cover image Words with Wings

Words with Wings

Nikki Grimes. Boyds Mills/Wordsong, $15.95 (96p) ISBN 978-1-59078-985-8

Through 70+ poems, Grimes introduces readers to Gabriella, a city girl who’s prone to daydreaming, frustrating her mother and alienating Gabby from her classmates. Several poems bring readers directly into Gabby’s daydreams, as she explains how a single word can set her mind whirling: “Say ‘concert,’/ and I’m somewhere/ in the past,/ sprawled out on the grass/ in Central Park,/ my head cozy/ in Mom’s lap,/ her head cozy/ on Dad’s shoulder.” Grimes packs substantial emotional heft into her poems, especially the way that Gabby’s parents’ separation weighs on her. Eventually, the right teacher and the right friend provide the support and encouragement Gaby needs, and even her mother’s attitude softens. Although Grimes hits the “importance of dreaming” theme a bit hard, her poems lovingly convey the rich inner life (and turmoil) of a girl in the process of finding her voice. Ages 8–12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Sept.)