Happy Poetry Friday! (Wondering what Poetry Friday is? Click here.)
I love Nikki Grimes’ work. Before my very first poetry collection was acquired, I attended the big national SCBWI conference in L.A. in 2006. I attended a session by Nikki on how to organize a poetry collection. She offered up so much insight, and, following her smart guidance, I eventually sold that collection.
Over the past 14 years, I’ve been lucky enough to get to meet up with Nikki personally a number of times, as well as hear her speak on many occasions. And, of course, to read the many, many books she has created. Here we are earlier this year:
Nikki writes wonderful poetry, novels in verse, a memoir in verse, novels, rhyming picture books, and chapter books (and I’ve probably left something out). I know many people are sharing Nikki’s work today, and I’m betting her more recent works will be shared a lot. So I’m reaching back a bit. My favorite books of hers are her poetry collections for kids. Many of them capture moments of great pain and healing. One of my favorites is What Is Goodbye?, which feels pretty perfect for this time of grief on so many levels. But I can’t find my copy–it’s tucked away somewhere.
In the wake of some of the destruction that went on in the rioting here in the Twin Cities, I’m sharing “Shelter,” from her book Thanks a Million (a fabulous book to pair with Thanku). Homelessness is an issue that’s close to my heart for a lot of reasons, and this poem breaks me each time I read it.
I wish these walls were ours.
I wish this bed were mine,
that dinnertime meant just us three,
my brother, mom, and me.
I wish I had a room
that I was forced to clean.
I’d gripe to my best friend, then say,
“Come to my house and play.”
Things could be worse, I know.
At least, I’m not alone.
My mom and brother hold me tight
when I cry late at night.
–Nikki Grimes, from Thanks a Million, all rights reserved
Thank you, Nikki, for all the beautiful books you have sent out into the world. I look forward to many more! And for lots more wonderful poetry, don’t miss the Poetry Friday Roundup with Irene Latham. I’m so happy she came up with the idea to celebrate Nikki today!