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7 Moving Middle School Poetry Picks

Enter for a chance to win a 2023 Poetry Bundle for National Poetry Month.

This collection is perfect for more sophisticated young readers who love to dive deeply into beautiful, touching, sometimes painful, sometimes joyful stories. Wordsong, an imprint of Astra Books for Young Readers, has picture books for kids at every age & every stage!

Catching a Storyfish

This lyrical middle-grade novel-in-verse celebrates the power of story and of finding one’s individual voice.

Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
Winner of the Paterson Prize for Books for Young People
Arnold Adoff Poetry Honor Award
A Cooperative Children’s Book Center Choices Selection

Garvey’s Choice: The Graphic Novel

Award-winning author Nikki Grimes’s beloved novel in verse, Garvey’s Choice, is now a graphic novel, imaginatively and dramatically illustrated by Little Shaq artist Theodore Taylor III.

The original edition of Garvey’s Choice was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.

Voices from the March on Washington

The powerful poems in this poignant collection weave together multiple voices to tell the story of the March on Washington, DC, in 1963.

★“Through over 70 largely first-person poems, the poets rekindle the spirit of the fight for racial equality in the United States with imagined voices of young and old, black and white, educated and underprivileged, supporters and detractors and drive home the volume’s theme of taking personal responsibility in helping this country ‘steer toward justice together.’ . . .” — Kirkus Reviews, starred

Words with Wings

In this Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book, Children’s Literature Legacy Award-winner Nikki Grimes explores though her celebrated poetry how a supportive teacher can be the key to unlocking a dreamer’s imaginative power through creative writing.

Coretta Scott King Author Honor book
NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the English Language Arts
Kirkus Reviews Best Book

Garvey in the Dark

Winner, 2023 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Garvey, a beloved character, Nikki Grimes’s newest novel in verse shows readers how to find hope in difficult times.

Becoming Billie Holiday

Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award

The stunning voice and hard life of legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday is revealed through evocative, accessible poetry.

★ “The poetry is rich and evocative. . . . A remarkable tribute well worthy of its subject.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir

In her own voice, acclaimed author and poet Nikki Grimes explores the truth of a harrowing childhood in a compelling and moving memoir in verse.

Michael L. Printz Honor Book
Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book
Boston Globe/Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book
Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for Teens

Six Starred Reviews—★Booklist ★BCCB ★The Horn Book ★Publishers Weekly ★School Library Connection ★Shelf Awareness