April is National Poetry Month and the perfect time to remember author and photographer, April Pulley Sayre. Although she never self-identified as a poet, her lyrical rhymes and rhythms partnered with stunning nature photography have always been on my list of go-to picture books when I want to share poetry with young children. And there are so many reasons to introduce poetry to children at a young age!
Reading poetry with young children shares many of the same benefits as singing. Children can practice identifying and forming rhymes, as well as listening for the rhythmic syllables. Reading non-fiction with young children has its own list of benefits, including building background knowledge, critical thinking, and reading motivation.
April Pulley Sayre has written a wide range of non-fiction books, but my favorite are those illustrated by her own nature photography. I am always amazed by how she was able to weave poetic language and scientific facts into a book that is just as beautiful to read aloud as it is to look at. From Rah! Rah! Radishes which get kids chanting along to their favorite (and not so favorite) farmstand vegetables, to her latest close-up look at amphibian life, Being a Frog, April shares with children the wonder of the natural world and the words we can use to describe it.
April Pulley Sayre sadly passed away in November, 2021, only a month before we lost another non-fiction great, Steve Jenkins. The two collaborated on several picture books, including the award winning Vulture View and my personal favorite, Squirrels Leap, Squirrels Sleep.
Whether you are celebrating National Poetry month, the start of Spring, or your favorite animal, April Pulley Sayre’s collection offers a variety books to add to your storytime all year long.