Brown Girl Dreaming
Nancy Paulsen Books
Published August 28, 2014
Raised in South Carolina and New York, 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 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite … Continue reading
When You Never Said Goodbye
Available March 21, 2017
Through poetry and journal entries, Liz relates the story of her first year at NYU and her search for her birth mother. As she forms a circle of friends, she gradually shares with them the truth about her adoption and her search. She finds support and love from these friends and from her family, though each member of her family struggles with the search for different reasons. Liz won’t give up looking, even as one obstacle after another rises to meet her.
One of my favorite things about this story were all the references to literature and poetry contained … Continue reading
Loving vs. Virginia
Patricia Hruby Powell
Illustrations by Shadra Strickland
Available January 31, 2017
Summary from Goodreads
From acclaimed author Patricia Hruby Powell comes the story of a landmark civil rights case, told in spare and gorgeous verse. In 1955, in Caroline County, Virginia, amidst segregation and prejudice, injustice and cruelty, two teenagers fell in love. Their life together broke the law, but their determination would change it. Richard and Mildred Loving were at the heart of a Supreme Court case that legalized marriage between races, and a story of the devoted couple who faced discrimination, fought it, and won.
Somehow I missed the fact that this novel is told … Continue reading
One by Sarah Crossan
Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishing
Published: September 15, 2015
Grace and Tippy, Tippy and Grace.
It’s hard to tell where one ends and the other begins, even for Grace and her sister. One pair of legs carries them, their arms looped around on another for support. Born as conjoined twins, they’ve never been apart, and they never wish to be separated. When they’re forced to attend school for the first time after being homeschooled all their lives, Grace and Tippy predict the same ruthless gawking and cruelty from their classmates. Two friends open a doorway to a life far more normal than they ever expected possible. Then their health takes … Continue reading
Speak, Penguin Group
Lonnie Collins Motion learns to pour out memories and feelings in a poetry journal. He writes about the night his parents died. About his little sister, Lili. About his foster mom. About the teacher he admires who doesn’t understand what his life is really like. His story unfolds, poem by poem, packed with emotion and insight.
One of the most powerful things about a novel-in-poetry is the power of each line. The narrative has been distilled down to just a few words, yet it’s enough to paint a complete picture of what Lonnie sees and experiences. There are simply not enough stories like this one, both in its approach to storytelling and in the story itself. Lonnie is easy to love – his … Continue reading
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Published October 1, 2004
Crank is the story of Kristina Snow and the summer that changes her life, when she goes to visit her father and meets the “monster”, Crystal Meth. Based on the experiences of her own daughter, Ellen Hopkins captures the turmoil and grip of addiction in a raw, authentic manner.
The entire story is told in verse. The poems capture the scenes of the story in vivid detail. They flow from scene to scene very smoothly, capturing the raw emotion of the heroine– her desperation, heartache– and the downward spiral of her addiction to Meth. A powerful read.