Verse novels & Poetry

Grades 4-6


The Crossover

By Kwame Alexander 

2014- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

 This is the first book in The Crossover Series

 "The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. ’Cuz tonight I’m delivering," raps twelve-year-old Josh Bell. Thanks to their dad, he and his twin brother, Jordan, are kings on the basketball court. But as their winning season unfolds, things begin to change. When Jordan meets a new girl, the twins’ bond unravels and Josh must come to terms with changes that could tear his family apart. Told in dynamic verse, this fast and furious middle grade novel bounces with rhythm and bursts with heart.


The Crazy Man

By Pamela Porter 

2005- Groundwood Books

 It is 1965 on the Canadian prairie and twelve-year-old Emaline’s family has fallen apart. When her beloved dog, Prince, chased a hare into the path of a tractor, she chased after him, and her dad accidentally ran over her leg, leaving her with a permanent disability. Guilt-ridden, Emaline’s father abandoned the family. Now, Emaline's mother hires Angus, a patient from the local mental hospital, to work their fields. Angus is a red-haired giant whom the local kids tease. Will Emaline befriend the so-called crazy man, and will her town ever accept him? This free-verse novel is a gripping and gritty examination of friendship in the face of prejudice. 

Keywords: Canada, Depression, Divorce, Family, Farms, Marriage, Mental Illness, Rural, Saskatchewan, Single Parents


A Child's Anthology of Poetry

By Elizabeth Hauge Sword

2015- HarperCollins

A timeless collection celebrating the joys of poetry for children of all ages—this book brings together essential classic children's poems with the best of modern poetry from around the world. From Robert Frost to Maya Angelou, Shel Silverstein to Emily Dickinson, this collection emphasizes the fun and diversity of poetry, providing young readers with a well-rounded, inclusive selection of poets. Full of surprises and charm, this delightful volume will be treasured by generations of readers.

Keywords: Angelou, Anthology,  Children, Classic, Contemporary, Dickinson, Frost, Modern, Poetry, Silverstein 



By Robert Paul Weston

2008- Razorbill

Zorgamazoo is the story of an adventurous young girl; a shadowy, subterranean creature; a bizarre lottery; a mysterious map; some outrageous kidnappings; and a sport that brings together the finer points of cricket, swimming and chess. It also has lobotomies. To sum up, it is about saving the universe from boredom. And it rhymes—all 281 pages worth!

Keywords: Action and Adventure, Heroines, Humor, Imaginary Creatures, Rhyme, Rhythm, Sports, Verse novels


Brown Girl Dreaming

By Jacqueline Woodson

2014- Nancy Paulsen Books

In vivid poems, author Jacqueline Woodson shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child.

Keywords: African Americans, Childhood, Historical, Inspiration, Racism, Reading, United States, Writing, 1960s and 1970s


Down in the Bottom of the Bottom of the Box

By JonArno Lawson

2012- Porcupine’s Quill

Welcome to the world of JonArno Lawson, where sound rules supreme. It's a bizarre world, where wolves live on the moon, bears inhabit the sun and bleating lambs get stuck in traffic jams. Here Sleeping Beauty is an insomniac, Little Red Riding Hood is a wolf and Snow White just needed a friend to tell her to be wary of strangers.

Keywords: Alliteration, Animals, Assorted Poetry, Fairy Tales, Kids,  Wordplay