“I am tempted to say that there is not such thing as poetry for children. There is plenty of poetry about children; and some of the best poetry ever written is about childhood; at some time or other most poets explore that inviting furrow – their own childhood and growing up. A great body of the so-called canon of children’s verse was never intended for the young at all, but was verse with adults thought suitable for children. The gatekeepers of the canon are the anthologists.
Of course, poets have written specifically for children, some choosing to divide their time between different audiences; other specialising in juvenile poetry. The latter group has, however, been marginalised by influential editors of the past and present (…).
Poems by Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Tennyson, who never wrote for children, have been collected more frequently in prestigious anthologies of the last hundred years than work by Stevenson Lear or Rossetti. Look at distinguished anthologies of the nineteenth and twentieth century and consider the omissions. Where are the poets writing for children? Where are the women? Most anthologies of the past and present are testimonies to the preferences or elite group of academically educated men. Poetry by women, working-class people, ethnic minorities and those who specialise in writing for the young are often treated as second class. A large body of the poetry actually favoured by children (so the evidence would suggested) ha been ignores by anthologists. The tension between the improving instincts of adults and what children choose to read is nowhere more keenly demonstrated than in the anthologising of verse for the young”.
Styles, Morag, “Poetry for Children”, en Hunt, Peter, International Companion Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature, Oxon, Routledge, 1996 (190)