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About Nikki Grimes
Nikki Grimes dabbles in watercolors and collage (she created one of the illustrations for One Last Word!), she crafts handmade books, cards and beaded jewelry, is a textile artist, and once sang, danced and acted her way down the east coast of China. Her primary passion, though, is writing books for children and young adults. Her complete bibliography of trade and mass market books number close to 100. Her trade titles include historical fiction, biographies, chapter books, and novels in prose. However, poetry and novels-in-verse are her genres of choice.
A bestselling author, Grimes is the recipient of the 2017 Children's Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Other awards include the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade; CSK Honors for Jazmin's Notebook, Talkin' About Bessie, Dark Sons, The Road to Paris, and Words With Wings; the NAACP Image Award for New York Times Bestseller Barack Obama:Son of Promise, Child of Hope; The Myra Cohn Livingston Award for Poetry; Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for One Last Word; Claudia Lewis Poetry Award; the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award; the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor; Horn Book Fanfare for Talkin' About Bessie; The Horace Mann Upstanders Book Award; the VOYA Non-Fiction Honor; The Lion & The Unicorn Award for Excellence in North American Poetry; International Youth Library White Ravens List; ALA Notables for What is Goodbye? and Words With Wings; Notable Books for a Global Society, and more.
The novel Growin' marked Grimes' entry into children's literature. In addition, her books include Something on My Mind—her first book of poetry—A Dime a Dozen, From A Child's Heart, A Girl Named Mister, Planet Middle School, Aneesa Lee & The Weaver's Gift, Chasing Freedom, the popular Dyamonde Daniel chapter book series, the beloved Meet Danitra Brown, Wild, Wild Hair, and Welcome Precious.
A much anthologized poet, her own collections include Pocketful of Poems, Poems in the Attic, Thanks a Million, When Daddy Prays, Come Sunday, Voices of Christmas, When Gorilla Goes Walking, and Shoe Magic. Check the bibliography on her website for a full listing.
In addition to her work for children, Grimes has written articles for such magazines as Essence, Horn Book, Today's Christian Woman, Book Links, English Journal, and Image: Journal of Arts & Religion, among others.
Those who follow her on social media know that Grimes is also a photographer and avid gardener with a special penchant for roses. They also know that a new poem is apt to pop up on her wall at any given time, especially if something heavy is on her heart, usually in response to a report of social injustice.
Social justice is one of the themes readers find in books written by Grimes, often set against an urban landscape. Her themes, though, are wide-ranging: bullying, friendship, foster care, forgiveness, gratitude, empathy, identity, mental illness, loss, sexual assault—all find a place in her work. Whether the themes are light or heavy, the consistent thread of hope, in stories laced with humor, are hallmarks of books written by Nikki Grimes.
Her most recent titles include the much-acclaimed novel-in-verse Garvey's Choice the groundbreaking poetry collection, One Last Word, and the picture book The Watcher. Her much anticipated memoir, Ordinary Hazards, releases October 8, 2019.
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Titles By Nikki Grimes
School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.
Garvey's father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey's life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports.
“With deceptive simplicity, Grimes captures characters and emotions by wielding a poetic form—the tanka—with superb and superhuman strength, and the result is a beautiful and brilliant book about how faith, grace, and familial love can help us triumph over adversity...” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home
Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Garvey, a beloved character, Nikki Grimes’s newest novel in verse shows readers how to find hope in difficult times.
Garvey’s finally happy—he’s feeling close to his father through their shared love of music, bullies are no longer tormenting him, and his best friends Manny and Joe are by his side. But when the schools, stores, and restaurants close because people are getting sick, Garvey’s improved life goes into lockdown as well. And when Garvey’s father gets sick, Garvey must find a way to use his newfound musical skills to bring hope to both his father and himself. Moving, powerful, and beautifully told, this remarkable novel shows readers how even small acts have large reverberations, how every person can make a difference in this world, and how—even in the most difficult times—there are ways to reach for hope and healing.
Nikki Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author who has won the ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the Children's Literature Legacy Award, the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She has also received several ALSC Notables, a Coretta Scott King Author Award, Coretta Scott King Author Honors, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors, a Printz Honor, and a Sibert Honor.
For twelve years, Joylin Johnson's life has been just fine. A game of basketball with the boys-especially her friend Jake-was all it took to put a smile on her face. Baggy jeans, T-shirt, and hair in a ponytail were easy choices. Then, everything suddenly seemed to change all at once. Her best girl friend is now flirting with her best guy friend. Her clothes seem all wrong. Jake is acting weird, and basketball isn't the same. And worst of all, there is this guy, Santiago, who appears from . . . where? What lengths will Joy go to--and who will she become--to attract his attention?
In short poems that perfectly capture the crazy feelings of adolescence and first crushes, award-winning author Nikki Grimes has crafted a delightful, often hilarious, heart-tugging story.
Robert F. Sibert Informational Honor Book
Boston Globe/Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Book
Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for Teens
Six Starred Reviews—★Booklist ★BCCB ★The Horn Book ★Publishers Weekly ★School Library Connection ★Shelf Awareness
A Booklist Best Book for Youth * A BCCB Blue Ribbon * A Horn Book Fanfare Book * A Shelf Awareness Best Children's Book * Recommended on NPR's "Morning Edition" by Kwame Alexander
"This powerful story, told with the music of poetry and the blade of truth, will help your heart grow."–Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak and Shout
"[A] testimony and a triumph."–Jason Reynolds, author of Long Way Down
In her own voice, acclaimed author and poet Nikki Grimes explores the truth of a harrowing childhood in a compelling and moving memoir in verse.
Growing up with a mother suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and a mostly absent father, Nikki Grimes found herself terrorized by babysitters, shunted from foster family to foster family, and preyed upon by those she trusted. At the age of six, she poured her pain onto a piece of paper late one night - and discovered the magic and impact of writing. For many years, Nikki's notebooks were her most enduing companions. In this accessible and inspiring memoir that will resonate with young readers and adults alike, Nikki shows how the power of those words helped her conquer the hazards - ordinary and extraordinary - of her life.
From the New York Times bestselling and Coretta Scott King award-winning author Nikki Grimes comes an emotional, special new collection of poetry inspired by the Harlem Renaissance--paired with full-color, original art from today's most exciting African-American illustrators.
Inspired by the writers of the Harlem Renaissance, bestselling author Nikki Grimes uses "The Golden Shovel" poetic method to create wholly original poems based on the works of master poets like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, Jean Toomer, and others who enriched history during this era.
Each poem is paired with one-of-a-kind art from today's most exciting African American illustrators--including Pat Cummings, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, and many more--to create an emotional and thought-provoking book with timely themes for today's readers.
A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author's note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish, but a wonderful resource and reference as well.
A 2017 New York Public Library Best Kids Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2017, Middle Grade
A School Library Journal Best Book of 2017, Nonfiction
Gabby's world is filled with daydreams. However, what began as an escape from her parents' arguments has now taken over her life. But with the help of a new teacher, 'Gabby the dreamer' might just become 'Gabby the writer' and the words that once carried her away might allow her to soar. Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, of friendship, of one girl's indomitable spirit, and of a teacher's ability to reach out and change a life.
Coretta Scott King Author Honor book
NCTE Notable Children's Books in the English Language Arts
Kirkus Reviews Best Book
In this fantastic follow-up to Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, Nikki Grimes tackles big issues like homelessness in a sensitive, kid-friendly way. Dymonde?s can-do attitude and lively spirit will endear her to readers.
Dyamonde loves eating her mom's pancakes. Free loves eating . . . period. But lately Damaris just pushes her food around her plate, and Dyamonde suspects it has something to do with the mean things classmates have been saying about people's weight. Damaris wonders if they might be talking about her too. Dyamonde knows that Damaris doesn't have a weight problem and is perfect just the way she is--so now it's time for her to make sure Damaris knows that, too.
In this fourth installment of the award-winning series, Coretta Scott King Award winner Nikki Grimes's lovable Dyamonde Daniel is back, with a timely message about self-acceptance and healthy eating habits--delivered with her trademark spunk.
Paris has just moved in with the Lincoln family, and she isn't thrilled to be in yet another foster home. She has a tough time trusting people, and she misses her brother, who's been sent to a boys' home. Over time, the Lincolns grow on Paris. But no matter how hard she tries to fit in, she can't ignore the feeling that she never will, especially in a town that's mostly white while she is half black. It isn't long before Paris has a big decision to make about where she truly belongs.