A trio of novels in verse

image of girl with black hair and glasses in jean jacket giving thumbs up inside green circle. box underneath reads Miss Mahee's Booklist. light blue background around white.
Booklists for you

Hi everyone, this booklist post this week has a short selection of reviews for your tastes. I hope you enjoy these reads and each one has something quite unique to it…

cover image of house at night with lights shining through. shooting stars in sky and musical notes running along power lines. yellow letters at top reads Garvey's choice.
A poignant read

Garvey’s choice by Nikki Grimes was a wistful read. Garvey is a bookworm, an inventor of jokes, a loyal friend. He loves music, math, and learning about outer space. But his dad wants Garvey to be a jock. Now his taunting and teasing classmates – with the exception of Garvey’s best (and only) friend, Joe – can’t see who he really is either. Garvey has an important choice to make, one that could be the key to getting people – including his father – to see and accept the real Garvey. Told in a form of ancient poetry; “tanka” originally from Japan, this story sounds melodic and wistful. Each word describes the mood of Garvey as he makes the choice to get fitter and be someone his father is proud of. This is a beautiful little story on acceptance, tolerance, bullying and choices!! I would recommend this for older readers who can grasp these concepts.

Other words for home blue letters on image of young Arabian girl with headscarf facing right Jasmine Warga in orange at top tendrils of leaves in white around her image of houses underneath
A lyrical read

Other words for home by Jasmine Warga is a lovely read about a courageous young girl. Jude never thought she’d be leaving her beloved older brother and father behind, all the way across the ocean in Syria. But when things in her hometown start becoming volatile, Jude and her mother are sent to live in Cincinnati with relatives. At first, everything in America seems too fast and too loud. The American movies that Jude has always loved haven’t quite prepared her for starting school in the US – and her new label of “Middle Eastern”, an identity she’s never known before. But this life also brings unexpected surprises – there are new friends, a whole new family, and a school musical that Jude might just try out for. Maybe America, too, is a place where Jude can be seen as she really is. Told entirely in free verse, Warga has brought to life young Jude’s story. We see her fears, hopes and dreams along with her struggles with both her own identity and the way other people see her. My heart felt heavy as I read this because I know that thousands of people don’t make it to safety like Jude and her mother. I truly loved the description of classroom scenes and friendships Jude forms. This is an excellent story for today’s world!!

cover image has hand-drawn images of group of kids. at bottom group of buildings in light blue. white background. white letters across field at bottom reads The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary.
An illuminating read

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary by Laura Shovan is a unique story. Laura Shovan’s engaging novel is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. Families change and new friendships form as eighteen terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical, big-hearted debut about finding your voice and making sure others hear it. Told entirely in verse, this novel takes us into the loves of 18 unique and distinct kids and the year that transformed their lives. Bringing up all kinds of issues from bullying, loss of parent or grandparent, divorce to loyalty, friendship and family. What I found fascinating was that each person’s unique voice shone through the different poems they used; the language, the vocabulary and the meter, all gave us an image of that person and helped us see them. A fascinating story especially as a debut novel!! Forms of poetry used here: Acrostic, Concrete poem, Diamante, Epistolary poem, Fib (Fibonacci Poem), Found Poem, Free Verse, Haiku, Limerick, List Poem, Narrative Poem, Ode, Rap Poem, Rhyming poem, Seurya, Sonnet, Tanka.

You could say what gaps there were in my poetry education were filled with these stories. I had no idea that there were so many different forms for poetry and reveled in all that this story taught me. 

I hope you all liked these reads!! If you know of other titles written in different forms of poetry I’d love to hear from you.

Stay safe and keep reading

Miss Mahee

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