So, Deena (Miss Recently Repped) and I were talking about novels-in-verse and how they can be good for reluctant readers, but sometimes there is a problem with getting them to read them in the first place.
As a librarian, Deena gets moms who come in, asking her to help select books for the teen girl who doesn’t like to read much, and as soon as Deena says the word “verse,” she’s often told , “Oh no, she wouldn’t like that.” They don’t get the fact that it’s not merely a book of poems, it’s a story with a beginning, middle and end, with a plot and characters - you know - a NOVEL.
I think Ellen Hopkins and Sonya Sones have helped to open up the genre so more kids understand what a novel-in-verse is, and that it’s not just a book of unrelated poems. But there are still people out there who think – yuck! I have read some reviews on I HEART YOU that say something like, “I bought this book, and when I saw it was written in poems, I was really worried, but I ended up loving it.”
So how can we describe a novel-in-verse so people don’t close their ears as soon as the word "verse" comes out of our mouth?
Here are my ideas, but I’d love to hear yours:
1) Don’t even say it’s a novel-in-verse. Just say it’s a fast-moving story with really short chapters and relatable characters that will keep them turning the pages.
2) You could say, “This is a verse novel, but don’t let the verse part scare you. Every poem is very accessible and easy to understand, and kids who don't like to read usually like all of the white space on the pages. It doesn't overwhelm them as much as a regular book."
3) Or how about, "This is a great book that other kids LOVE. It's different. I think that's why they love it."
What do you think?
~Lisa, Miss Pinch Me I'm Pubbed