Thursday, December 1, 2016

Diversity Spotlight Thursday: Novels in Verse

"Diversity Spotlight Thursday" is a lovely new meme put together by Aimal of Bookshelves & Paperbacks.  The set-up is pretty simple: each week you post one book you've read, one on your TBR, and and upcoming release.  All of these, clearly, should fall under the umbrella term "diverse," with special emphasis on "own voices."  Overall, I don't tend to be aware of books that aren't out yet, because, um, they're not out yet?  So instead I'll usually add one I discovered just for this post--maybe it's a newer release, or maybe it's an under the radar find.

I've looked at books by Latinx authors about Mexican American teens, and I've looked at books about characters on the autism spectrum.  This time I'm taking my inspiration from Jacqueline Woodson's Newbery honor memoir in verse, Brown Girl Dreaming and Kwame Alexander's Newbery awarded novel in verse The Crossover, to share three more novels in verse by and about African Americans.

A Book I've Read and Recommend:

My Seneca Village by Marilyn Nelson

This book is set in New York City in the 1800s, in a neighborhood called Seneca Village.  Doesn't ring a bell?  That would be because the area was torn down to create room for Central Park.  Using census records and other data from the era, Nelson has created characters whose stories intertwine and overlap over time.  I especially enjoyed how she created "stage directions" before each poem, adding a visual sense that can be lost in many novels in verse.  

 A book on my TBR

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

Not strictly a novel in verse, this book is about a high school class whose teacher invites them to weekly open mic poetry slams.  The general consensus on Goodreads seems to be, "Well, I thought it wasn't all that great, but my students LOVED IT."  Hmm.  Maybe she wrote it for the students, not their teachers?

An upcoming interesting looking book

The Death of Jayson Porter by Jaime Adoff 

from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Jayson Porter wants to believe things will get better. But the harsh realities of his life never seem to change. Living in the inland-Florida projects with his abusive mother, he tries unsuccessfully to fit in at his predominately white school, while struggling to maintain even a thread of a relationship with his drug-addicted father. As the pressure mounts, there's only one thing Jayson feels he has control over-the choice of whether to live or die.


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this post! I’m hopefully going to be reading more novels-in-verse next year. It’s one of my resolutions.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!


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