Reviews for Words With Wings
Booklist Reviews 2013 September #2
*Starred Review* Gabby, named for the angel Gabriel, is a daydreamer, and words fire her imagination, creating new worlds for her to inhabit. After her parents separate and Gabby must go to a different school, her daydreams become increasingly vivid, intruding on the realities of the classroom and schoolwork. To Gabby's occasional puzzlement, her mother worries ("Mom names me for a / creature with wings, then wonders / what makes my thoughts fly"), but her wonderful new teacher is more patient, wisely helping her capture her daydreams on paper and inspiring a new dream to become an author: "Dad is a dreamer / and Mom is a maker. / I've been thinking, / maybe / I can be / both." Grimes, recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children, has written a novel in verse that is an enthusiastic celebration of the power of words and imagination and a dramatic demonstration that daydreamers are, as Gabby hopes, "cool." Always accessible, Grimes' language is vivid, rhythmic, and figurative: Gabby says her dreams are "fancy dancing in my mind," for example, and thoughts of a circus are a "trampoline to the big top." Plain or fancy, Grimes' words speak to the daydreamer in every reader. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2014 Spring
After Gabby's dad moved out, she "didn't cry. Instead, / I filled the quiet / with daydreams." She has trouble paying attention at school until a new teacher recognizes her love of words and allows Gabby time to write poetry. Told in free verse, this is a very accessible story about an appealing child who transforms from introverted daydreamer to writer.
Kirkus Reviews 2013 August #1
In this delightfully spare narrative in verse, Coretta Scott King Award–winning Grimes examines a marriage's end from the perspective of a child. Set mostly in the wake of her father's departure, only-child Gabby reveals with moving clarity in these short first-person poems the hardship she faces relocating with her mother and negotiating the further loss of a good friend while trying to adjust to a new school. Gabby has always been something of a dreamer, but when she begins study in her new class, she finds her thoughts straying even more. She admits: "Some words / sit still on the page / holding a story steady. / … / But other words have wings / that wake my daydreams. / They … / tickle my imagination, / and carry my thoughts away." To illustrate Gabby's inner wanderings, Grimes' narrative breaks from the present into episodic bursts of vivid poetic reminiscence. Luckily, Gabby's new teacher recognizes this inability to focus to be a coping mechanism and devises a daily activity designed to harness daydreaming's creativity with a remarkably positive result for both Gabby and the entire class. Throughout this finely wrought narrative, Grimes' free verse is tight, with perfect breaks of line and effortless shifts from reality to dream states and back. An inspirational exploration of caring among parent, teacher and child--one of Grimes' best. (Poetry. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2013 August #1
Through 70+ poems, Grimes introduces readers to Gabriella, a city girl who's prone to daydreaming, frustrating her mother and alienating Gabby from her classmates. Several poems bring readers directly into Gabby's daydreams, as she explains how a single word can set her mind whirling: "Say ‘concert,'/ and I'm somewhere/ in the past,/ sprawled out on the grass/ in Central Park,/ my head cozy/ in Mom's lap,/ her head cozy/ on Dad's shoulder." Grimes packs substantial emotional heft into her poems, especially the way that Gabby's parents' separation weighs on her. Eventually, the right teacher and the right friend provide the support and encouragement Gaby needs, and even her mother's attitude softens. Although Grimes hits the "importance of dreaming" theme a bit hard, her poems lovingly convey the rich inner life (and turmoil) of a girl in the process of finding her voice. Ages 8-12. Agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Sept.) [Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC
School Library Journal Reviews 2013 November
Gr 4-8--In this brief, free-verse novel, readers meet Gabby, whose imagination is fueled by "words with wings that wake my daydreams." Her daydreams have provided solace from her parents' arguments, but now her father has moved out and her parents are getting a divorce. At school, she finds it hard to make friends and avoid being labeled the weird girl who zones out in class. Gabby's dad is a daydreamer, too, but her practical mom chides her for not paying attention, and Gabby longs to win her mother's approval along with that of her teacher, Mr. Spicer. Gabby's struggles to stay focused in school will resonate with many youngsters, as she tries to: "…catch every single syllable that falls from Mr. Spicer's lips, pass the pop quiz, and still have enough time left to be bored." Most readers will recognize Gabby in someone they know, and this well-crafted tale should have wide appeal. With its focus on creative wordplay and imagination, it could also be an inspiring resource for creative-writing teachers.--Marilyn Taniguchi, Beverly Hills Public Library, CA [Page 97]. (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.