Poetry with Soul (eBooks & Audiobooks)

Chevy Chase LibraryStaff Picks

Poetry with Soul (eBooks & Audiobooks)

It's National Poetry Month!! So, I decided to gather a list of poetry-inspired books in celebration of one of my favorite genres! Poetry has the ability to transcend reality, evoke thoughts pertaining to age-old questions, and to provide a sense of comfort. As we all know, the world is presently responding to the harsh realities of COVID-19,  leaving communities quarantined. As we redefine our daily routines, here's a list of poetry-inspired books to assist with reflection, dreaming, grounding, etc. In no way does this list capture all of the impactful voices found within the realm of poetry but, in my opinion, these titles do magnify the essence of and value found in poetry.

Adult titles

Poems of Rumi; Translated and spoken by Robert Bly and Coleman Barks by Jalaludin Rumi
Though written centuries ago, the globally celebrated poet Rumi meets readers right where we are in the 21st century; this book explores ideas around creation, humanity, the soul, the spiritual realm and love (among others). 

The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou by Maya Angelou
The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou provide a compilation of timeless, thought-provoking, and relatable works written by the late-great, award-winning author, poet and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou.    

The Poet’s Corner: The one and only poetry book for the whole family  by John Lithgow
The Poet's Corner is a compilation of diverse poetry written by notable poets throughout history. Award-winning actor, John Lithrow has compiled this unique book to include little known facts and brief bio information about each of the poets represented. In my opinion, this compilation of works gives a good view of the depth and breadth of poetry as a genre. 

Young Adult titles

For Everyone by Jason Reynolds
Jason Reynolds, award-winning author and current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, inspires hope and growth across the pages of For Everyone. The heartening Jason Reynolds is successful in pulling the reader in right away, challenging us to push through, to work towards our dreams, and to be present with life. He is transparent about his own journey towards embracing his dreams, and each page of this book suggests: 'if I can do it, you can do it too'.

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
The inspirational and award-winning author Elizabeth Acevedo, in The Poet X writes in short poems to outline a journey towards finding one's way. Her words, intended for a young adult audience are relatable, concise and direct. This novel details challenges and ideas pertaining to family, obstacles, spirituality and worldview (among others) that modern youth are sure to identify with.

 Children titles

And to think I saw it on Mulberry Street by Dr. Suess
Marco, the main character, is told to open his eyes to his surroundings. Instead, he decides to dream and create his own reality. And to think that I saw it on Mulberry Street is the critically acclaimed Dr. Suess's very first children's book; it's a whimsical and rhythmic story all about imagination and adventure. 

I Am Loved by Nikki Giovanni
I Am Loved, consists of poems written by the renowned and award-winning author, Nikki Giovanni. This colorful children's book explores various themes, like love, friendship, change, reflection and strength (among others). Her poetic words are thoughtful, simplistic and empowering.  

Poems and Folktales by Ashley Bryan
This entertaining audiobook, narrated by the award-winning author, artist and performer Ashley Bryan, retells four African folktales and is hyphenated by poems taken from Sing to the Sun.

These folktales and poems are jammed packed with moral lessons and verses about nature, humanity, tradition and life. My 12-year-old and 6-year-old really enjoyed the dynamic reading of Ananse the spider in search of a fool; creatively teaching young readers to avoid trying to make a fool of others, as you'll likely become the bigger fool.  Each of the stories and poems represented in Poems and Folktales are unique in their own right, with Bryan's dramatic reading adding color and suspense.