Haiku Poetry for Upper Elementary

Teaching haiku poetry is so much fun in the upper elementary grades! Kids this age seem to enjoy the process and their creativity really shines through in this poetry form too!

If you’re new to teaching haiku, it’s an ancient Japanese form of poetry with three lines. Each line has a specific number of syllables. Do make sure kids understand that these are syllables and not the number of words.

Line 1: 5 syllables

Line 2: 7 syllables

Line 3: 5 syllables

Also, haiku usually has some kind of nature theme, but not always.

Here are some of my favorite haiku books that you can use to introduce this poetry form to your students:

1. One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis

This book is beautifully illustrated and is a counting book with eleven poems. The poems feature a young girl who is exploring a Japanese garden.

2. Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth

This book has lots of haikus about each season and features a cute panda named Koo! I love the illustrations in this book too!

3. If it Rains Pancakes by Brian P. Cleary

This haiku book is filled with haikus which are very kids friendly! Not only are there traditional haikus like Daffodil, there are also haikus about pizzas and a karate-chopping pig named Betty!

4. Dogku by Andrew Clements

This book is definitely one of my favorites! It tells the story of a stray dog who is looking for a new family home…all told in haiku!

5. If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky

You may know Jack Prelutsky already, as a favorite children’s poet. In this book, Prelutsky has written seventeen riddles about all kinds of animals, using the haiku format.

6. Won Ton and Chopstick by Lee Wardlaw

This haiku book is a sequel to another fun haiku book by the same author, called Won Ton . It tells the story of what happens when a new pet (Chopstick, the dog) arrives in Won Ton’s home.

7. H is For Haiku by Sydell Rosenberg

I really like this haiku book, written by a former New York public school teacher. The poems are made up of small moments from everyday life. The modern graphics are a nice compliment to the poems too.


I wanted to share a haiku freebie with you. This two-page freebie has one page with directions and examples you can use to teach the haiku format. The second page is a writing page, so your students can create their own haikus. It comes in a printable version and also in a Google Slides version.


Click here to download your free haiku sample.

Want to read more about poetry for upper elementary kids?

If you’re looking for a few poetry books guaranteed to be fun for your upper elementary students, you might like this post: Poetry Books Kids Love.


Find out why teaching poetry is so important for students in this post: 8 Reasons to Teach Poetry in the Upper Elementary Classroom.

If you’re interested in a time-saving poetry resource that also includes drama and prose, you might like to take a look at my Elements of Poetry, Drama, and Prose unit for 3rd – 5th Grades.

It comes in both print AND digital and includes a flipbook with directions and examples for 9 different poems (including haiku), as well as passages and handouts. It now comes in a printable as well as a digital version for Google Classroom.

Elements of Poetry Drama and Prose


Want more digital resources?

These are interactive Elements of Poetry, Drama, and Prose reading units for Google Slides or PowerPoint.

Click here to take a look at each grade level, from 3rd – 5th:

3rd Grade

4th Grade

5th Grade


Do you have any other favorite haiku books for kids? If so, let me know in the comments!

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Hi, I’m Jenn! With 20 years of teaching in the classroom and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, my passion is to support teachers and their students by offering helpful teaching tips and quality resources. Thanks so much for joining me here!

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