Words with Wingsby Nikki Grimes
Gabby’s world is filled with daydreams. However, what began as an escape from her parents’ arguments has now taken over her life. But with the help of a new teacher, Gabby the dreamer might just become Gabby the writer, and words that carried her away might allow her to soar. Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a
Gabby’s world is filled with daydreams. However, what began as an escape from her parents’ arguments has now taken over her life. But with the help of a new teacher, Gabby the dreamer might just become Gabby the writer, and words that carried her away might allow her to soar. Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, of friendship, of one girl’s indomitable spirit, and of a teacher’s ability to reach out and change a life.
Nikki Grimes has been awarded a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award. Words with Wings has been named a 2014 ALSC Notable Children's Book in the middle readers category.
* ". . . Grimes has written a novel in verse that is an enthusiastic celebration of the power of words and imagination. . . Always accessible, Grimes' language is vivid, rhythmic, and figurative. . . Grimes' words speak to the daydreamer in every reader." --Booklist, starred review
* "In this delightfully spare narrative in verse, Coretta Scott King Award-winning Grimes examines a marriage's end from the perspective of a child. . . Throughout this finely wrought narrative, Grimes' free verse is tight, with perfect breaks of line and effortless shifts from reality to dream states and back. An inspirational exploration of caring among parent, teacher and child--one of Grimes' best." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
" . . . Grimes packs substantial emotional heft into her poems, especially the way that Gabby's parents' separation weighs on her. . . her poems lovingly convey the rich inner life (and turmoil) of a girl in the process of finding her voice." --Publishers Weekly
Gr 4–8—In this brief, free-verse novel, readers meet Gabby, whose imagination is fueled by "words with wings that wake my daydreams." Her daydreams have provided solace from her parents' arguments, but now her father has moved out and her parents are getting a divorce. At school, she finds it hard to make friends and avoid being labeled the weird girl who zones out in class. Gabby's dad is a daydreamer, too, but her practical mom chides her for not paying attention, and Gabby longs to win her mother's approval along with that of her teacher, Mr. Spicer. Gabby's struggles to stay focused in school will resonate with many youngsters, as she tries to: "…catch every single syllable that falls from Mr. Spicer's lips, pass the pop quiz, and still have enough time left to be bored." Most readers will recognize Gabby in someone they know, and this well-crafted tale should have wide appeal. With its focus on creative wordplay and imagination, it could also be an inspiring resource for creative-writing teachers.—Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA
Meet the Author
Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her books include the New York Times best seller Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope and the Dyamonde Daniel chapter-book series. She won the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade and earned a Coretta Scott King Author Honor three times—for Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, and The Road to Paris. Grimes lives in Corona, California.
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A beautifully executed book where the words really do have wings and fly. This book works so well in verse, because the topic and main character lend themselves to such poetic words and thoughts. Great for kids working on poetry in school or who love poetry in general. I received a copy of this book as a judge for the Cybils awards. Opinions are strictly my own.
Nikki Grimes' novel in verse is a celebration of imagination sure to inspire young dreamers everywhere and to encourage their teachers and parents to help them harness that creative energy and turn it into a passion they can pursue with confidence. Perfect for reading aloud with third and fourth graders, Words with Wings takes the fears and hopes of one child and spins them into a story for children of all ages. Grimes is particularly adept at packing vivid imagery and powerful emotions into very few words. Reluctant middle school readers may also enjoy this easy and engaging read. (This review is based upon the ARC I received at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago)