Friday, February 10, 2017

Garvey's Choice

Garvey's Choice
by Nikki Grimes
120 pages; ages 8-12
WordSong (Highlights), 2016

Garvey is a jokester, a bookworm, the loyalist of friends. He loves reading about space and listening to blues. (extra credit for loving Mr. Spock of Star Trek)

Garvey's dad wants to toss a football with his son. Or a basketball. Or even just spend time talkin' sports. He'd rather see Garvey running out for a pass - or just running around the block - than head in a book. Why can't Garvey be an athlete like his sister?

Garvey's mom understands; when things are quiet she pulls out the chess set and teaches him moves that will "make his brain strong". Joe understands - they've been buddies since they were little kids. Even the new kid, Manny, understands.

So when Garvey discovers his voice, will his family come to the concert?

This is a sweet story of growing up. It's told in a verse form that is short and sweet: tanka. Five lines, 31 syllables, like this: 5/7/5/7/7. Here's one that I particularly like:
Stories are breadcrumbs.
Just follow the trail of books
and you will find me
lost among the galaxies
of scorched stars and ships to Mars.
Photo credit: Aaron Lemen

Nikki Grimes is a poet and artist; she's written so many books that if you wrote down all their titles it would take nearly five pages! She was recently awarded the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award for her body of work which has, over a period of years, made a lasting contribution to children's literature.

Check out her gallery of artwork at her website. And definitely check out some of her books from your library.

We'll be hanging out on Marvelous Middle Grade Monday with other  bloggers over at Shannon Messenger's blog. Hop over to see what other people are reading.
Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I was just AMAZED when I read this lovely book and found Ms. Grimes had written an entire novel in Tanka! I also love this book. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. I ordered this one, and I've had a few children pick it up, mainly because it is short!

  3. The story line sounds wonderful. Expressing yourself as a kid in the way that best fits its one of the hardest things about growing up. Thanks for sharing.

  4. You told enough to tease me! This sounds like a really great read. And, I like that it is in verse.