Novels in Verse for Kids

This month, I’ve found that a great way to introduce poetry to the reluctant poetry reader is through novels in verse.

With this confession…

I actually had not read a children’s fiction novel in verse until more recently when I read the National Book Award Winner and Newbery Honor Medalist, Inside Out & Back Again. My co-worker, who also shares a fondness for novels in verse, has turned me on to titles ever since. And with the end of National Poetry Month in plain view, I thought I’d share my top novels in verse picks for kids:

For readers age 8 and up:

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Winner of the 2012 National Book Award and a 2012 Newbery Honor Medalist and my gateway into reading novels in verse. I adore this book and I think it would be a great book for teachers to add to their curriculum for  3rd/4th grade classrooms.

Love That Dog and Hate That Cat and Heartbeat by Sharon Creech

A huge fan of Walter Dean Myers, naturally I Love That Dog. I also think Love that Dog and the follow-up title Hate that Cat are great picks for boys hesitant or maybe even embarrassed to read poetry.

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

Won the Newbery Medal in 1998 and is a favorite of my fellow librarian co-worker (children’s librarian for 20+ years.. She knows what she’s talking about!).

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg

A William Allen White nominee 2011-2012 and ALA best book for Young Adults. Has been a popular book among the boys 10 and up at the library.

The Dancing Pancake and Summerhouse Time by Eileen Spinelli

I found Eileen Spinelli’s novels in verse very sweet. Definitely something I would have enjoyed reading as a girl. Looking forward to recommending them this summer.

May B. by Caroline Starr Rose

Really enjoyed reading this book a couple months ago, especially because it takes place in Kansas. Also, think it would be a great nominee for the 2013 Schneider Award.

For readers a little older (ages 13 and up):

New Found Land and his latest The Watch that Ends the Night by Allan Wolf

New Found Land is a lyrical account of the Lewis and Clark expeditions and The Watch that Ends the Night is inspired by passengers of the Titanic. Good for the middle school/high schooler that enjoys historical fiction.

Under the Mesquite by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Winner of the 2012 Pura Belpre Award and 2012 William C. Morris Finalist, Under the Mesquite is an elegant, emotional read about a family, specifically a daughter coping with her mother’s cancer.

image sources: inside out and back again, love that dog, out of the dust, all the broken pieces, the dancing pancakemay b, new found land, under the mesquite


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