April is National Poetry Month. Though it’s unclear who designates these things, any chance to celebrate words with the offspring is worthwhile. “Even if kids don’t entirely understand a poem like ‘Jabberwocky,’ it’s good to expose them early because it helps with the development of language skills,” says Mike Romanos of Poets House, a literary center and poetry archive that hosts children’s events at the New York Public Library and the Children’s Museum of the Arts. Expect all sorts of poetry-linked events and products coming out of the woodwork this month. For a perfect example, turn on HBO Family on April 12 at 6 p.m. for the latest Classical Baby offering: “The Poetry Show,” in which Gwyneth Paltrow, Andy Garcia, Jeffrey Wright, and Susan Sarandon read famous poems to go with the animation. Meanwhile, the New York Public Library celebrates with three poetry events this week alone. Bring toddlers to 4-year-olds to the Mulberry Street Branch, where Annie Wright (James’s widow) will read her favorite poems. “What’s amazing with our regulars is they will remember and recite from one week to the next,” says Romanos. Five- to 12-year-olds can help compose a collaborative poem and learn how Caldecott and Newbery winner Nancy Willard created the characters for her book, A Visit to William Blake’s Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers. Kids of all ages are welcome at a “Shel-ebration” of Shel Silverstein’s poetry at the Central Children’s Room. Brooklyn’s Astrograss performs as children enjoy crafts, contests, and refreshments. On the way home, compose a family haiku about the experience.
Mulberry Street Branch Library, 10 Jersey St., nr. Mulberry St. (212-966-3424). Central Children’s Room, Donnell Library Center, second fl., 20 W. 53rd St., nr. Fifth Ave. (212-621-0636 or nypl.org); all events are free.