Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My favorite verse novel

We are halfway through National Poetry month. Have you been checking in on the progressive poem?

Today it's over at Tamera Will Wissinger's blog. I still have a while before it's my turn, but I'm getting a wee bit nervous. I love what they've done so far, I have to say.

Anyway, today I thought I'd share my all-time favorite verse novel. Most of you know I have four young adult verse novels published. In July, a new one hits the shelves, though it's half in verse and half in prose, so does that bring me up to four-and-a-half? I'm not sure...

Again and again, I've picked up this book, Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer, to inspire me as I'm writing verse. Tracie has such a beautiful way with words. This book inspires me to reach (in a poetic sort of way) when I'm writing.

It's recommended for kids ages 10 and up, and I feel like many of my middle school readers would like this one. Honestly, I feel like there's a little something for everyone here. It was the winner of the Schneider Family Book Award in 2008.

From goodreads:

"Josie Wyatt knows what it means to be different. Her family's small farmhouse seems to shrink each time another mansion grows up behind it. She lives with her career-obsessed mom and opinionated Gran, but has never known her father. Then there's her cerebral palsy: even if Josie wants to forget that she was born with a disability, her mom can't seem to let it go. Yet when a strange new boy--Jordan--moves into one of the houses nearby, he seems oblivious to all the things that make Josie different. Before long, Josie finds herself reaching out for something she's never really known: a friend… and possibly more. Interlinked free verse poems tell the beautiful, heartfelt story of a girl, a family farm reduced to a garden, and a year of unforgettable growth."

A few of my favorite passages:

"Crickets sing their lullabies
to us,
and before dawn stretches
her arms into a new day
sleep tucks me in."

"Granny braced by the screen door,
fists on her wide hips,
surveying the sky,
daring the rain to

mist her face
with each gust.
Gran always says,
'This tantrum can't last --
but we Wyatt women will."

"I find Jordan stretched out
in the hammock.
Last summer, I tried it once;
tangled for hours,
frightened and helpless,
like a spider's dinner."

Do you have a favorite verse novel? Would love to hear about it! And I hope if you love verse novels, you'll check out this little gem. 

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