BYU Radio


One of the most ever present forms of poetry is the Haiku. This simple form is one of the most used in schools, and I’m sure that almost everyone has had the opportunity of writing one at some time or another. Traditionally this form, which consists of three lines with seventeen syllables written in a 5, 7, 5 syllable count pattern, is also a favorite of authors of poetry for children. A book of Haiku I enjoy is Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka and illustrated by Peter Reynolds. This book is a simple exploration of boys in nature that captures real experiences throughout a year in wonderfully crafted Haiku. Another fun book of Haiku is Hi Koo! by Jon Muth—which is about a panda named Koo. Note that the title of the book is saying hello to the panda and is not saying the name of the poetry form (Hi space Koo). I love the character of Koo and how each of the poems uses the poetry form to weave in the alphabet, the seasons, and the adventures of Koo and his friends. But if these great books are not enough, then there are other great books which explore Haiku and use the form to tell all kinds of interesting stories. A great example of this is Lee Wardlaw’s book Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. This book of connected Haiku poems tells the story of a cat from the time it is adopted at the shelter until it settles into its new home. This book shows Haiku at its best as each poem keeps the form intact and all connect together to tell the whole story. Another very innovative application of Haiku is Chris Crowe’s novel Death Coming up the Hill. This book in verse is constrained by syllable count as the main character Ashe recounts his perceptions of the Vietnam War not only by writing Haiku, but also dedicating one syllable to each of the soldiers killed in the deadliest year of the war. The book contains 976 Haiku with 16,592 syllables—the number of soldiers killed in Vietnam in 1968. If our chat here atWorlds Awaiting has made you eager to look for a little bit of poetry to spice up your day, you may want to take the time to check out these and other great books filled with Haiku.


Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Peter Reynolds.  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2010.


Hi Koo! by Jon J. Muth. Scholastic, 2014.


Won-Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.  Henry Holt and Co., 2011.


Won-Ton and Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku, by Lee Wardlaw, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin.  Henry Holt and Co., 2015.


Death Coming up the Hill by Chris Crowe. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, 2014.


By Rachel Wadham, Host of WORLDS AWAITING


At Worlds Awaiting we discuss a wide range of information aimed at supporting adults who want to build literacy skills in their children.   We understand that there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to children’s development, so the information we provide is intended to reach a wide audience. The books and other resources we recommend will also naturally cover a wide range of interests and subject matter that addresses a range of maturity, reading, and comprehension levels.  Since no one understands a child’s needs better than their caretakers, we encourage families to critically select the books and resources that meet their own individual needs and standards.

Comments are closed

© 2019 BYU Broadcasting. All Rights Reserved. A Service of Brigham Young University.