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Books in Verse

"Books in Verse" are typically novel-length stories that are written in verse or poetry rather than prose. This is a sampling of those available in the Children's Services department of the Main Library. The books on this list are predominantly fiction, but also include a few nonfiction, biographical, and autobiographical titles.

Note: All call numbers are for the Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana
J ALDRID Aldridge, Alan The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast
Creatures that fly, or that creep, hop, or run, now wake all at once at a loud trumpet-call -- it's the day of the Feast and the Butterfly Ball!
J ANDER Anderson, M.T. The Serpent Came to Gloucester
Rhyming text tells of a sea serpent that plays off the coast of Massachusetts the summer of 1817, and is hunted upon its return the next year. Includes a page of facts upon which the story is based.
J BAUER Bauer, Marion Dane Little Dog, Lost
A boy, a dog, and an old man are lonely before the boy plans a rally, the dog looks for a boy, and all the townspeople run to the old man's aid when lightning strikes his home and something miraculous happens.
J BREWE Brewer, Caroline Barack Obama
Inspired by the life of Barack Obama.
J BREWE Brewer, Caroline The Jelani Tree
Inspired by the life of Jelani Manigault.
J BRYAN Bryant, Jennifer The Trial: a Novel
Living in Flemington, New Jersey, in 1935, twelve-year-old Katie Leigh Flynn describes, in a series of poems, the effect on her small town of the ongoing trial of Bruno Hauptmann for the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh's baby son.
J BRYAN Bryant, Jennifer Kaleidoscope Eyes
In 1968, with the Vietnam War raging, thirteen-year-old Lyza inherits a project from her deceased grandfather, who had been using his knowledge of maps and the geography of Lyza's New Jersey hometown to locate the lost treasure of Captain Kidd.
J BURG Burg, Ann E. All the Broken Pieces
Two years after being airlifted out of Vietnam in 1975, Matt Pin is haunted by the terrible secret he left behind and, now, in a loving adoptive home in the United States, a series of profound events forces him to confront his past.
J CHENG Cheng, Andrea Shanghai Messenger
A free-verse novel about eleven-year-old Xiao Mei's visit with her extended family in China, where the Chinese-American girl finds many differences but also the similarities that bind a family together.
J CHENG Cheng, Andrea Where the Steps Were
Verse from the perspectives of five students in Miss D.'s third grade class details the children's last year together before their inner city school is to be torn down.
J CHENG Cheng, Andrea Brushing Mom's Hair
A fourteen-year-old girl, whose mother's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment have affected every aspect of their lives, finds release in ballet and art classes.
J CREEC Creech, Sharon Hate That Cat
Jack is studying poetry again in school, and he continues to write poems reflecting his understanding of famous poems and how they relate to his life.
J CREEC Creech, Sharon Love That Dog
A young student, who comes to love poetry through a personal understanding of what different famous poems mean to him, surprises himself by writing his own inspired poem.
J ELLIO Elliott, Zetta Bird
Bird, an artistic young African American boy, expresses himself through drawing as he struggles to understand his older brother's drug addiction and death, while a family friend, Uncle Son, provides guidance and understanding.
J ENGLE Engle, Margarita Tropical Secrets
Escaping from Nazi Germany to Cuba in 1939, a young Jewish refugee dreams of finding his parents again, befriends a local girl with painful secrets of her own, and discovers that the Nazi darkness is never far away.
J ENGLE Engle, Margarita The Wild Book
In early twentieth-century Cuba, bandits terrorize the countryside as a young farm girl struggles with dyslexia. Based on the life of the author's grandmother.
J FORD Ford, Christine Scout
After her mother dies, eleven-year-old Cecelia befriends a new boy at school, but soon realizes that the scruffy youth's home life is the reason for his introspective personality, which is so much like her own.
J FROST Frost, Helen Diamond Willow
In a remote area of Alaska, twelve-year-old Willow helps her father with their sled dogs when she is not at school, wishing she were more popular, all the while unaware that the animals surrounding her carry the spirits of dead ancestors and friends who care for her.
J FROST Frost, Helen The Braid
In this unforgettable novel, award-winning poet Helen Frost eloquently twists strand over strand of language, braiding the words at the edges of the poems to bring new poetic forms to life while intertwining the destinies of two young girls and the people who cross their paths.
J GRIME Grimes, Nikki Dark Sons
Alternating poems compare and contrast the conflicted feelings of Ishmael, son of the Biblical patriarch Abraham, and Sam, a teenager in New York City, as they try to come to terms with being abandoned by their fathers and with the love they feel for their younger stepbrothers.
J GRIMES Grimes, Nikki Planet Middle School
A series of poems describes all the baffling changes at home and at school in twelve-year-old Joylin's transition from tomboy basketball player to not-quite-girly girl.
J GROVE Grover, Lorie Ann On Pointe
In this novel written in free verse, Clare and her grandfather must deal with changes in their lives when Clare's summer growth spurt threatens to end her dream of becoming a ballet dancer and her grandfather suffers a stroke.
J HAVIL Havill, Juanita Grow
Two misfit children and other members of a Minneapolis, Minnesota, neighborhood are brought together by a woman creating a community garden.
J HERRI Herrick, Steven Naked Bunyip Dancing
This novel in verse follows the school year of Australian students in classroom 6C, as their unconventional teacher encourages them to discover their own strengths and talents and perform in a memorable concert.
J HESSE Hesse, Karen Aleutian Sparrow
An Aleutian Islander recounts her suffering during World War II in American internment camps designed to "protect" the population from the invading Japanese.
J HESSE Hesse, Karen Out of the Dust
In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.
J HESSE Hesse, Karen Witness
When a small Vermont town turns against its own in 1924 as the Ku Klux Klan moves in, no one is safe--especially 12-year-old Leonora, an African-American girl, and six-year-old Esther, who is Jewish.
J HOWE Howe, James Addie on the Inside
Outspoken thirteen-year-old Addie Carle learns about love, loss, and staying true to herself as she navigates seventh grade, enjoys a visit from her grandmother, fights with her boyfriend, and endures gossip and meanness from her former best friend.
J JOHNS Johnson, Lindsay Lee Soul Moon Soup
After her father leaves and Phoebe and her mother struggle to survive in the city, Phoebe finally goes to the country to live with her grandmother, where she learns family secrets and hopes her mother will return for her.
J LEZOT LeZotte, Ann Clare T4
When the Nazi party takes control of Germany, thirteen-year-old Paula, who is deaf, finds her world-as-she-knows-it turned upside down, as she is taken into hiding to protect her from the new law nicknamed T4.
J MASS Mass, Wendy Heaven Looks A Lot Like the Mall
When high school junior Tessa Reynolds falls into a coma after getting hit in the head during gym class, she experiences heaven as the mall where her parents work, and she revisits key events from her life, causing her to reevaluate herself and how she wants to live.
J MCKIS McKissack, Patricia C. Never Forgotten
In eighteenth-century West Africa, a boy raised by his blacksmith father and the Mother Elements--Wind, Fire, Water, and Earth--is captured and taken to America as a slave.
J MCKISS McKissack, Pat Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt
As a young African American girl pieces her first quilt together, the history of her family, community, and the struggle for justice and freedom in Gee's Bend, Alabama unfolds.
J MURPH Murphy, Sally Toppling
All John cares about is setting the world record for knocking down dominoes and spending time with his best friends at school until his closest friend, Dom, is hospitalized, leaving John and the gang wondering what to do for him.
J MYERS Myers, Walter Dean Amiri and Odette: A Love Story
Presents a modern, urban retelling in verse of the ballet in which brave Amiri falls in love with beautiful Odette and fights evil Big Red for her on the streets of the Swan Lake Projects.
J ROSE Rose, Caroline Starr May B.
When a failed wheat crop nearly bankrupts the Betterly family, Pa pulls twelve-year-old May from school and hires her out to a couple new to the Kansas frontier.
J ROSEN Rosen, Michael J. Running With Trains
In alternating voices, Michael J. Rosen's poems weave a tale of two boys-one wishing for the stability of home, the other yearning to travel-and the unexpected impact of their fleeting encounter.
J ROSEN Rosenthal, Betsy R. Looking For Me
In 1936 Baltimore, an eleven-year-old Jewish girl, one of twelve siblings, tries to find her place in her overcrowded family.
J RUSSE Russell, Ching Yeung Tofu Quilt
Growing up in 1960s Hong Kong, a young girl dreams of becoming a writer in spite of conventional limits placed on her by society and family.
J RYLAN Rylant, Cynthia God Went to Beauty School
A novel in poems that reveal God's discovery of the wonders and pains in the world he has created.
J SANDE Sandell, Lisa Ann Song of the Sparrow
This lyrical novel in verse tells the tale of fiery, 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat--who will one day be known in poems and paintings as "The Lady of Shalott" from Arthurian lore.
J SMITH Smith, Hope Anita Keeping the Night Watch
A thirteen-year-old African American boy chronicles what happens to his family when his father, who temporarily left, returns home and they all must deal with their feelings of anger, hope, abandonment, and fear.
J SPINE Spinelli, Eileen The Dancing Pancake
Eleven-year-old Belinda "Bindi" Winkler and her family find their way through tough times with the love and support of the community that grows around their newly opened restaurant, "The Dancing Pancake."
J SPINE Spinelli, Eileen Summerhouse Time
Accompanied by charming black-and-white illustrations, classic growing-up experiences radiate throughout the pages of this sunny, anytime story about a family who rents a pink cottage on the beach for the entire summer. Illustrations.
J SPINE Spinelli, Eileen Where I Live
This gentle and ultimately redeeming story in poems is about those secure and fulfilling friendships that happen naturally and easily when friends live right next door, and the struggles of losing the comfort of a familiar place. Illustrations.
J STERN Sternberg, Julie Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie
When nine-year-old Eleanor's beloved babysitter Bibi moves away to care for her ailing father, Eleanor must spend the summer adjusting to a new babysitter while mourning the loss of her old one.
J TESTA Testa, Maria Almost Forever
A young girl describes what she, her brother, and their mother do during the year that her doctor father is serving in the Army in Vietnam.
J WESTO Weston, Robert Paul Zorgamazoo
Imaginative and adventurous Katrina eludes her maniacal guardian to help Morty, a member of a vanishing breed of zorgles, with his quest to uncover the fate of the fabled zorgles of Zorgmazoo as well as of other creatures that seem to have disappeared from the earth.
J WILLI Williams, Vera B. Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart
Two sisters help each other deal with life while their mother is working and their father has been sent to jail.
J WOODS Woodson, Jacqueline Peace, Locomotion
Through letters to his little sister, who is living in a different foster home, sixth-grader Lonnie, also known as "Locomotion," keeps a record of their lives while they are apart, describing his own foster family, including his foster brother who returns home after losing a leg in the Iraq War.
J ZIMME Zimmer, Tracie Reaching for Sun
Josie, who lives with her mother and grandmother and has cerebral palsy, befriends a boy who moves into one of the rich houses behind her old farmhouse.
J ZIMME Zimmer, Tracie Vaughn 42 Miles
As her thirteenth birthday approaches, JoEllen decides to bring together her two separate lives--one as Joey, who enjoys weekends with her father and other relatives on a farm, and another as Ellen, who lives with her mother in a Cincinnati apartment near her school and friends.
J811 Glenn, Mel Jump Ball - A Basketball Season in Poems
Tells the story of a high school basketball team's season through a series of poems reflecting the feelings of students, their families, teachers, and coaches.
J811 Hopkins, Lee Bennett Been to Yesterdays - Poems of a Life
Autobiographical poems capture a thirteen-year-old boy's feelings, experiences, and aspirations in one tumultuous year of his life.
J811 MONJO Monjo, F.N. The Sea Beggar's Son
Relates in verse the exploits of the Dutch hero, Piet Heyn, whose capture of Spanish ships carrying valuable cargo was instrumental in Holland's overthrow of Spanish rule in the seventeenth century.
J811 Seabrooke, Brenda Judy Scuppernong
Poems describe the daily experiences of four girls growing up in a small town in Georgia in the early 1950s.
J811 SMITH Smith, Hope Anita The Way a Door Closes
Hope Anita Smith tells the story of a young man's struggle to accept a father who has walked out on his family. Here, in CJ's words, is a portrait of hurt and healing, and finding the strength to open the door again.
J811.54 FROST Frost, Helen Spinning Through the Universe - A Novel in Poems from Room 214
A collection of poems written in the voices of Mrs. Williams of room 214, her students, and a custodian about their interactions with each other, their families, and the world around them. Includes notes on the poetic forms represented.
J811.54 GRIME Grimes, Nikki What is Goodbye?
The Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of "Bronx Masquerade" presents this honest, powerful, and hopeful story, told in verse, of a young brother and sister who have lost their beloved older brother. Illustrations.
J811.54 NELSO Nelson, Marilyn Carver - A Life in Poems
This collection of poems provides a lyrical account of the life of George Washington Carver, a man born into slavery who went on to head the agricultural department at the Tuskegee Institute. Illustrations.
J811.54 TESTA Testa, Maria Becoming Joe DiMaggio
Maria Testa paints a picture of a timeless bond between a grandson and his immigrant grandfather - and of finding his own place in a brave new world.
J811.54 TESTA Testa, Maria Something About America
Inspired by true events that occurred in Maine in 2002, this powerful, lyrical novel explores immigration in contemporary America, narrated by a 13-year-old girl from Kosovo.
J811.54 WOODS Woodson, Jacqueline Locomotion
In a series of poems, eleven-year-old Lonnie writes about his life, after the death of his parents, separated from his younger sister, living in a foster home, and finding his poetic voice at school.
J811.6 GROVE Grover, Lorie Ann Loose Threads
A series of poems describes how seventh-grader Kay Garber faces her grandmother's battle with breast cancer while living with her mother and great-grandmother and dealing with everyday junior high school concerns.
J821.9 BELLO Belloc, Hilaire Cautionary Tales for Children
Known as a central figure in English literature, Hilaire Belloc produced a number of stunning, funny, and clever admonishments for children. The tales in this volume, illustrated by the inimitable Edward Gorey, contain instructive lessons for almost everyone.

If you need help finding these or other Library materials, please check with anyone in Children's Services. We look forward to seeing you at the Library!

This list was created and is maintained by Children's Services Librarians.
Comments and suggestions can be sent to Mary R. Voors, Manager, Children's Services at

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