Book Review and Giveaway! Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

I was lucky enough to read Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes shortly after I received an ARC directly from Nikki  the day that we both read poetry at the ALA Poetry Blast in Chicago this past July. I’m still not over that event. You can click here to view My ALA Poetry Blast Recap.

Shortly afterward, I had to focus on the final phase of our home renovation and also move from temporary housing back home, and then take delivery of EVERYTHING that had been in storage or boxed for the move.

Unfortunately, this:

has left little time to think about my online presence. Even though it's a mess of boxes right now, I'm happy to be home. And it's good to be back online, too. Last week I began slowly moving back into my real desk after months at a temporary desk.

One of my favorite parts of moving into my office has been opening my boxes of books. While I was opening and sorting my books, I came across my Advance Reading Copy of Words with Wings. Then, a short time later, I unboxed a second ARC of Words with Wings. I’m really not sure how I came to possess two copies, but sure enough, I have two:






I intended to write a review when I read this wonderful book back in July, and time just slipped away. Now, September is nearly here and this book is ready to release, so thank goodness I opened my book boxes this week. Going with the adage of better late than never, here is my review of Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes, and as a bonus, I'd like to give away one of these ARCs.

Description From Wordsong Press:

Gaby daydreams to tune out her parents’ arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her...until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every school day. With a notebook “thick with daydreams,” Gaby grows more confident about herself and her future. This verse novel poignantly celebrates the power of writing and the inspiration a good teacher can deliver.

Ages: 8 and UP

Pages: 96

List Price: $15.95

Published: 9/1/2013

ISBN-13: 978-1-59078-985-8

Tamera's Review of Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

WORDS WITH WINGS by Nikki Grimes is a tenderly written contemporary verse novel with a sensitive, imaginative young protagonist – Gabrielle (named after the angel Gabriel because, “He was so fierce people fainted at the very sight of him.” There is much to love about this story told in Gaby’s first person narrative voice. First and foremost, it does exactly what a good verse novel should do: the poems work together to each reveal more of the story as Gaby struggles to cope with her parent’s divorce, missing a dad whom she takes after, living with a mom she seems to have nothing in common with, moving to a new school, and tempering her daydreaming. A sensitive, thoughtful teacher, Mr. Spicer, (a character inspired by the real Mr. Ed Spicer, a sensitive and thoughtful first grade teacher!) helps Gaby find balance and at the same time turns what might be perceived as a weakness (her daydreaming) into a strength that he ends up cultivating in all of his students.

It’s such a pleasure to see how Grimes weaves in rhyme, rhythm, poetic forms and techniques to enhance the story – like just the right blend of spices in just the right amount. One of the poetic details that I admire most about this book is that the placement and structure of the poems help reveal character and plot. For each of the real-world poems, the font is a bit formal, structured on the page – centered. When Gaby daydreams, the poem font and position on the page become lighter, higher – free, even whimsical at a daydream… like words with wings.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars out of 5


Here is one of the fine daydream poems from Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes:


Say “spring,”

and I am bouncing

on the balls of my feet

in a field of wildflowers

while April showers

tickle me

till I am slippery

as a snake

and soaked straight through.

A story entitled Words with Wings deserves to fly. So I’m offering you a chance to win one copy of Nikki’s book by leaving a comment and entering this Rafflecopter drawing. (The other copy I will keep for myself.) The raffle will be open through Monday, September 9, and when it's over, I'll notify the winner to request a mailing address, and will send Words with Wings soaring away!

Good luck and thanks for entering!


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Raffle Update: Thank you to everyone who entered the contest. Our ARC giveaway winner is Michelle H. Barnes! Congratulations, Michelle!


Here’s what else is happening:

Verse Day this week is at Verse Novels

Poetry Friday is at A Teaching Life 



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Reader Comments (8)

What a beautiful excerpt! Thank you for sharing!

Reply: Thank you, Liana! My pleasure.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiana Mahoney

I've been waiting for this book. I am really looking forward to reading it.

Reply: It's worth the wait, Liz! Good luck!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

This book sounds wonderful! I love the idea of turning daydreaming from a negative to a positive, and the poem you posted is truly a gem. Oh... and welcome home. :)

Reply: Hi Michelle - That's a huge part of the appeal for me, too. And thanks for the welcome home.

I can't wait to read this book! It's been on my list!

Reply: Hi B.J. It'll be worth the wait! Good luck in the raffle.

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterB.J. Lee

It sounds like a just right book for so many middle graders who struggle to keep going, especially here at the beginning of school, daydreaming about lazy, slow summer. Thanks for the possibility of winning a copy!

Reply: That's a great point, Linda, and I can see many readers that age connecting with Gaby. Good luck in the give away!

August 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Baie

This book sounds fabulous! Just right for my new "Verse Novel" tub in my 5th grade classroom!!

Reply: Ooh, Mary Lee! This is the perfect addition to your 5th grade classroom Verse Novel tub!

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMary Lee Hahn

The title itself was enough to "catch" me. I love and write poetry, and this sounds very intriguing.

Reply: Yes, the title is compelling for anyone who loves words. Good luck in the drawing!

August 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKaren Ganon

Welcome home to your newly renovated home and back to your online world, Tamera! I'm excited about this book because I love, love, love all things Nikki Grimes! I do hope I win. Thanks for having the raffle!

Reply: Thanks for these welcome back wishes, Bridget, and for entering my contest! Yes: All things Nikki Grimes!

September 9, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBridget Magee

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