NCTE 2021 Notable Poetry Books and Verse Novels

School Library Journal has announced the selected books for the annual list from the NCTE Excellence in Children’s Poetry Award Committee that are their picks for the best poetry books and verse novels of 2020. The list contains 25 books of poetry and 13 verse novels. The list focuses on ages 3-13 and feature books that are notable for their use of language and poetic devices. Here are the notable titles:

All He Knew by Helen Frost

Amphibian Acrobats by Leslie Bulion, illustrated by Robert Meganck

Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson & Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile

Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson

BenBee and the Teacher Griefer by A.K. Holt

Black Is a Rainbow Color by Angela Joy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Michele Wood

By and By: Charles Albert Tindley, the Father of Gospel Music by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Bryan Collier

The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling

Cast Away by Naomi Shihab Nye

Closer to Nowhere by Ellen Hopkins

Construction People edited by Lee Bennet Hopkins, illustrated by Ellen Shi

Dictionary for a Better World by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

Flooded: Requiem for Johnstown by Ann E. Burg

Follow the Recipe: Poems about Imagination, Celebration and Cake by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

Grasping Mysteries: Girls Who Loved Math by Jeannine Atkins

Green on Green by Dianne White

I Wish by Toon Tellegen, illustrated by Ingrid Godon

I’m Feeling Blue, Too! by Marjorie Maddox, illustrated by Philip Huber

In the Woods by David Elliott, illustrated by Rob Dunlavey

Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar

Love, Love by Victoria Chang

Mexique: A Refugee Story from the Spanish Civil War by Maria Jose Ferrada, illustrated by Ana Penyas, translated by Elisa Amado

A New Green Day by Antoinette Portis

No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History by Lindsay H. Metcalf, Keila V. Dawson & Jeanette Bradley, editors, illustrated by Jeanette Bradley

On a Snow Melting Day by Buffy Silverman

On the Horizon by Lois Lowry, illustrated by Kenard Pak

A Place Inside of Me by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Noa Denmon

The Places We Sleep by Caroline Brooks DuBois

Snow Birds by Kirsten Hall, illustrated by Jenni Desmond

Summer Feet by Sheree Fitch, illustrated by Carolyn Fisher

This Poem Is a Nest by Irene Latham, illustrated by Johanna Wright

When You Breathe by Diana Farid, illustrated by Billy Renkl

When You Know What I Know by Sonja Solter

Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand Up to a Bully by Darlene Beck Jacobson

Woke: A Young Poet’s Call to Justice by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo & Olivia Gatwood, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III

The World Below the Brine by Walt Whitman, illustrated by James Christopher Carroll

Write! Write! Write! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke

News to Wake Your Brain Cells – April 16


7 excellent picture books about Eid – Book Riot

8 children’s books you can read this Ramadan – Chicago Parent

Asian & Asian-American children’s books – What We Do All Day

How children’s books carry on the struggle for civil rights – Boston Globe

Jon Klassen meets Samuel Beckett in a hilariously dark picture book – The New York Times

A picture book about children at the border aims to spark family conversations – NPR


Public libraries can tap into eligible funds worth billions – Governing

The Queens Public Library is more important than ever on its 125th anniversary – The Ticker


20 more must-read YA verse novels – Book Riot

24 YA romance books hitting shelves this spring that are delightfully charming – BuzzFeed

Here’s to 18 of the most crushworthy queer YA novels – BuzzFeed

Jason Reynolds to serve as inaugural chair of Banned Books Week – EW

‘Love, Simon’ writer Becky Albertalli’s ‘The Upside of Unrequited’ to be adapted for film – Variety