BROWN GIRL DREAMING by Jacqueline Woodson
BROWN GIRL DREAMING sparked my love of novels in verse. I appreciate all the sensory details, like drinking water out of scooped out gourds and the sounds of her surroundings. I felt like I was there with young Jackie as she navigated the changing landscape around her. The songful poetry, soothing in tone, leaves room for emotion, the struggles, and also the joys, that Jackie experiences and brings you into her world.
OTHER WORDS FOR HOME by Jasmine Warga
In OTHER WORDS FOR HOME, I was taken alongside Jude, a young Syrian girl who not only has to leave her country and home behind, but also has to leave some of her family behind. I was shown this heart-breaking journey through her eyes and witnessed her strength and resiliency in the face of starting over in a strange world. Jude’s story stirred empathy, kindness, and hope in my heart. The lyrical verse swept me away into Jude’s world, which is one she was discovering and forming for herself.
STARFISH by Lisa Fipps
STARFISH is a book that will help you celebrate your body in any shape or size. I felt empowered and self-accepting after going on this journey with Ellie, a vibrant girl who loves the water. It was gratifying to see bullying brought into the light and shamed for what it is. I celebrated with Ellie as she was affirmed and validated by parents and peers. STARFISH shows us what whoever we are, wherever we are, we deserve to take up space and we don’t have to apologize for that.
FORGET ME NOT by Ellie Terry
Long after reading FORGET ME NOT, the character of Calliope June stayed with me. It was a world-expanding experience to step into her shoes. You see, Calli has Tourette’s and we soon learn her daily life is not easy. We follow alongside her as she wrestles with hiding her quirks or being herself while longing to make a friend. We feel for her while learning a little bit about what life with Tourette’s is like. She is strong and brave and this book will leave you feeling inspired.
THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Kate DiCamillo
I found it hard to get through the last pages of THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN without a box of tissues by my side. The feeling of absolute confinement and absolute freedom that I felt for I were so relatable to me. The pint where Ivan isn’t sure what to do with his freedom struck me especially because I have felt that way before too. I wanted to take Ivan by the hand and walk with him and tell him it would all be okay.
And I thought I would mention my book, THE ROAD TO AFTER.
As an author/illustrator who is also a survivor of ten years of domestic abuse, empathy is an important topic to me. Whether through personal connection or the pages of a book, when I can see the world from another’s point-of-view, my understanding grows. We all have different experiences, and our hearts expand as we learn from each other. I love verse as a vehicle for conveying intense emotion in few words. The white space allows readers to process what was said and metaphor elaborates. My debut middle grade novel in verse, THE ROAD TO AFTER, published by Nancy Paulsen Books is on shelves May 10, 2022. Preorder SIGNED COPIES here, and be sure to fill out the form listed on that page so I can send you the preorder gifts shown below.
Thank you for reading and happy #nationalpoetrymonth !