You are here

Back to top

Poetry Contest

April is National Poetry Month!

Celebrate poetry by entering The Children’s Book Shop Annual Poetry Contest! Throughout the month of April we collect poetry entries from children in grades K-8. At the beginning of June we announce the winners and honors in each category, display their poems in our window, and hold a ceremony to celebrate their writing achievements. 

Congratulations to all the Winners and Honors in our 2021 Poetry Contest!

2021 marked our 25th annual poetry contest! Since we still weren’t able to host our traditional ceremony honoring this year's poets, we asked the poets to submit videos of them reading their poems so that we could celebrate their accomplishments with a virtual ceremony. The winning poems and the names of all the poets were also featured in the Brookline TAB

To view the 2021 poems, please click on the title of the poem.


Winner: Poem by Natalie Lieberman  
Honor: Rat Tat Dan by Sophie Stahl 

Grades 1 and 2

Winner: My Sister by Josie Gunn-O'Neill 
Bee by Annie Harsha 
Squirrel by Micah Hugenberger 
Sticky note by Oliver Kempinski 
Summer in Ukraine by Julia Rudy
The Feather by Skylar Shore 

Grades 3 and 4

Winner: Spring by Aanya Raut 
Roller Coaster Syndrome by Hazel Harmon 
New Shoes by Daniel Kahn 
What Goes With What by Maya Leuner 
My Grandma by Morielle Strapp 

Grades 5 and 6

Winner: Skipping Over the Lake by Liza Scott 
Disruption at the Round Table by Sonya Finkel 
Welcome Basketball by Eitan Friedman 
Poem by Ellinor Johnsson
Poem by Margot Martin-Wilson
Pickle by Galia Wachman 

Grades 7 and 8

Winner: My Heritage by Maya Gewurz 
Poem by Devin Chin 
Life Isn’t Fair by Dynasia Evans-Goode 
Dreams by Sasha Harwin
Poem by Andrew Kaczmarek 
Poem by Maya Rubenstein

Kindergarten Winner: 

Poem by Natalie Lieberman 

The sun heats me. 
The wind makes me cool. 
The air is nice and cool. 
I hear a bird tweeting. 
The trees are swaying in the wind. 
The buds are budding on the trees.

Kindergarten Honor: 

Rat Tat Dan by Sophie Stahl

Daddy is a big guy
rat tat dan
Daddy is big man
rat tat dan.

Mama is a big woman
rat tat dan
Mama is a big person
rat tat dan.

My brother is a little boy
rat tat dan
My brother is a 3 year old
rat tat dan.

I am a big girl
rat tat dan
I am a 5 year old
rat tat dan.

Grades 1 and 2 Winner: 

My Sister by Josie Gunn-O'Neill

My sister
to make me happy
to be a panda bear
when I'm sad
It's made me happy
since I was two
and it will
until I die

Grades 1 and 2 Honor:

Bee by Annie Harsha

You zip around
on your little wings
Made entirely
Out of dew drops.
From Flower
to flower
You Fly.
Like a little
of sunshine
Watching over
the flowers
The trees
The animals
The plants
and taking care
of the whole

Grades 1 and 2 Honor:

Squirrel by Micah Hugenberger

The squirrel
the old
unstable fence
for it never
to fall off
its tail
behind it
a rumbling
of fur

Grades 1 and 2 Honor:

Sticky note by Oliver Kempinski

The plain piece of paper.
Might not seem a lot
But how marvelous you are! 
The satisfying crunch
You amazing
little colored square
Keeper of my thoughts
And jots
You brilliant little sticky note
I’d be lost without you! 

Grades 1 and 2 Honor:

Summer in Ukraine by Julia Rudy

In my grandma's house
I step outside on the porch
with the grass,
the chickens and the sun
putting my slippers on
and running
playing with my cousins
flying through the wind
around the house
on the soft grass
my neighbor next door
comes to play with me
but then I go on a walk
in the woods
looking for mushrooms
picking them from the ground
as we make our way
to the berries and apples
we climb to the top of a mountain
and see everything
the sky
the wind
our house
in Ukraine

Grades 1 and 2 Honor:

The Feather by Skylar Shore

Light and delicate
Once soared, said to me, fly high
Fly high in the sky

Grades 3 and 4 Winner: 

Spring by Aanya Raut


Spring is an ​eruption ​of ​co​​l​ors​, any color you could imagine, like ​p​a​in​t​ oozing from the ground. 
Flowers burst,  and ​pollen ​floats through the sweet fresh air. 
Birds chirp, and insects buzz. 
​B​ees circle in the wind, releasing pollen as they spin, creating a new season to begin!

​                                              P

Grades 3 and 4 Honor: 

Roller Coaster Syndrome by Hazel Harmon

All up 
All down 
All spin 
Round and round 
Tummy's turning 
Hairs whipping 
Everything is flip flip flipping 
Your heart beats 
Your stomach jumps to your throat 
Like a little boy on a trampoline 
It's all Roller Coaster Syndrome

Grades 3 and 4 Honor: 

New Shoes* by Daniel Kahn

When I got my new shoes 
free Black men and women walked as they’d like, 
but not me. 
I asked Richard Allen to make my shoes 
for running away 
into a new life, 
He does as I ask.
I have a few questions before the trip of my life.
I’ve envied all the free Blacks, 
I want to be one of them. 
For the first time I don’t think about Martha 
but about what I want.
I took my pocket change and gave it to Richard Allen. 
The shoes smell great, 
they smell like freedom, 
a sight of freedom, too.
I make the decision of my life --

I will be a free person no matter what.  

*Note: Ona Judge was enslaved by George and Martha Washington. She ran away. This poem is told from her perspective.

Grades 3 and 4 Honor: 

What Goes With What? by Maya Leuner

Fish and sea
Cookies and tea

Mouth and a talk
Black board and chalk

Beach and chair
Teacher and stare

Puppies and dog
Squeal and fall

Snow and sled
Sleep and bed

Water and cup
Jump and up

Night and fight
Good and a night

Grades 3 and 4 Honor:

My Grandma by Morielle Strapp

Here she is! 
Her arms tightly around me,
Making me feel loved. 
Wearing a blue necklace, 
A shining wedding ring sparkles on her finger. 
She is so much more than just a grandma.
She is as giving as a tree, 
as magical as 
A butterfly, and 
as fun as a puppy. 
Her smile shines brightly and it’s
Glimmering in the sun. 

She will always be my sweet grandma.

Grades 5 and 6 Winner: 

Skipping Over the Lake by Liza Scott 

The rippling waves
Brilliant blue with just a hint of green
A table to skip
One, two, three
It jumps across the surface
Flying and falling
Out into the perfectly calm
The smooth pebble walks across the lake
And it drops
Like a speaker
Booming circles
The ragged rock finds a place in
The glassy sea far beyond

Grades 5 and 6 Honor: 

Disruption at The Round Table by Sonya Finkel  

Screaming, shouting, feral beasts
honest man sits in silence
Sick with grief
Wife, trapped
Fire nipped at her feet
Waterfalls streamed from his eyes
five mysterious men rode
Fighting the crowd, queen was rescued
sixth man, her lover
wave of relief washed,
over the honest king
queen was safe

Grades 5 and 6 Honor: 

Welcome Basketball by Eitan Friedman 

No boisterous black stage for me
a shiny sweaty basketball court
is the heavenly place to be
mousy squeaking of nifty Nikes
bouncing booming thunder of the ball
on the dense wood
shots flying through the air like arrows
rolling round the rim
sinking like a knife through butter
closing countdown begins
buzzer buzzes
like a thousand angry bees
explosion of entangled emotions.

Grades 5 and 6 Honor: 

Poem by Ellinor Johnsson

Moon shines
Outside of my window
Bare Branches
Rustle in the Cold hearted
I listen for sound
But hear silence
Calm Silence
Sad silence
Happy silence
It is the listener
Who hears silence
Who chooses
What the silence is
Calm silence
Sad silence
Happy silence

Grades 5 and 6 Honor: 

Poem by Margot Martin-Wilson

The water's freezing
Burning hot sand, warm bare feet
Salty car ride home

Grades 5 and 6 Honor: 

Pickle by Galia Wachman 

I open the frosty metallic gray fridge
Grab a cold pickle
The size of a watermelon
Sticky juice trickling down my fingers
Electrified, energised 
Last bite
With a savory, salty, and sour taste
Left in my mouth

Grades 7 and 8 Winner: 

My Heritage by Maya Gewurz

I’ve escaped the catastrophic holocaust,
I’ve spoken the spanish of Spain.
I’ve taken the Queen Mary from England to Ellis Island,
I’ve settled in the midwestern plains.

I’ve crossed the Carpathian Mountains,
The lands of Romania and Ukraine.
I’ve taken a boat across the Atlantic,
And settled in Saint Louis to remain.

I’ve roamed the streets of New York,
And embraced the city of brotherly love.
I’ve taken a train up north to Johnstown,
And woken in Chicago to the sound of the mourning dove.

I’ve ended up in Brookline,
With all of these stories throughout.
Where my life will take me next?
As for that, I'll have to find out.

Grades 7 and 8 Honor: 

Poem by Devin Chin

In two decades’ time, I hope to be free
With friends, happy family, and security
Or even a trailer, one homely and red
Some food on the table, roof above my head
And if I was truly hoping to dream
I’d want to have the world, and a head full of steam
With anything I wanted in the palm of my hand
And money numerous and worthless as sand

In twenty years, I’d just like a place to rest my head
And to not be dead.

Grades 7 and 8 Honor: 

Life Isn’t Fair by Dynasia Evans-Goode

One time when I was a little kid
I was always told that life isn’t fair
I never knew what that meant
Until one day when I was dancing, age 10
The feeling of everyone staring at me 
Because I’m different.
There was always that one teacher 
That wouldn’t let the black kids do certain dances 
Because of their skin color
I didn’t know why 
She would always take me out 
I remember the feeling of sitting there and thinking to myself
While all the other white kids are dancing and stepping on the floor
Mirrors everywhere and music playing 
But then I thought again
I was always told that life isn’t fair.

Grades 7 and 8 Honor: 

Dreams by Sasha Harwin

Where do we go when we fall asleep?
Into the depths of our minds,
In our nice warm beds,
A place where we can be anything, 
Without responsibilities,
Where we can fly fast falling,
From one thought to another,
But like everything, 
Dreams come with a price,
And nightmares can creep into our subconscious,
Where we’re silent, though we try to scream,  
Or witnessing the worst, from an enemy,
But the good thing about dreams, is they all come to an end,
When we open our eyes in the early light,
Groggy from our nighttime travels, 
Trapped in a cocoon of warmth,
Knowing that tomorrow, 
The question repeats:
Where do we go when we fall asleep?

Grades 7 and 8 Honor: 

Poem by Andrew Kaczmarek 

If we must live,
Let us not be like a hibernating bear, sitting in a cave.
Let us rejoice, like a choir in a church,
Let us do what we think is right,
And condemn what is wrong.
We must do what we can,
To be kind and caring with others, like a mother to her children.
And if we get angry, like a raging hurricane inside our head, 
Let us weather that storm by apologizing in the aftermath,
To those we may have hurt. 
We must strive for greatness,
But also be able to accept failure, like a climber falling off the wall. 
Let us try to make the world a better place,
To those coming after us. 
We must be the workers backstage, setting the stage for the future. 
If we must live.

Grades 7 and 8 Honor: 

Poem by Maya Rubenstein

I know the slow life
Not much to do
So I lay around 
In my room
Unaccomplished, lazy, sad.

It wasn’t always like this
I used to be quite busy
I used to work,
I used to try
But now I just don’t care.

It’s all I've known
For a year
Too much time 
The park, the school, the pool
That's it.

I want it back,
The busy life
But I can’t.
Because the busy life 
Is just another thing
The virus has grabbed
And won’t give back.