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Review: Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes

“Dad is the the dreamer and Mom is a maker. I’ve been thinking, maybe I can be both.”

Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes is a contemporary novel and verse with a gentle, words wingsimaginative young protagonist- Gabrielle( named after the angel Gabriel because,” he was so fierce people fainted at the very sight of him”).  This heartwarming story, told by Gabby and the first-person narrative comes alive through the vivid, rhythmic and figurative poems written by Grimes. The poems build on each other throughout the novel, I’m leaving the struggles that young Gabby is dealing with over the divorce of her parents.

Gabby’s Palms help her work through her feelings of missing add add whom she resembles, living with a mom she seems to have nothing in common with, moving to a new school, and balancing her daydreaming with the demands of learning in her classroom. It is through building a relationship with her caring and attentive teacher, Mr. Spicer, that Gabby begins to perceive her daydreaming as strength, as utilizes it to sort through her feelings about her parents divorced, moving, and writing.

In this short but sweet narrative and verse, Coretta Scott King-award-winning Grimes tells the story of divorce, from a child’s perspective. Words with Wings as a delightful reminder of the beauty of the relationship between words, imagination, and love.


Title: Words with Wings
Author: Nikki Grimes (author website)
Published: 2013
Publisher: WordSong
Suggested Age: 8-11

Educator’s Guide (PDF)
Nikki Grimes reading from Words with Wings (YouTube)

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