Sunday, May 2, 2010

Novels in Verse

These works are also known as verse novels. They run as long as standard novels but are told through a series of poems, normally written in free verse. These stories feature one or more characters who serve as narrator.

Verse novels can be read quickly since their pages contain noticeably fewer words than traditional novels. Adults can use this feature as a visual lure to entice and hook reluctant readers.

The apparent and strong presence of voice in verse novels allows readers to connect on a personal and intimate level with characters, to the point where readers feel as if they are reading someone's letters, diary or journal.

There are even novels in verse in which the characters learn about poetry in class and try their hand at poemmaking. Sharon Creech's Love that Dog and Hate that Cat, Jacqueline Woodson's Locomotion, and Steven Herrick's Naked Bunyip Dancing are just a sampling of these.

Verse novels are my favourite form of novel so I am always on the lookout for more of them. I would be interested in learning about other novels in verse including those written by UK and New Zealand authors.

You will find below 20 verse novels listed to get you started on your exploration of this captivating and accessible genre.

Ten Middle-Grade Novels in Verse

Do-Wrong Ron - Steven Herrick (Australia)

Hate that Cat - Sharon Creech (U.S.)

Keeping the Night Watch - Hope Anita Smith (U.S.)

Locomotion - Jacqueline Woodson (U.S.)

Love that Dog - Sharon Creech (U.S.)

Naked Bunyip Dancing - Steven Herrick (U.S.)

Oh, Brother! - Nikki Grimes (U.S.)

Pearl Verses the World - Sally Murphy (Australia)

The Way A Door Closes - Hope Anita Smith (U.S.)

Zorgamazoo - Robert Paul Weston (Canada)

Ten Young Adult Novels in Verse

A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl - Tanya Lee Stone (U.S.)

Bronx Masquerade - Nikki Grimes (U.S.)

Cold Skin - Steven Herrick (Australia)

The Crazy Man - Pamela Porter (Canada)

Home of the Brave - Katherine Applegate (U.S.)

Libertad - Alma Fullerton (Canada)

Make Lemonade - Virginia Euwer Wolff (U.S.)

Simple Gift - Steven Herrick (Australia)

Witness - Karen Hesse (U.S.)

The Wolf - Steven Herrick (Australia)


  1. I think this is a great topic for a blog and I look forward to being a regular reader! Best from Monique

  2. Hi Carol-Ann, a couple of the popular ones from my high school library are Sonya Sones' "What my girlfriend doesn't know" followed by "What my mother doesn't know" or maybe vice versa- I can't remember. On the grittier side are the novels in verse by Ellen Hopkins. I also really liked Sharon Creech's "Heartbeat" and someone recommended Karen Hesse's Into the Dust to me. That's what's going on in the novels in verse world for an all-girls high school!