Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Book Reviews | Books in Verse

As I've mentioned before, I'm not much of a poetry reader, but I'm often pleasantly surprised by stories that are written in verse (as opposed to a book of poems). This year I've read a couple of great books written in verse. Both of these small books are geared toward older children and tweens, but can be enjoyed by teens and adults as well.

Here's a little of each book's description. I highly recommend both of these books!

Garvey's Choice is an emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrating choosing to be true to yourself. Garvey's father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey's life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. 

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry
 tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.  Based on the lives of soldiers at Pearl Harbor and civilians in Hiroshima, On the Horizon contemplates humanity and war through verse that sings with pain, truth, and the importance of bridging cultural divides. This masterful work emphasizes empathy and understanding in search of commonality and friendship, vital lessons for students as well as citizens of today’s world. Kenard Pak’s stunning illustrations depict real-life people, places, and events, making for an incredibly vivid return to our collective past.

I'm a huge fan of Lois Lowry and her personal reflections on World War II are so well-written. She actually lived in Hawaii before and during the time Pearl Harbor was attacked, then in Tokyo after the war. In the 1980s, she was watching a VHS tape (made from an old family movie reel) of herself playing at the beach with her grandmother. A friend watching with her noticed the USS Arizona passing through the mist in the background. You can read more about her inspiration for the book and see some additional pages HERE.

Have you read any good books written in verse lately? Please share them in the comments.


  1. I don't think I've ever read a book written in verse (unless you count a child's picture book) - maybe I should.

  2. Like you, I'm a huge fan of Lois Lowry, and was unaware of this book. I'll be searching it out now that we have curbside pickup available at the library,


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