It’s poetry month! One way to celebrate is with novels in verse. Whether your students love poetry or haven’t discovered a love for it yet, there is something for everyone on this list.
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
ZJ’s dad, a loving father and beloved professional tight end, is exhibiting signs that the football injuries he has sustained over the years have begun to have a profound effect on his mental, emotional, and physical health. It is poignant, with moments of tender joy and aching sadness, and feels extremely relevant.
Booked by Kwame Alexander
If you loved The Crossover, you’ll love this sequel in which Nick, age 12, must navigate his parents’ divorce, bullying, and crushes. Plus, there is a rapping librarian.
Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg
Serafina, age 11, lives in Haiti and dreams of being a doctor. This book is an example of what you get when you mix beautiful writing with a powerful message. Grit, determination, and resilience are on full display as she deals with family pressure, societal expectations, and natural disasters.
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
This book introduces us to Hà, who is forced to flee Vietnam in 1775. Readers will experience all the tumult she experiences in school and her community, as well as the comforting strength of family.
Little Dog, Lost by Marion Dane Bauer
This is an appropriate choice for our younger students. Buddy has to stay behind when her family moves away. She misses her boy and longs to play with someone. Mark longs for a dog, but his mom won’t let him have one. I bet you can guess the rest.
Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Teachers, students, and dog lovers will enjoy how this novel in verse unfolds in such a satisfying way that it’s just as good the second time you read it as it is the first.
Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech
This sequel to Love That Dog is just as funny and warmhearted. Jack continues to grow as a writer, and we may even learn a thing or two as his teacher expands our horizons with elements of poetry such as alliteration and onomatopoeia.
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
The power was out, and I read this in the cold and dark with a flashlight, which only added to the ambience of the book. There are a few swear words, but if you skip the book because of them, you’ll be missing out on an experience that is as beautiful as it is gritty. I loved the book when I read it, and I loved it even more when I listened to Jason read the audio version.
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
If you are looking for a book with a strong female character, look no further than Jude. She and her mother had to leave her father and brother behind in Syria to find safety with relatives in Cincinnati. Students will develop empathy and understanding, and teachers will appreciate how educators are represented.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This is especially meaningful to me because I grew up near the B&I, the shopping center where Ivan lived for so long, and I vividly remember visiting him as a child and feeling sorry for him in his concrete domain. It is part fantasy, part historical fiction, and a moving, beautifully written book.
Want even more? Check out this list on Goodreads.