10 Novels in Verse for Teens Sexual assault Self-­harm/suicide Domestic vio­lence •­ Family dynamics Adoption •­ Family secrets First love/sex Addiction/alcoholism Disabilities Bullying Immigrants Refugees English-­language learners (ELLs) Writing Performing arts •­ Music Sports Empowerment Recovery Therapy Dancing College Coming of age Resilience Sylvia M. Vardell also touts the value of diverse viewpoints via poetry. Authors of novels in verse show teen readers how the ­ human landscape is both fascinating and robust by showing both differences and similarities among each other. Cultures, language, and experiences are used by poets in compel- ling ways ­ because poetry is so succinct. “Sometimes power­ful points about prejudice, identity, and cultural conflict can be made in very few words. In addition, we can also rediscover our ­ human universality in poems’ words and feelings, which cross cultural bound­aries” (Vardell 2015a, 27). A perfect exam- ple of this is Elizabeth Acevedo’s verse novel, The Poet X, which has earned numerous awards, including the 2019 Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Lit­er­a­ture, the 2019 Pura Belpre Award, for Latinx authors affirming the Latinx experience and the 2018 National Book Award. See the Author/Title Index for more from Elizabeth Acevedo. What Types of Books in Verse are There?­ The phrases novels in verse and verse novels are used primarily in this book ­ because most of the forthcoming books in this guide are fiction se­lections. However, documentary novels in verse (generally historical fiction) and mem- oirs in verse can also provide ­those win­dows, mirrors, and sliding-­glass doors (Bishop 1990), that teachers and librarians should be offering their teens. One big question is: What is the difference between a book of poems and a novel in verse? ­People sometimes use the terms interchangeably, but they are actually dif­fer­ent. A poetry book includes poems that are separate from each other, whereas a novel in verse uses ­ those poems to tell one continuing story. Think of it this way: Poetry books hold collections of poems, while novels in verse contain poems that pro­gress to reveal the narrative of a complete story.
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