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Poems to Learn by Heart

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  723 ratings  ·  147 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 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published October 16th 2012)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  723 ratings  ·  147 reviews

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Dec 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Although, I'm not familiar with majority of the poetry, I still enjoyed reading them and I was totally in love with the art! ...more
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
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
Sep 22, 2013 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
Nov 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
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
Feb 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Reading poetry aloud with Jack has been a wonderful experience. This book includes an array of poems across many centuries, genres and styles, collected by themes. The humorous, short verses were predictably Jack's favourites, but we both enjoyed reading the longer, more famous poems of Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shakespeare, and noticing familiar lines and passages. ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a beautiful book, it was amazing with it's rhymes, and I thought it was very clever. It was incredible to read poems that were written up to 400 years ago! I would recommend this book to anyone who loves poetry and loves history. ...more
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A nice collection of new and old poems with informative introductions to each section. The artwork is beautiful.
Eileen Myers
Dec 31, 2019 rated it liked it
Makes a nice gift but I think the poetry she chose was somewhat disappointing for read-aloud moments. The illustrations are nice, though.
Jun 16, 2015 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
Abby Lyn
Apr 04, 2013 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
Aug 04, 2013 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
Oct 02, 2015 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
Feb 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Brindi Michele
quite diverse with poems from Shakespeare, Langston Hughes, Bible scriptures, Jack Prelutsky, and the Gettysburg Address.
Jessica López-Barkl
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Zia (my daughter) and I began reading this book last July, (a poem a day, that I would read 4 times - the meaning of her name has four meanings because of the 4 directions, 4 seasons, 4 times of day, and 4 stages of life - a nice theme, I think). Anyway, I read about this book in a blog about traveling with children and the essential books to carry that can last a long time.

Zia and I just finished reading this the first time last week, and we have started reading it again from the beginning, af
Rachel Devine
Oct 30, 2016 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 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children, poetry
Miss 5 really likes the children's poetry collection that we have at home so I thought I'd try another collection from the Children's section of the library. She didn't like this collection at all. There are some beautiful and poignant poems in this collection (like Martin Niemoller's famous "First They Came for the Jews") and some are that less poetry and more Americana (such as Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address). There are few poems in the collection that are more likely to appeal to childr ...more
Hannah Goble
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-books
As a fan of poetry, I was absolutely delighted to read a book that brings an appreciation of poetry to the younger generation. This book has it all; poems that make one laugh, smile, cry, and wonder. Through poems, Caroline Kennedy expresses her belief that learning poetry can add value to life of children in a way that nothing else can. The poems in the book are written by many different poets, from more modern poets, to older master poets. The book is beautifully illustrated using bright, wate ...more
Adam Crane
Nov 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Was tracking down the poem, “The Tale of Custard the Dragon” and found it here.
I’d love a longer sections of “nonsensical” (besotted by wordplay) and “extra credit” (uncategorizable) poems and less “war” and “nature.” That’s probably uninspired high school education talking, which overemphasizes the latter.
Glad to be introduced to Milne’s “Disobedience” and Cummings “if everything happens that can’t be done,” among others.
A bonus: terrific illustrations.
Linda Gill
Apr 21, 2016 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
R.M. Donaldson
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A must have for a home children's education library! The poems are perfect for children, and some of the best poems are collected here. It's theme is to helping people learn memorize the poems, so some are short, some are long, but all are amazing pieces that capture the heart. I want a copy of this book for my library! A perfect tool to help children learn to love poems and to know why. ...more
Mar 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is an amazing collection of poems. It contains some classics by Frost,Shakespeare and Kipling. Each section has a thoughtful introduction written by Caroline Kennedy. She writes of her family memories and love of poetry. The illustrations in the book are watercolors and beautiful. This is a book to pick up and read. It is timeless.
Nadine Jones
Dec 06, 2016 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
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Many wonderful choices and a few poor ones. Missing: any poem by Edgar Allen Poe; I certainly would have preferred the tintinnabulation of "The Bells" to the worse choice, a poem that is more visual than auditory and would be difficult to memorize. The illustrations were lovely throughout. ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
A lovely and diverse collection of poems, beautifully illustrated. It's a book I want on my shelves so my girls can flip through it whenever the fancy takes them. However, the content of one or two of the poems is not something I want them encountering on their own. I'm not sure if I'll pull the book from the shelves until they're old enough to have discussions about the subject matter or not. ...more
Deb Carlson
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A lovely collection of poems with thoughtful introductions to each section by Caroline Kennedy and beautiful illustrations by Jon Muth. Caroline’s work with New York City students & having some of them help select the poems for this book is marvelous & makes a difference!
Dec 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
I’ve been meaning to read through this entire collection of poetry for years and just recently made it happen. Some wonderful selections here and I always love Jon J. Muth’s artwork. It’s a lovely addition to the included poems.
May 18, 2017 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.
Elizabeth Meadows
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children, non-fiction
Absolutely perfect book for class assignments, brain training, and just pure fun.
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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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