully long.

However, some are just beautiful to say aloud, even if
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
Julie Williams
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
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
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
Stephanie George
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
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
Geneva Roberts
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
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
Miles and I added this into our evening routine after I picked up a copy of it in June 2013 at Women and Children First in Chicago. Since then I have given it to several friends expecting children. It is a beautifully illustrated book that contains a wide variety of poems, some well-known, and some that should be. There is a good range of children represented in the illustrations as well, which is very important: children of a variety of ethnicities from all over the world. If we want to raise c ...more
Poems to learn by heart by Caroline Kennedy has a verity of different poems. The illustrations are beautiful all the way through. This is a most excellent selection of poems. Just when you think you fount the best the next one is even better. Before you start you will have some favorites and by the end some new favorites.

"The First Book"
Open it.

Go ahead, it won't bite.
Well...maybe a little.

More a nip, like.A tingle.
It's pleasurable,really.

You see,it keeps on opening.
You may fall in love.

Sure, i
This collection is a fine one to choose for a school library with so many poems for everyone’s taste. A group of NYC students helped in the choosing, which is nice. There is a wide variety of poetry divided into ten sections like poems about the family, sports and games, nature and war. Caroline Kennedy writes a nice introduction to each section, emphasizing the importance and fun of memorizing poems, along with including tips to do so. Jon Muth’s paintings serve as beautifully enhancements to ...more
Travis Morgan
I really enjoyed reading the poetry which this anthology entails, but I also loved reading the author's tips and words of wisdom at the beggining of each section. I think that my students would like the authors tips and words of wisdom as well, as she provides examples of what real readers and writers do and the importance of reading and writing. I also think that the students will find something to relate to while reading one of the poems in this book. This is because the topics vary from sport ...more
Kathryn Brunk
O dear! How disgusting is life!
To improve it O what can we do?
Most disgusting is hustle and strife,
and all things an ill-fitting shoe-
O brother an ill-fitting shoe!

by Edward Lear

This book has many short poems in it and just as the title states they can be easily remembered. There are many different authors like Langston Hughes. The illustrations look like watercolor and there is an illustration for each poem. I love this book because there is such a variety of poems and they can be taught t
Solid four stars. This was a book group selection and I have to say I loved it. It was a fabulous trip down memory lane and reminded me how much I used to enjoy poetry but have in recent years become rather impatient with it. It takes a different type of reading and thinking to really enjoy and apparently I've become lazy and impatient so I am very glad we read this as a group. A very lovely evening spent discussing favorite poems from the book and elsewhere. I highly recommend book groups consi ...more
I think I would rather have the title be "Poems Every Child Should Know," because some of those I can't learn by heart as an adult--and I have a pretty good memory! I think it's a great collection of poems. I was familiar with many of the poems and poets. Another nice one to possibly own so one can digest at a slower pace instead of in a 3-week check out. This was one of the other larger collections among the 2014-2015 Beehive poetry nominees, which makes me wonder how well it will be received. ...more
Christina Fisher
I think students will be grabbed by the title of this book by Caroline Kennedy - memorization can be a fun way for students to share a poem aloud to their class or to illustrate while recalling the words. In this book, various styles and types of poems are presented to the reader about topics such as sports, picnics, nature, etc. and Kennedy shares some tidbits about her own family's appreciation for poetry on many pages throughout. Kids will love that they can identify with the poems shared and ...more
Sep 13, 2014 Amy rated it 4 of 5 stars
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.
This book contains a wonderful selection of poems for children or adults. Many would surely get enjoyment from reading this volume. In my classroom, I am going to return to the time honored custom of memorizing poems, and we will begin here. Research shows that memorization has educational benefits, even though it is considered by many to be "old fashioned." I hope that repeated exposure to lovely classic poems like those in this book will cultivate a little affection toward poetry among my stud ...more
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
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
Camille Ryckman
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
Gracie Guagenti
I choose this book for no other reason than it came up first during my search at the library. I was very impressed by this book and am very glad I picked it! There is a poem for all situations, but unfortunately I'm not sure kids (specifically my preschoolers) would connect with them. The poems are meaningful -such as "Don't Worry If Your Job is Small" and would connect with older children. I enjoyed reading this book, but I think I enjoyed reading it more than my kids would enjoy hearing it.
For a collection of poetry that's perfect for memorization or reading aloud, look no further than this volume selected by Caroline Kennedy with assistance from students who attend DreamYard Prep in New York.

The author includes a foreword that introduces each group of poems and even includes some tips for memorizing lengthy poems.

Watercolor paintings decorate each page and help support the mood and tone of the text.

Recommended for grades 3-5+.
Mary Beth
There are some well known poems and some not so well known. For the most part they are great poems to learn by heart, but there are also some extremely long poems and then many of them are a little hard for young children to understand. Overall though a nice collection and one that should be added to a home collection.
Kennedy's book 'A Family of Poems' is amazing, this book is not; I can't figure out the intended age group -- poems about war and death don't usually sit side by side with poems about little red riding hood; the paintings are pretty but almost seem in the way here; sections include witches/ogres, nonsense, school, sports, war, nature, relationships, family, self
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
Lovely. I love the illustrations in this book, and the selection is a nice mix of poems for children. Adding this to my list of books to purchase for myself, and for gifts in the future. I already noted a few that I would like to use for story time.
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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 1999. Another brother, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy died two days after his birth in 1963.
More about Caroline Kennedy...
She Walks in Beauty: A Woman's Journey Through Poems The Best Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis A Family of Poems: My Favorite Poetry for Children A Family Christmas In Our Defense

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