By Tiffany, Mattawa Library
Happy World Poetry Day!
Would you like a new reading experience where the story moves quickly, with more space on the page, smaller groups of words and a variety of artistic rhymes and rhythms to keep the story interesting? Then you might be ready for a novel in verse! When a novel length story is written as a poem rather than as sentences and paragraphs, it is considered a novel in verse. Often authors will also incorporate other poetic styles into the story, making novels in verse a great introduction to all kinds of poetry. Believe it or not there are hundreds of novels written this way for kids, teens and adults. If you haven’t tried one, choose one of these favorites to start with! You might just love it!
Middle Grade Novels in Verse
Rez Dogs by Joseph Bruchac is a novel in verse inspired by the oral storytelling tradition of many Native American cultures. A well-known Indigenous author, Joseph Bruchac uses the short broken lines of “prose poetry” to tell the story. Set during the COVID-19 pandemic, the story shares the experience of a young Wabanaki girl as she quarantines with her grandparents at their reservation home and finds a dog that becomes her friend.
Booked by Kwame Alexander (eaudiobook) gives voice to a soccer obsessed tween boy named Nick as he copes with friends, family, school and sports. Cheered on by a librarian who loves rap and feeds him new ways of reading, Nick learns about the power of words. This novel in verse features repeating rhythm and sounds as well as “blackout poetry” which appears several times within the story.
The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling is a survival adventure that begins with regular written prose, then switches to a variety of types of verse. Especially noteworthy are “concrete” poems like the one you see here from Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll where the poem takes the shape of a mouse’s tail. The words in Canyon’s Edge form jagged ledges and canyons on the page.
Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry (eaudiobook) explores a variety of poetic styles including prose poetry, concrete poetry, “acrostic poetry” (where the beginning letter of each line spells a word), and even Japanese “Haiku”. The novel introduces a middle school character with Tourette’s syndrome, which the author also has.