Review of Enchanted Air

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Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle Middle School   Atheneum   195 pp. 8/15   978-1-4814-3522-2   $17.99   g e-book ed. 978-1-4814-3524-6   $10.99 Well known for her portrayals of historic Cubans in verse novels such as The Surrender Tree (rev. 7/08) and The Poet Slave of Cuba (rev. 7/06), Engle explores her own past […]

Field Notes: “This Is Too Much!” Why Verse Novels Work for Reluctant Readers

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Novels in verse have earned their place in the mainstream of children’s and young adult literature — Exhibit A: Kwame Alexander’s The Crossover winning the Newbery Medal — and this is good news for reluctant readers, especially reluctant middle-grade and middle-school readers. Compared to a conventional novel, a novel in verse has perhaps half the […]

Review of Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling

frank_two girls staring at the ceiling

Two Girls Staring at the Ceiling by Lucy Frank Middle School, High School    Schwartz & Wade/Random    261 pp. 8/14    978-0-307-97974-2    $16.99 Library ed.  978-0-307-97975-9    $19.99    g e-book ed.  978-0-307-97976-6    $9.99 A high-strung teenager faces the emotional consequences of chronic illness in this poignant novel in verse. Narrator Francesca is having a magical night with a […]

Review of Dust of Eden

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Dust of Eden by Mariko Nagai Intermediate, Middle School    Whitman    122 pp. 3/14    978-0-8075-1739-0    $16.99 In this verse novel, we first meet Mina Tagawa and her Seattle-based family just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Shortly after, her father is imprisoned, and the rest of the family — Mina, her mother, grandfather, and older brother […]

Notable novels in verse

grimes_words with wings

After highlighting a variety of poetry picture books in the April issue of Notes from the Horn Book and March issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book, we wanted to feature some of the notable novels in verse from the last year before National Poetry Month 2014 comes to a close. Intermediate After Gabby’s […]

Review of Caminar

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Caminar by Skila Brown Middle School    Candlewick    200 pp. 3/14    978-0-7636-6516-6    $15.99 “Forest sounds / all around / but on the ground / the sound / of Me / grew. Echoed. / I heard a path I could not see.” Exquisitely crafted poems are the basis of an unusually fine verse novel set in 1981, in […]

New verse narrative recommendations

Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engle

In honor of National Poetry Month and Poem in Your Pocket Day, we’ve put together a booklist of verse narratives across audience age and genre. Want a historical fiction verse novel or a picture book in poems? Look no further. These books were all published in the last few years and recommended by The Horn […]

Verse narratives

Hurricane Dancers by Margarita Engle

The books recommended below were published within the last several years. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.   PICTURE BOOKS Suggested grade level for all entries: K-3 The Great Migration: Journey to the North written by Eloise Greenfield; illus. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist (HarperCollins/Amistad) Poignant poems (accompanied by collage […]