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The Characteristics of Children’s Poetry Essay


The interaction between children and poetry is characterized by strong materials (Glazer and Williams 271). These comprise good plots, rich settings, well-developed characters, vital and educative themes, and artistic styles that employ bold and creative language (Glazer and Williams 279).

This element of novelty is developed by the author, who first understands and comprehends the nature of the audience, or the child age bracket (Glazer and Williams 282). The authors then proceed to prepare the content.

It is a common argument among children poets that they create good pieces, irrespective of whether the children like them or not.

According to Glazer and Williams (284), authors argue that their compositions are built of strong materials, and the likes and dislikes of children cannot be used as a basis for determining the quality of the literature.

They further claim that poetry should be judged as literature on its own merit, and children should them be given the most appropriate literature (Glazer and Williams 298).

Lukens defines poetry as a concise, intense, and flamboyant type of literary work that employs the elements of sound and language to develop emotion and targeted notions. Poetry is aimed at developing emotional intensity through the use of rhythmic or figurative language.

All forms of poetry, including children poetry, use various styles to bring out the intended emotion. These styles include: “alliteration, metaphors, similes, symbolism, personification, assonance, consonance, allusion, onomatopoeia, internal rhyme, and rhyme scheme” (Likens 8). There are various forms of poetry including narrative poems, free verse, ballads, diamante, and cinquain.

Children are not attracted to reading as easily as grownups; therefore, their reading materials should not include difficult terms or abstract concepts. According to Hillman (34), poems and other literary works that are targeted at children display five key features.

First, their characters are either children or portray childlike characteristics. Second, their context is based on typical childhood experiences that are expressed from a child’s perspective. Third, they use straightforward and direct plots that focus on the action or intended emotion.

Fourth, they send out an image of innocence and optimism, such that they leave the audience emotional and happy. Fifth, they are based on both real and fictional events in order to enhance their sense of imagination. These characteristics are common among children authors since they portray the way that adults converse with children, using short and simple texts.

Over the past few decades, there has been increased interest in the features of children poetry, which has led to a lot of research in that field (Russell 34). One of the areas under study involves the typical methods used to express children’s poetry. These include vivid illustrations, humorous narrative, and simple and memorable lines.

According to Russell (50), most of the children’s poetry uses simple words and lines that children can comprehend and use in their activities. Complex terms and nonfigurative notions in poetry tend to discourage children from advancing their interest and comprehension of the concepts of poetry.

Since children have low education level and minimal life experience, any poetry directed at them should have straightforward wording and language that the children can grasp with ease. Children still have a lot to learn, and their comprehension of poetry is still undeveloped.

Children are more attracted to poetry that is written in their language compared to poetry that uses profound language that is beyond their age. Hence, children can only be interested in literary work that uses simple language to explain the idea, image, and action in poetry.

Russell (58) also notes that children link poetry to fun, hence, children should find poetry amusing for them to be interested in it. Humor is a vital component that authors use to seize the attention of children and cause them to read.

Children’s poetry is most successful in getting through to the readers if it combines simple words to describe situations that are familiar to the children with a humorous narrative. Russell (62) states “children love silly nonsense that tickles their funny bones” to emphasize the vital role of humor in children poetry.

For children authors to appeal to children with their poems, they need to consider the element of entertainment in the form of humor, since children are open and willing to try out fun things.

Another area that has attracted a lot of research is the literary devices employed in children’s poetry. Such elements include lively imagery, rhythm, and rhyme, personification and word-play.

While rhythm and rhyme make the poems melodious, fun and easy to remember, lively imagery stimulates the various senses when children are reading poems (Lukens 76). Studies claim that imagery is one of the most valuable devices in children’s poetry (Lukens 76).

In addition, research shows that children pay a lot of attention to imagery in poetry. Lukens (75) states that imagery is the most recurrently employed literary device, and most essential in the development of the setting and mood of the poem.

Imagery also aids in enhancing the understanding of a concept and stretches the insight of the children when reading the poem (Lukens 86).

Russell suggests that personification is a vital element in children’s poetry, especially for the very young. Personification involves the issuing of human qualities to inanimate objects, which makes poetry lively and attractive to children readers.

Instances of personification such as a dancing cat or a talking car appeal to the animalistic view of children since it allows them to relate to poems that have both human and inanimate characters (Russell 91).

Word-play is also a vital component of children’s poetry that allows children to make up words as part of their learning process.

Word-play employs the manipulation of words that make up the poem in a playful manner in order to appeal to the children. Children poems should aim at encouraging children to play with words, which add both humor and delight to the reading process.

Word-play is most useful when reading the poems aloud, which enhances the pleasure of listening and uttering the words.

Other literary elements that are used in children’s narratives include plot, characterization, style, setting, theme, and point of view. Poems do not employ all these elements, though the ones used like theme and plot help to develop a memorable reading experience.

Plots are vital in constructing the conflict, which builds the narrative to a happy ending in order for it to e appealing to the children. According to Lukens (99), plots involve a struggle that is overcome. These struggles can be in the form of person versus person, nature, society, or self (Likens 102).

Based on the entities involved in the struggle, authors can employ the element of personification to portray diverse views of the scenario. Themes are vital elements that determine whether the children find it easy to understand the flow of the poem.

Most of the themes considered in children’s poetry involve simple life experiences that they are familiar with. This allows them to relate to true experiences or familiar thoughts as the authors encourage them to use the element of imagery.

The content of a poem can be based upon an experience like playing with friends, playing a video game, or facing punishment from parents. Such themes that provide content which is familiar to the children are useful in making successful children poetry.

The development of children is based on the ideas of freedom and emotion that are expressed in their learning material (Glazer and Williams 301). As a result, authors should focus on delivering literature that is valuable in enhancing the productivity of the children.

The focus of researchers on children literature is due to the challenges faced by authors who prepare their reading material. The content for children literature does not employ intricate concepts and vocabulary like that used for adult reading material.

Hence, studies revolving around the appeal of children literature, and especially poetry, have revealed interesting concepts. The studies analyzed in this paper focus on the characteristics of children’s poetry based on the analysis of techniques used to obtain the appropriate content.

The deduction obtained emphasize on the use of familiar situations to develop themes and content for the poems, in order for the children to identify with them. In addition, there are specific expression techniques that appeal to children such as simple and memorable lines, humorous narrative, personification, and imagery.

Lastly, authors also consider the plot and theme of the poems, since this provides the environment where the various styles like rhyme and word-play can be employed appropriately.

Works Cited

Glazer, Joan I. and Gurney Williams. Introduction to Children’s Literature. New York: McGraw-Hill Companies, 1979. Print.

Hillman, Judith. Discovering Children’s Literature 3rd Edition. New Jersey; Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall, 2003. Print.

Lukens, Rebecca J. A critical handbook of children’s literature. London: Good Year, 1986. Print.

Russell, David. L. Literature for children: A short introduction. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2005. Print

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Pacheco, G. (2019, August 20). The Characteristics of Children’s Poetry [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/important-qualities-in-poetry-for-children/

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Pacheco, Gemma. "The Characteristics of Children’s Poetry." IvyPanda, 20 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/important-qualities-in-poetry-for-children/.

1. Gemma Pacheco. "The Characteristics of Children’s Poetry." IvyPanda (blog), August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/important-qualities-in-poetry-for-children/.


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Pacheco, Gemma. "The Characteristics of Children’s Poetry." IvyPanda (blog), August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/important-qualities-in-poetry-for-children/.

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Pacheco, Gemma. 2019. "The Characteristics of Children’s Poetry." IvyPanda (blog), August 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/important-qualities-in-poetry-for-children/.

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Pacheco, G. (2019) 'The Characteristics of Children’s Poetry'. IvyPanda, 20 August.

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