Written in Verse: Verse Novels for Young Readers

Not all novels are written in prose. Although they may be few, novels in verse for young readers are often the most critically acclaimed and accessible, especially for reluctant readers. What exactly are novels in verse? They are narratives that are written in poetry form. Most often this poetry is in the form of free verse. Verse novels are not to be confused with a collection of poems or epic poetry, but rather they have a distinct narrative style.

For struggling or reluctant readers, verse novels are less intimidating than chapter books, as there are fewer words and sentences on each page. This type of poetry also allows young readers to think in a way that is different from reading your run-of-the-mill chapter book. Verse novels can present readers with abstract concepts and introduce them to an abundance of literary devices. As an art form, poetry is powerful and makes these novels successful and no less engaging than a lengthy chapter book. In the case of verse novels, less is most certainly more.

Below you will find a sample of some of the best verse novels for young readers:
Verse Novels 1
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Verse Novels 2
Finding Wonders: Three Girls Who Changed Science by Jeanne Atkins

Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
—Melissa Nemitz, West Windsor Branch


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