Ode to Childhood: Poetry to Celebrate the Child edited by Samuel Carr

Source: Sterling Children’s Books
Hardcover, 96 pages
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Ode to Childhood: Poetry to Celebrate the Child by Samuel Carr is a collection of poems from a variety of poets about children, parenthood, and their own childhoods, and no collection about children would be complete without William Blake, who has four poems included.  Blake is a poet that spoke about the innocence of childhood in a great many poems, which can be found in his Songs of Innocence and Songs of Experience.  His childlike lines and voice evoke the childlike quality readers will immediately reference in their own experiences, but his poems also speak of a duality in childhood between desire and the more enlightened search for knowledge.  He demonstrates that children learn from the reactions and action of others in “Infant Sorrow,” learning that smiles get reactions that wailing did not.

Longfellow image

Reprinted with permission from Ode to Childhood © 2014 Batsford, distributed by Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by TFL from the London Transport Museum collection.

While each poem in the collection is about children or childhood, they are by turns nostalgic for a childhood lost, a celebration of innocence and play, and a homage to the joys that children bring to parents, others, and themselves.  Many of these poems are from classic poets and could be harder to comprehend upon first reading because of the difference in modern language, but the gist of the poems can be easily discerned from the overall atmosphere in the poems.

From “The Schoolboy” by William Blake (page 76)

I love to rise in a summer morn
When the birds sing on every tree;
The distant huntsman winds his horn,
And the sky-lark sings with me.
O! what sweet company.

But to go to school in a summer morn,
O! it drives all joy away;
Under a cruel eye outworn,
The little ones spend the day
In sighing and dismay.

The rhymes and rhythms of these poems could be read aloud almost like lullabies, but there are deeper meanings and stories that are told.  Coupled with the vibrant drawings that pop when readers turn the page, nostalgia for a by-gone era can take over —  remember scampering through those hills, playing follow-the-leader, or just chasing other kids around.  Ode to Childhood: Poetry to Celebrate the Child by Samuel Carr is not just a celebration of childhood or innocence, but a celebration of life.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO WIN ODE TO CHILDHOOD edited by Samuel Carr, tell me a childhood memory in the comments. You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter. Giveaway ends April 15, 2014, at 11:59 PM EST

Book 8 for the Dive Into Poetry Reading Challenge 2014.



For today’s 2014 National Poetry Month: Reach for the Horizon tour stop, click the image below:


  1. What a great way to introduce kids to poetry! I remember spending countless hours with my sister rolling down the hill in our backyard.
    Anna´s last blog post ..Mailbox Monday — April 7

    • I really loved the images in this collection. They reminded me of a book I had when I was a kid with kids doing fun things.

  2. I always loved school!