All the Broken Pieces - a Novel in Verse by Ann E. Burg 2009
Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate 2007
I give both of these books a high recommendation! I'm reviewing them together because they are so similar. First off, they are found in Fiction, but contain so much true history, they could easily be historical fiction. They are both set in the United States and the main characters in both stories is a boy, pre-teenish aged, who comes from a war-ravaged country; in Pieces, it's Matt from Viet Nam; and in Brave, it's Kek from the Sudan. Each boy brings with him bitter/sweet memories of his homeland. Wonderful images of family, homelife, and native foods, are mixed with harrowing recollections of gunsmoke, blood, and fear. Two lives resemble each other so closely, yet they are thousands of miles apart, as well as several decades.
Matt has been adopted into a loving American family. He discovers he likes, and is very good at, baseball. But he must face the prejudice of a teammate who lost a brother in Viet Nam. Kek is a refugee who ends up in Minnesota with an aunt and cousin, also from Africa. He fights daily to keep the hope alive that his mother survived an attack on their village and will soon join him. The two lives in these separate stories resemble each other so closely, yet they are set thousands of miles apart, as well as several decades. Beautifully written and heartwarming, these stories will help you better appreciate living in a land where constant civil unrest and conflict are not a daily occurrence. Well done, Burg and Applegate!
What does verse mean? It's a free form of poetry, sometimes called "free verse", no rhyming, but with all the smoothness, emotion and musicality of poetry. There's much less text than a regular novel, which appeals to a lot of readers. Some kids flip through a book looking for white space. The more white space, the better! Encourage your readers to read novels in verse! It's an "artsy" form of writing, full of emotion as well as information!