I love sharing haiku poems with children. How about you? The haiku is a type of poem that is short and accessible, appealing to most children. More than that, it is a poetic form that children can learn to write themselves.
Do you know the definition of a haiku poem? It’s a traditional lyrical Japanese poem usually about nature or intense emotion.
The haiku form consists of three short, non-rhyming lines made up of 17 syllables. The first line is 5 syllables. The second line is 7 syllables. And the third line is 5 syllables.
Learn how to write a haiku poem from poet, Bob Raczka.
But first, start by reading children’s picture books of Haiku poetry. They all share brilliant examples of poems that kids will love to read.
Haiku Poems for Kids
My First Book of Haiku Poems: A Picture, a Poem and a Dream by Japanese Haiku Masters, translated by Esperanza Ramirez-Christensen, illustrated by Tracy Gallup
I love everything about this book: the stunning haikus about nature, the luminous illustrations, and the deep-thinking food for thoughts notes. Are you a fan of haiku yet? These are poems from the masters — I’m talking about Basho, Shiki, and more. Run out to buy this — it’s an essential addition to your home and classroom libraries. It’s SO impressive!
Just being alive,
the poppy flower
Hi, Koo! by Jon Muth
Remember Zen Shorts by Jon Muth? Stillwater’s nephew explores the seasons captured in snapshot haikus. Muth explains, “. . . haiku is like an instant captured in words — using sensory images.” If you read closely you’ll see that the 26 poems follow the alphabet. Beautiful. Do these poems make you want to go outside?
a favorite book
an audience of sparrows
Guyku by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter H. Reynold
Guyku is fun, whimsical, and easy to understand book of haiku poems for guys with poems about nature, friendship, and play. The poems follow the four seasons, hence the title, A Year of Haiku for Boys.
Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins, illustrated by Nicole Wong
Walk with Kiyoshi and his poet grandfather Eto through the town as his grandfather shows Kiyoshi where poems come from. When Eto stops to write a poem, Kiyoshi realizes that poems come from what you see, what you hear, what you imagine, and what you feel. “They passed by an old house with a tall wall around it. / They peeked through a crack, but could see only a stuffed bear on the ground. // Eto took out his pen and wrote: / His boy moved away. / Lying by the empty house. / A lonely bear waits.” Kiyoshi writes a poem, too. Then they walk home, seeing that in everything there is a poem. I LOVE this book so much!
H is for Haiku by Sydell Rosenberg, illustrated by Sawsan Chalabi
I love the presentation of these alphabetical haiku poems — from the bold typeface to the exuberant illustrations. Rosenberg’s topics celebrate the little moments in life; specifically, life in New York City. Moments like wrinkled leaves in a puddle, children carrying umbrellas, or squirrels munching on acorns. These haiku poems show that poems can be about anything. Use these to see the world differently and to celebrate life’s small events.
Petals falling in her hair —
Boo! Haiku by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea
Simple haikus will get kids thinking and guessing about Halloween items including a bat, a skeleton, and a black cat.
Guess Who, Haiku by Deanna Caswell, illustrated by Bob Shea
What a creative twist! The traditional nature haikus become clever riddles for kids to guess the answers.
“from a lily pad
keep eyes spy a careless fly
a sticky tongue — SNAP!
Can you guess who from her haiku?”
The Horse’s Haiku by Michael J. Rosen, illustrated by Stan Fellows
Lovely earth-toned watercolors accompany haiku poems all about horses. Horse lovers like me know these scenes — rolling around in the dusty field, the clip-clop of hooves in the barn, and the wet chest after a day’s ride.
Earth Verse Haiku from the Ground Up by Sally M. Walker, illustrated by William Grill
Spi-Ku: A Clutter of Short Verse on Eight Legs bt Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Robert Meganck
Rich imagery and playful language fill this engaging book of spider-themed poems of all kinds accompanied by informational text and illustrations. “Longbodied Cellar Spider / hungry wasp / knob-kneed arachnid / a whirling blur / invisibility cloak– cobweb to be continued….” Different poetic forms and different kinds of spiders fill the pages. Learn about silk, food, senses, and much more. “Wrap bite blergh / SLURRRP. / Bite wrap blergh chew / SLURRP.” Parents, read this to help your children discover a love for poems! Teachers, whatever poetry form or literary devices you’re teaching, you’ll find beautiful examples in this book.
One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis, illustrated by Susan Kathleen Hartung
My husband and I love visiting Japanese Zen gardens — this book transports readers into such a garden using the simplicity of haikus and counting numbers from one on up paired with evocative illustrations.