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Children's Poetry
Poet Study: Karla Kuskin
Poet Study: Karla Kuskin
Karla's Poems (two favorites)
More Poems by Karla
More Kuskin Poems
Even More Kuskin Poems
Kuskin Bibliography
Kuskin References (& more)
Poetry Breaks - Module 1
Poetry Break # 1
Poetry Break # 2
Poetry Break # 3
Poetry Breaks: #4, #5
Module 2
Poetry Break # 6
Poetry Break # 7
Poetry Break: #8
Poetry Break # 9
Poetry Break # 10
Module 3
Poetry Break # 11
Poetry Break # 12
Poetry Break # 13
Poetry Break # 14
Poetry Break # 15
Module 4
Poetry Break # 16
Poetry Break # 17
Poetry Break # 18
Poetry Break # 19
Poetry Break # 20
Module 5
Poetry Break # 21
Poetry Break # 22
Poetry Break # 23
Poetry Break # 24
Poetry Break # 25
Module 6
Poetry Break # 26
Poetry Break # 27
Poetry Break # 28
Poetry Break # 29
Poetry Break # 30
Bibliography (1)
Bibliography (2)
Karla Kuskin

Ten Interesting Things about Karla Kuskin


  • Karla Kuskin, an only child, was born in New York City in 1932. She began writing poetry at a young age. Her parents and teachers fostered her love of poetry by reading poetry to her, listening with enthusiasm when she read aloud, and encouraging her to write.


  • In third grade, the Kuskin family moved across the street from a library, and every week Karla took out "piles of books."  The poet says, "I think that I write books because I loved reading them so much as a child.  I loved drawing, too. Many of my feelings and ideas come from my childhood" (


  • While a student at Yale University majoring in graphic arts, Karla wrote, illustrated, and printed a childrens book as part of a student project. The book, Roar and More, was published in 1956 and earned good reviews from children and critics.


  • After college, Karla worked as a fashion photographer but was not good at it. She also worked on a magazine and at her father's small advertising agency.  She did not find these jobs satisfying.


  • Around this time, Karla wrote and illustrated another childrens book called James and the Rain.  She wrote it on a typewriter in the backseat of her car during a rain storm while her husband at the time, an oboe player, was practicing with others inside!  Seeing this book in print helped Karla decide to write and illustrate full-time.


  • Karla has written more than 50 childrens books of poetry and prose and has illustrated many of these.  Her titles include The Philharmonic Gets Dressed, Soap Soup, and Any Me I Want to BeShe usually writes first and illustrates later.  Much of her work is based on personal experiences.


  • In 1979 Karla won the National Council of Teachers of English  (NCTE) Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She has also won many other honors and awards including an American Library Association Award in 1980 for her poetry book, Dogs & Dragons, Trees & Dreams.


  • Karla has two grown children, Nick and Julia; both work as professional photographers. She also has two grandchildren, Madeline and Ameia, who live abroad with their parents.


  • Karla has been married to her second husband, William L. Bell, since 1989. She divides her time between three residences: one in Brooklyn, N.Y., one in Arlington, Virginia, and one in Bainbridge Island, Washington. Karla says, "Every couple of weeks I pack up whatever I'm working on and fly or take the train from one desk to another.  I go back and forth in my work, too, from poetry to prose, and from writing to illustrating" (


  • Karla visits many schools to teach children how to write their own poetry. She teaches a different approach from the one she personally uses. "When I write I rhyme... But when children write, I try to discourage them from rhyming because it's such a hurdle.  It freezes all the originality they have."


 (References for information above are found on the Kuskin Reference page).