Middle Grade/Juvenile

Poetry of Excellence for All Ages


-by Murray Alfredson

From the underbrush

then and now

like pins or tiny razors,

his twitters pierce the creek-bed stillness

deep in the ravine.

Do I in

just splits of moments

glimpse in leafage-gaps

a fleck of blue.

He teases;

side-glanced colour-flicker

but never when I look.

Pictured by mind’s eye

in dainty elegance,

disembodied voice. 

Drab wren-dam! 

Twig or twitch, 

Are you there

Wren pair

Murray Alfredson: Poet, essayist, story writer, poetry editor, professional skeptic, and author of The Gleaming Clouds. Brisbane: Interactive Press, 2013. 


  • Upbeat and heartfelt, Simon B. Rhymin' is a sure-fire hit!

 Lincoln Peirce, New York Times bestselling creator,

 Big Nate and Max & the Midknights

  • I love Simon. I love his heart, his rhythm and rhyme. We've been needing his voice for a long, long time. 

—Liesl Shurtliff, New York Times bestselling author of Rump

  • An authentic voice, strong friendships and loads of laughs make rhymin’ Simon a winner.

—Tom Watson, author of Stick Dog

  • A heartwarming tale that combines Black boy joy with community connection.           

—Kirkus Reviews

  • Dwayne Reed has succeeded in writing a story about a boy who is enjoying his life, exploring this theme without overtly coming across as teaching a lesson to readers.     

—School Library Connection

THE POET X by Elizabeth Acevedo, 9780062662811. $12.99. Ages 13 up. On Sale April 7, 2020. The National Book Award–winning debut novel by renowned poet Elizabeth Acevedo, about a young girl in Harlem who discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world – NOW IN PAPERBACK!

WRITE YOURSELF A LANTERN: A JOURNAL INSPIRED BY THE POET X by Elizabeth Acevedo, 9780062982278. $14.99. Ages 13 up. NEW RELEASE! On Sale April 7, 2020. Featuring lines from The Poet X among its lined pages, this full-color, beautifully designed journal is perfect for readers, long-time writers, those trying their hand at poetry, or anyone with a voice all their own. Let Xiomara’s verses spark your own inspiration, as you pour your own thoughts and feelings onto the pages—and write the words you need most.

Mixed Feelings: Poems and Stories
With a Star in my Hand

The Legend of the Fairy Stones

By Kelly Anne White, Morgan James Kids, April 2019, Ages 8 and up,  9781642791952 (PA) $11.95;  9781642791969 (HC) $23 B07P9C45VN (Kindle) Read free with Kindle App

Genre: Rhyming Picture Book, Bedtime Story, Folk Tale, Fairy Tale; Virginia Folklore, Fairy Stones, Staurolite, Rocks and Gems, Jesus Stones, Art, STEM, Holiday-Easter, Gift Book, Adult Art Enthusiasts

Picture Books

Rhyming picture book Legend of the fairy Stones

A Book of Poems, compiled by Robert Carter
ISBN-13: 978-1642791952 (PA)

Genre: Historical, 1940s, Life of English Teacher, Reflections of life of the times.

Absolutely moving and touching poems written by a woman who taught English all her life, and also kept poems about her experiences, good and bad, discovered, compiled, and published by her son, Media Producer for more than 35 years and currently Producer for Childress Ink LLC, shout out to my stepfather, reporter, storyteller, and journalist who once interviewed Robin Williams. 

​​​With a Star in my Hand: Rubén Darío, Poetry Hero, by Margarita Engle, NEW RELEASE, Simon & Schuster, ISBN-13 : 978-1534424937​
Genre/BISAC: Novel-in-Verse, Juvenile, Middle Grade, Historical Fiction based on true story, Poetry, YA and Adult Crossover 

I will let the editorial reviews below speak themselves, and also add that I shared this book with my seventeen-year-old poetry writing daughter, and she read it in one sitting. I absolutely love this book, it has excellent classroom potential in so many areas, and makes a great gift to lovers of poetry. This book has been added to my permanent library. 

Publisher Description:

A novel in verse about the life and work of Ruben Dario, a Nicaraguan poet who started life as an abandoned child and grew to become the father of a new literary movement. Includes historical notes. Includes bibliographical references.​​​

​​​Simon B. Rhymin’, by Dwayne Reed, March 2021, Little, Brown & Co. Books For Young Readers, Ages: 8-12, 9780316538978
re/BISAC: Middle grade, contemporary realistic, rap and poetry, humor, community, friendship, diversity

“America’s Favorite Rapping Teacher” brings his passion for rapping and teaching together is this utterly heartwarming and much-needed tale that reminds young readers to follow their dreams, all while finding and keeping the beat of their own path. 

Publisher Description:

  A humorous and heartwarming bounce-to-the-beat underdog story about a young rapper whose rhymes help bring his community together.
  Eleven-year-old Simon Barnes dreams of becoming a world-famous rapper that everyone calls Notorious D.O.G. But for now, he’s just a Chicago fifth grader who’s small for his age and afraid to use his voice.

  Simon prefers to lay low at school and at home, even though he’s constantly spitting rhymes in his head. But when his new teacher assigns the class an oral presentation on something that affects their community, Simon must face his fears.

  With some help from an unexpected ally and his neighborhood crew, will Simon gain the confidence to rap his way to an A and prove that one kid can make a difference in his ‘hood?

Young Adult (YA) - New Adult

With a Star in my Hand


  • “Engle explores Darío’s relationship with words and the effects of abandonment, trauma, grief, and loss on his work. The cyclical nature of events described, as well as the seasons’ change and the rollercoaster of emotions—all based firmly in research—reflect how the poet’s past affected his identity and career. Engle also pays close attention to Darío’s mestizo identity and the importance of utilizing Spanish language, and there is a wonderful section on linework and rhyming patterns and structures, an educational element for young poets trying their hands at redondillas, octavillas, espinelas, and seguidillas. . . . Exceptional.

-Booklist, starred review

  • “Heartfelt . . . The brevity of the poems allows readers to make rapid progress through the novel, and the placement of line breaks is thoughtful and effective: ‘With paper as my sky, words / are the wind that should help my mind fly.’”

​ - The Horn Book

  • “Engle distills a fascinating life and creates a portrait of a country where poetry, valued by many, could be a young person’s ticket out of hardship. . . . In introducing readers to Darío, Engle creates a jumping-off point for poetic exploration.”

-- Publishers Weekly

  • “Compelling. . . . This accessible volume serves as an excellent introduction to Darío and will likely encourage readers to search out his poetry to appreciate his genius.”

- Shelf Awareness

Mixed Feelings: Poems and Stories, by Avan Jogia, Andrews McMeel, Sept. 2019, ISBN-13: 9781449496210
Genre: Poetry, YA and Adult Crossover
BISAC: Poetry, Loss, Grief, Love Poems, Love and Loss

Description from publisher: From actor Avan Jogia comes a raw and moving collection of poetry, stories, and art about living as a mixed-race person in a world increasingly fixated on racial identity.
In Mixed Feelings, Avan Jogia explores his complicated emotions around race, identity, religion, and family through poetry and imagery. Drawing on the author's own life story as well as interviews he's conducted with friends and strangers, Mixed Feelings serves as a dialogue starter for difficult topics that now, more than ever, need to be discussed.