There’s something about winter that leaves more space for contemplation – perhaps it’s the cold, or the snow, or maybe the dark. Whatever the reason, it’s the perfect time to curl up on the couch and become immersed in a good book that lets us lose ourselves in the story. The list below highlights some books in verse or rhyme written with beautiful language and captivating imagery for you to dive in and explore.
To find more books that will get you engrossed in a story, try searching the catalog using a combination of subject terms like “juvenile fiction” for fiction books or “juvenile literature” for nonfiction books along with “novels in verse,” “stories in verse,” or “stories in rhyme.”
Booked. 2016 (Chapter Book)
Nick is your average 12-year-old boy who loves soccer, but despite having a linguistics professor for a dad, he hates words. Alexander plays with spacing and fonts in order to tell the story of how Nick deals with friendship, trying to impress a girl, and the fact that his parents are separating. Add in vocabulary word footnotes, exciting soccer action, and a rapping librarian named The Mac, and you get a novel that will have readers cheering Nick on as he learns more about how to play this game called life.
[S-Collection S. Al2715b, also in CCB and Uni High]
Even Superheroes Make Mistakes. 2018 (Picture Book)
In this dynamic picture book, we see superheroes depicted as down-to-earth human beings who make mistakes just like us. The comical nature of this book can help spark conversations with kids about right and wrong in a fun, rhyming way. With the discussion of problem solving and moving forward instead of dwelling on mistakes not overdone, readers will love reading about how the superhero main characters overcome adversity.
[S-Collection Q. SE. B38872ev]
I’m a Duck. 2018 (Picture Book)
With comforting pastel-colored illustrations in the background, we hear about the woes of a landlocked duck who, after a harrowing mishap as an egg, is scared to swim in the pond with his brothers. His friends Frog and Owl try to help him gather his courage to get in the water, but it is ultimately his decision. Readers will love the heartwarming story of this young duck’s bravery and how he embraces his identity and conquers his fears.
[S-Collection Q. SE. B886im]
Forest World. 2017 (Chapter Book)
In this adventurous tale, Edver is visiting his father in Cuba – a man he hardly knows – to meet a sister, Luza, he didn’t know he had. The family has been divided for many years now, and to try to connect, the siblings sneak onto the Internet, which is forbidden in Cuba, and make up a fake butterfly to try to get the attention of their cryptozoologist mother. But their lie soon catches the attention of someone far more dangerous, and Edver and Luza will have to work together to save the Cuban jungle that connects them. Told in alternating points of view with Spanish words intermingled in the text, this is a story about family and home you won’t want to miss.
[S-Collection S. En353fo, also in CCB]
Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess. 2017 (Chapter Book)
Sixth-grader Macy’s house is for sale, her mom is getting remarried, her final assignment is a genealogy project she’s procrastinating on, she’s fighting with her best friend, and to top it all off, her mom sends her next door to help their elderly neighbor Iris pack boxes. She doesn’t even know sign language, but the fact that Macy is deaf doesn’t stop Iris from trying to communicate. The unlikely pair connect over baking and books, and Green tells a beautiful story full of introspection, observations about life, and embracing change.
[S-Collection S. G8263m, also in CCB]
Garvey’s Choice. 2016 (Chapter Book)
Garvey’s father wants him to be an athlete, but he is a bookworm and a dreamer. With all of that pressure, he feels like a failure and eats his emotions as he is bullied and teased at school. But everything changes once his one friend encourages him to join the school chorus. When Garvey becomes the new soloist, he learns to accept himself and communicate with his father through music, the universal language. With beautiful, image-provoking metaphors, this is a quick read that will have readers rooting for Garvey and relating to his desire to be himself.
[S-Collection S. G882ga, also in CCB]
Harrington, Janice N.
Catching a Storyfish. 2016 (Chapter Book)
Moving away from Alabama is hard for Keet, but at least she gets to be by her grandfather. As a talker who loves to tell stories, Keet takes it hard when kids at school tease her about her southern accent. It is only when she is fishing with her grandfather that she learns to listen, and things are slowly starting to look up. But when he has a stroke, Keet is determined that telling him stories will help bring her grandfather back to her. This moving tale of the power of story will have readers immersed in Keet’s world and the magic of words.
[S-Collection S. H2371c]
Full Cicada Moon. 2015 (Chapter Book)
This historical fiction novel is set is 1969, right in the midst of the Apollo 11 moon mission excitement. Twelve-year-old Mimi is trying to fit in and fighting to enter science competitions as she dreams of becoming an astronaut, but being half-black and half-Japanese and having just moved to a mostly white town makes that difficult. Judged because of her appearance and stereotyped because of her gender, Mimi fights to stand up for what is right, be true to herself, and make the world a better place. Written in free verse, readers will be drawn into her journey and root for her to succeed.
[S-Collection S. H563fu]
Pandamonia. 2017 (Picture Book)
“Pandamonia – complete and utter chaos, often following the disturbance of a blissfully sleeping panda.” In this delightful picture book that breaks the fourth wall separating audience and author, readers are told, under no circumstances, to wake the panda. Owen plays with alliteration and fun onomatopoeia sounds that are perfect for a read-aloud and the crescendo of action leading to the climax of the story is cleverly mimicked by the format of the poems. With full-page illustrations replete with diverse animals, the if-then format will have kids giggling and anxious to find out what crazy thing happens next.
[S-Collection Q. SE. Ow21p]
The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight. 2018 (Picture Book)
In this fantasy adventure, the time has come for a baby dragon named Dram to go bite a knight, as all dragons have done forever. However, the tale turns topsy-turvy when Dram crashes and a boy helps nurse him back to health, thinking he’s a duck. After all the kindness shared, imagine Dram’s horror when he learns that the small lad was actually a knight and that they are supposed to be enemies! With colorful illustrations full of tongue-in-cheek details and rhythmic rhymes that beg to be read aloud, this book is a delight for readers of any age.
[S-Collection Q. SE. W8851dr]