Monday, April 25, 2016

Novels in Verse

Since it is still National Poetry Month is about to come to an end and I've already blogged about my favorite recently published poetry books for children, I thought I should also include books that I have really enjoyed that have been written in verse.  Never heard of novels written in verse?  They are a type of narrative in which a novel-length narrative is told through poetry rather than through prose.  These books can be simply written or have complex stanzas.  Some books will have just one narrator and some will have multiple voices with dialogue and narration.

If you have a elementary or middle school student at home who struggles with reading, these books are perfect choices to give them as they will feel like accomplished readers going through lengthily paged books just like their peers.  The extra white space on each page and the spacing between lines will reward the reader with a positive reading experience.  I especially like to recommend these books to readers who have a short turn-around time to get a reading assignment and book report done for school as these books still carry a lot of punch.

Bat 6 by Virginia Euwer Wolf
In small town, post-World War Oregon, twenty-one 6th grade girls recount the story of an annual softball game, during which one girl's prejudices comes to the surface.  I highly recommend listening to this on audio as listeners can pick up on the multiple voices, views of point, and the personalities of each character.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (Juvenile Biography & Young Adult Biography)
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Jacqueline Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960's and 1970's, living with the remnants of Jim Crow laws and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line is a glimpse into her own soul as as a child as she searches for her place in the world.  Plus it is a 2015 Newbery Honor Book and a National Book Award Winner for young people.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
This is the story about fourteen-year-old African-American twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan.  They wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their retired professional basketball player father ignores his declining health.  I just LOVE this book and very pleased that it won the 2015 Newbery Medal.  It makes for an entertaining, yet emotional read.  I highly recommend this one!!! Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamara Wissinger
Nine-year-old Sam loves fishing with his dad. But when his pesky little sister horns in on their fishing trip, he is none too pleased. This book is told in many different types of poems from Sam and his sister's point of view, making it a fun read, especially for transitional readers.  It also includes a primer at the back of the book on rhyme, poetry techniques, rhythm, stanzas, and poetic forms.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
A young Vietnamese girl chronicles her life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam, travel to the United States, and start a new life in Alabama.  A Newbery Honor Book and National Book Award Winner for Young People.

Like Pickle Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg
When nine-year-old Eleanor's beloved babysitter Bibi moves away to care for her ailing father, Eleanor must spend the summer adjusting to a new babysitter while mourning the loss of her old one. This book will serve as a good title to share with children who must say good-bye to a favorite babysitter.

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Jack DOES NOT like poetry.  In fact, he doesn't want to write a poem for his class assignment.  But then he comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him.  Then he surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of The Great Depression.  This won the 1998 Newbery Award.

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March 
by Lynda Blackman Lowery (Young Adult Non-Fiction)
This 50th-anniversary tribute shares the story of the youngest person to complete the momentous Selma to Montgomery March, describing her frequent imprisonments for her participation in nonviolent demonstrations and how she felt about her involvement in historic Civil Rights events, all while she turned 15 years old during the march.

Witness by Karen Hesse
A series of poems express the views of various people in a small Vermont town, including a young black girl and a young Jewish girl, during the early 1920's when the Ku Klux Klan is trying to infiltrate the town.  I also highly recommend listening to this on audio as listeners can pick up on the multiple voices, views of point, and the personalities of each character during this haunting time in U.S. history.

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