We’ve put together a roundup of titles to get you excited about National Poetry Month, including new 2023 titles with an abundance of stars like Bea Wolf and We Are All So Good at Smiling! Read more about their stars below!
Plus, click these titles to request a digital review copy of Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith; illustrated by Boulet and Saints of the Household by Ari Tison!
Five Stars for We Are All So Good at Smiling!
We Are All So Good at Smiling by Amber McBride
They Both Die at the End meets The Bell Jar in this haunting, beautiful young adult novel-in-verse about clinical depression and healing from trauma, from National Book Award Finalist Amber McBride.
“Stunning... Readers will revel in the depth of Whimsy and Faerry’s relationship, all the while finding solace and relief in the calculated messiness of their search for wholeness.” —Booklist, starred review
“This phenomenal novel-in-verse transports readers into an impassioned tale of heartache and hope that belongs on every bookshelf serving teens.” —School Library Journal, starred review
“Raw and poignant and promising hope, even when it seems there is no way out.” —Shelf Awareness, starred review
“The choice of verse to tell this absorbing story is a strong one; readers are drawn along by the intense and vivid imagery, and the depictions of clinical depression, guilt, and grief are visceral. McBride explores the impact of the intersection between Blackness and mental illness … and the difficulties of two unusual young people finding refuge through friendship from the pressures the world exerts on them. Whimsy’s practice of Hoodoo and the empowerment she receives from the magic inside and around her help her contend with her depression and unravel her grief without negating a brutal, yet ultimately hopeful, reality. ..Important messages uniquely delivered.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“McBride makes exceptional use of the verse novel format, with some poems reading almost as detailed and descriptive prose, while other entries are just a few judiciously chosen lines that make readers slow down and work a bit to parse out full meaning.” —Bulletin of the Center of Children’s Books, starred review
Five Stars for Bea Wolf!
Bea Wolf by Zach Weinersmith; illustrated by Boulet
A modern middle-grade graphic novel retelling of Beowulf, featuring a gang of troublemaking kids who must defend their tree house from a fun-hating adult who can instantly turn children into grown-ups.
“Weinersmith’s richly evocative turns of phrase run the gamut from hilarious to heart-rending and maintain the flavor of the original without bogging the pace down amid the kennings. Boulet’s illustrations imbue the shenanigans with gleeful energy and a touch of dark absurdity that children, seeing their own fears and triumphs reflected, will delight in.”—Kirkus, starred review
“Readers will wish they could pledge their plastic swords to defending Treeheart and the sanctity of wild childhoods everywhere.”—School Library Journal, starred review
“This is true bardic glory, a wild embrace of absurdity and wit with exaggerated language used for maximum impact…Boulet’s illustrations are no less epic than the story, and the finely lined black and white drawings invite careful examination, with the payoff being clever visual side jokes.”—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review
“[Bea Wolf is] a truly fresh, inventive remix that privileges childhood’s insular sensibilities alongside an unsettling truth: ‘Time lingers for no kid.'”— Publisher’s Weekly, starred review
“Dramatic shadows and lighting, cinematic angles, and the stern expressions of kids with underwear on their heads deliciously heighten the drama. It’s a madcap adventure that’s a sheer delight to read out loud, and that would be plenty on its own, but this uproarious take on a classroom staple slyly introduces some—gasp!—educational elements (summed up in an entertaining author’s note) boisterously demonstrating that not all historical literature is as bone dry as it might seem.”—Booklist, starred review