Novels in Verse for Teens: A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians

Libraries Unlimited. Mar. 2020. 151p. pap. $45. ISBN 9781440874932.
This slim but useful guide is split into two parts. The first examines the need for diverse, inclusive literature for teens and the ways in which the verse novel can powerfully engage readers. Krok anchors her exploration in the work of scholars such as Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop, Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, and Dr. Debbie Reese and cites educators including Dr. Kim Parker and Tricia Ebarvia, two of the cofounders of the #DisruptTexts community. In the second part, Krok offers activity ideas for more than 50 novels in verse. While most of the titles suggested are best suited for a YA audience, there are some upper middle grade selections as well, and Krok centers #OwnVoices works and BIPOC creators as much as possible. Each entry includes publication information, content tags, a short summary, suggested grade levels, relevant Common Core and AASL standards, one or more poetry exercises, and recommended resources for further support and exploration. QR codes are also featured, which readers can scan to view websites and videos that supplement the content. Most of the exercises are designed to help teens experiment with poetry as a way to express their voices, often for purposes of self-reflection, empathy-building, or activism. Some activities are repeated for multiple titles, and Krok relies heavily on for explaining various poetic forms and how to begin using them. Back matter includes a glossary of poetic devices, an extensive works cited list, an author/title index, and a content tag index.
VERDICT Recommended for anyone looking to diversify collections, learn more about novels in verse, or expand their use of poetry in the classroom or library.

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