Middle School to Young Adult Books

Theme: Poetry

Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems by Teenagers - (ISBN: 978-0763648398)

by Betsy Franco, editor

This free verse anthology is unique in that it comes from the email of adolescents of many different races, beliefs, and orientations. What better subjects for teens than love, romance, and sexuality? (Parents may want to preview, of course).

How to (Un)cage a Girl - (ISBN: 978-0061358388)

by Francesca Lia Block

Accomplished YA novelist Block dips into poetry to examine aspects of the life of an adolescent girl who has had more than her share of problems. Block intertwines typical teen problems, myth, and psychological boundaries to create beautiful poems that express agony and joy at the same time. What would be an alternative title for this book?

More Than Friends: Poems From Him and Her - (ISBN: 978-1590785874)

by Sara Holbrook Allan Wolf

Like epistolary novels, this book tells the story of a romance through poems written back and forth between a young man and woman. Although they start out as “just friends,” things progress to strong romantic feelings. Readers will hardly notice they are also learning a variety of fairly complex poetic forms as they eagerly move from poem to poem to follow the development of the relationship.

Poetry Speaks Who I Am - (ISBN: 978-1402210747)

by Elise Paschen

This anthology “speaks” to teens about issues important to them. Selections by a variety of accomplished poets define identity and teen problems that go with trying to find it. An accompanying CD allows listeners and readers to “hear” the beauty and insights in the poems. Try reading some aloud yourselves too, to get the full impact of the pieces.

Tell the World - (ISBN: 0061345059)

by Writerscorps

This book, collected from the writings of teens, has an international appeal because of the multi-ethnic neighborhood where the Writers Corps teacher-organizer works. Read about the yearnings, daily life, questions, and challenges that teens face. Consider collecting a poetry anthology at your school or community center.

True Believer - (ISBN: 978-0689852886)

by Virginia Euwer Wolff

This novel, written in the beautiful images of free verse, captures the strong spirit of LaVaughn, a determined young woman from the inner city. With her focus on getting into college, she nevertheless encounters a young man from her past who has the potential to complicate her life. Since this book is part of a trilogy, you may enjoy the other books in the series: <i>Make Lemonade </i> and <i>This Full House</i>.

Life and Times of Archy and Mehitabel - (ISBN: 978-0848808310)

by Don Marquis

Open Letter to Quiet Light - (ISBN: 978-1933149301)

by Francesca Lia Block

Poetry for Young People: Maya Angelou - (ISBN: 978-1402720239)

by Edwin Graves Wilson, Editor

Activities for this Theme

Attend a free local poetry reading with friends and/or family. Start by asking at a local bookstore.


Use your Internet searching skills to find out who the current Poet Laureate of the U.S. is. Look to see if your state also has a state laureate. Find some of his/her poems to read together.


Start a “Poem in your Pocket Day” at your local school; this national event encourages poetry reading.


Learn about the different poetic forms and try your hand at one or two


Write a simple poem and put it into the white box to create a beautiful word cloud


Make a “name” poem using numerology


Create some “found” poetry together with your entire family


Make some virtual “magnetic poetry”