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Best Poetry Books for Teens

Discover the power of poetry to speak to the youthful heart with this collection of the best poetry books for teens. Each book has earned its place by captivating young minds across the web’s top literary platforms.

Recommendations from 17 articles, Ankur Warikoo, Cheryl Strayed, Amy Cuddy and 6 others.
46 books on the list
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The Poet X book cover
The Poet X
Elizabeth Acevedo - 2018-03-06
Goodreads Rating
A young girl in Harlem finds solace in slam poetry, using it to navigate her mother's religion and her place in the world. Despite feeling unheard and unempowered, Xiomara pours her frustrations and passions into her leather notebook, reciting her words like prayers. When she joins her school's slam poetry club, she's faced with the challenge of speaking up and sharing her thoughts with the world. Elizabeth Acevedo's debut novel is a powerful exploration of identity and self-expression.
Recommended by
Kwame Alexander
Poetry Speaks Who I Am book cover
Poetry Speaks Who I Am
Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else (A Poetry Speaks Experience)
Elise Paschen - 2010-03-01
Goodreads Rating
Discover the power of poetry and its ability to capture the essence of who we are with Poetry Speaks Who I Am. Featuring over 100 remarkable poems, choose the one that speaks to you and become a part of the collection by adding your own. Plus, with a CD included, you can hear 44 classic and contemporary poets read their work aloud. From Langston Hughes to Edgar Allan Poe, this collection is dynamic, accessible, and ultimately imperfect-just like you. Dive in and happy hunting.
Blue Lipstick book cover
Blue Lipstick
Concrete Poems
John Grandits - 2007-05-21
Goodreads Rating
This unique and hilarious collection of poems takes readers inside the mind of 15-year-old Jessie, as she navigates the ups and downs of high school life. With a witty and sarcastic voice, Jessie shares her thoughts on makeup, hairstyles, her irritating younger brother, and her passion for designing her own clothes and writing poetry to her cat. The inventive poems use concrete poetry, typography, and graphics to create surprising and irreverent images. This is a must-read for anyone who wants to experience the world through the eyes of a smart and funny teenage girl.
the princess saves herself in this one book cover
the princess saves herself in this one
Amanda Lovelace - 2016-04-23
Goodreads Rating
This captivating poetry collection is divided into four parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, and you. The author's life is represented in three transformative stages, while you serves as a note to both the reader and all of humankind. Explore life's love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspirations in this powerful and thought-provoking read.
Long Way Down book cover
Long Way Down
Jason Reynolds - 2017-10-24
Goodreads Rating
A gripping exploration of teenage gun violence, Long Way Down takes place in just sixty seconds as fifteen-year-old Will decides whether or not to seek revenge for his brother's murder. Told in a series of short, powerful verses, Will's journey on an elevator brings him face-to-face with those connected to his brother's death and the grim realities of street justice. Written by bestselling author Jason Reynolds, this fierce novel is a must-read for anyone looking to confront the devastating impact of gun violence on youth culture today.
Paint Me Like I Am book cover
Paint Me Like I Am
Teen Poems from WritersCorps
Bill Aguado - 2003-02-18
Goodreads Rating
"Paint Me Like I Am" is an inspiring collection of poems written by teens from across the US. These young writers have participated in WritersCorps, a nonprofit organization focused on helping at-risk youth find their creative voice through writing. The poems featured in this book represent a diverse range of voices and perspectives, giving readers a glimpse into the minds of teenagers everywhere. With contributions from acclaimed poets Nikki Giovanni and Kevin Powell, as well as writing tips from WritersCorps instructors, this collection is a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration and insight from today's youth.
Time You Let Me In book cover
Time You Let Me In
25 Poets under 25
Naomi Shihab Nye - 2010-02-23
Goodreads Rating
Let these inspiring and remarkable individuals into your life as they share their stories through poetry and prose in "Time You Let Me In" by Naomi Shihab Nye. From love to frustration, depression to humor, these honest and fearless voices leave a lasting impact.
Please Excuse This Poem book cover
Please Excuse This Poem
100 New Poets for the Next Generation
Brett Fletcher Lauer - 2015-03-10
Goodreads Rating
Explore a diverse collection of American poetry with Please Excuse This Poem. Featuring 100 up-and-coming poets from all walks of life, these gritty, heartfelt, funny, and boundary-breaking poems cover a vast range of topics and forms. With an introduction by award-winning poet Carolyn Forché, this must-read anthology is sure to change the way you view the world and the power of poetry.
Where the Sidewalk Ends book cover
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Poems and Drawings
Shel Silverstein - 2002-11-01 (first published in 1974)
Goodreads Rating
Experience the imaginative world of Shel Silverstein's classic poetry collection, Where the Sidewalk Ends. Meet a boy who turns into a TV set, a whale-eating girl, and other fascinating characters. The poems are both outrageously funny and profound, making it a beloved book for generations. With its excellent sense of rhymes and alliteration, this masterful collection is a pleasure to read aloud, making it one of Parent & Child magazine's 100 Greatest Books for Kids. Join the delightful adventure of Where the Sidewalk Ends and discover why Silverstein's unique creativity has captivated readers for decades.
Recommended by
Amy Cuddy
Dizzy in Your Eyes book cover
Dizzy in Your Eyes
Poems about Love
Pat Mora - 2010-01-12
Goodreads Rating
Experience the diverse teenage experience through a collection of 50 original poems written by award-winning author and speaker Pat Mora. Each poem showcases a different teen narrator sharing their unique thoughts, moments, and heart's desires. With a variety of poetic forms used, readers will be able to connect with the universal emotions and ideas presented in these graceful verses. Perfect for teachers and aspiring writers alike, this book includes footnotes on different poetic forms to help demystify poetry and highlight its accessibility.
The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur
The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur
Light Filters In by Caroline Kaufman
Poetry for Kids by Emily Dickinson
Apple by Eric Gansworth
Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Falling Up by Shel Silverstein
Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes
Wild Embers by Nikita Gill
IRL by Tommy Pico
Wet Cement by Bob Raczka
Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
Ink Knows No Borders by Patrice Vecchione, Alyssa Raymond
Beastgirl & Other Origin Myths by Elizabeth Acevedo
A Kick in the Head by Paul B. Janeczko
A Poke in the I by Paul B. Janeczko
Beauty is a Verb by Jennifer Bartlett
You Don't Even Know Me by Sharon Flake
For Teenage Girls With Wild Ambitions and Trembling Hearts by Clementine von Radics
Red Hot Salsa by Lori Marie Carlson
Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes
How to Eat a Poem by American Poetry & Literacy Project
The Realm of Possibility by David Levithan
Citizen by Claudia Rankine
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Somebody Give This Heart a Pen by Sophia Thakur
You Don't Have to Be Everything by Diana Whitney
Poems from Homeroom by Kathi Appelt
I Just Hope It's Lethal by Liz Rosenberg
Call Us What We Carry by Amanda Gorman
Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds, Jason Griffin
Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo