What We Read On Great Poetry Day: Three Poems

three poems for children

Great Poetry Reading Day was this yesterday–that being April 28th–and that was good timing for us. We’ve just begun to neglect the nighttime reading ritual. Frankly, we’re feeling kind of bad about that. So now we’re trying to commit to a nightly poem that will teach our children to live uprightly and dream recklessly. We think we have a year’s worth, and here are the three that got us started… [photo via pixabay]

“The Boy Who Never Told a Lie” (Anonymous)

There was a time when children were offered a solid moral and ethical foundation through the use of stories and poems. Even in Biblical times, moral lessons were delivered in verse, whether proverb or parable. This poem teaches, in a more contemporary fashion, a wonderful lesson about personal integrity and how those who have even a little are perceived by others.

Once there was a little boy,

With curly hair and pleasant eye—

A boy who always told the truth,

And never, never told a lie.

And when he trotted off to school,

The children all about would cry,

“There goes the curly-headed boy—

The boy that never tells a lie”

And everybody loved him so,

Because he always told the truth,

That every day, as he grew up,

‘Twas said, “There goes the honest youth”

And when the people that stood near

Would turn to ask the reason why,

The answer would be always this:

“Because he never tells a lie”


“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” (Anonymous)

The simple innocence and honesty in this poem make it one that all children should learn and understand. Most of us only ever learn the first verse, and that really is a shame. Read this one with your children and fully discover it yourself for the first time.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star!

How I wonder what you are,

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.


When the glorious sun is set,

When the grass with dew is wet,

Then you show your little light,

Twinkle, twinkle all the night.

In the dark-blue sky you keep,

And often through my curtains peep,

For you never shut your eye,

Till the sun is in the sky.

As your bright and tiny spark

Guides the traveller in the dark,

Though I know not what you are,

Twinkle, twinkle, little star!


“Let Dogs Delight to Bark and Bite” (Isaac Watts)

We end with a poem that has talks of peace and civilized interactions with our peers. There’s every mother’s dream. It also teaches valuable truths regarding temperance and sober thinking. Teach your children this poem and remind them of its message when tempers flare, before conflicts arise, and before someone’s hand is raised to another. And remember that the final line refers to “tear” in terms of crying. We read it the wrong way the first time, and kind of scared ourselves…

Let dogs delight to bark and bite,

For God hath made them so;

Let bears and lions growl and fight,

For ’tis their nature too.

But, children, you should never let

Such angry passions rise;

Your little hands were never made

To tear each other’s eyes.