Books by Nikki Grimes

WORDS WITH WINGS by Nikki Grimes
Released: Sept. 1, 2013

"An inspirational exploration of caring among parent, teacher and child—one of Grimes' best. (Poetry. 8-12)"
In this delightfully spare narrative in verse, Coretta Scott King Award–winning Grimes examines a marriage's end from the perspective of a child. Read full book review >
PLANET MIDDLE SCHOOL by Nikki Grimes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 13, 2011

"A work that should help adolescent readers find the courage and humor to grow into the individuals they already are. (Verse fiction. 9-14)"
A young tomboy comes of age on and off the basketball court. Read full book review >
ALMOST ZERO by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2010

"A treasure. (Fiction. 5-8)"
"Everything we have is a gift," or at least that's what Dyamonde's mom says. Read full book review >
A GIRL NAMED MISTER by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"While this can be categorized as Christian fiction, it is much more textured than novels commonly labeled as such. (Fiction/poetry. 12 & up)"
Mary Rudine, known to everyone as Mister, is a typical high-school student, engaged in studies, sports and church. Read full book review >
RICH by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"Young readers will wish they had a friend like Dyamonde. (Fiction. 6-9)"
"Dyamonde liked to know everything, and she'd made up her mind that she was going to get to know Damaris Dancer." Read full book review >
VOICES OF CHRISTMAS by Nikki Grimes
RELIGION
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"Velasquez's striking, dramatic illustrations add to the personality of the characters, who are clearly of Middle Eastern ethnicity. (CD) (Picture book/religion. 6 & up)"
Grimes uses her talent as a poet to retell the Nativity story from several different viewpoints, each one a distinct voice with its own style. Read full book review >
MAKE WAY FOR DYAMONDE DANIEL by Nikki Grimes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: May 1, 2009

"Here's hoping this series kick-off leads to many more stories about best friends Dyamonde and Free. (Fiction. 7-10)"
Third grader Dyamonde Daniel, transplanted from Brooklyn to Washington Heights because of her parents' divorce, is looking for a best friend. Read full book review >
BARACK OBAMA by Nikki Grimes
Released: Aug. 26, 2008

"Still, of the three candidates' picture-book biographies out this season, this stands as the one most likely to communicate to children on a visceral level. (author's, illustrator's notes, resources, timeline, family tree) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)"
When David wonders why all those people on TV are shouting one man's name, his mother tells him Barack Obama's story. Read full book review >
OH, BROTHER! by Nikki Grimes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Jan. 1, 2008

"Ideal for kids coping with new step-siblings. (Picture book. 5-10)"
When his mother remarries, a young boy resents his new stepbrother until he discovers they have a lot in common. Read full book review >
WHEN GORILLA GOES WALKING by Nikki Grimes
ANIMALS
Released: May 1, 2007

"A great cover—a close-up of green-eyed, gray Gorilla's head with tongue licking her chops—is sure to entice cat lovers everywhere. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A young girl named Cecilia describes her affection and relationship with her cat, Gorilla, in short snappy poems. Read full book review >
THE ROAD TO PARIS by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: Oct. 1, 2006

"Given the dearth of success stories featuring foster children and bi-racial characters, this is all the more important. (Fiction. 8-12)"
Eight-year-old Paris Richmond has never had it easy. Read full book review >
WELCOME, PRECIOUS by Nikki Grimes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2006

"Still, this is a reassuring charmer and a sure-to-be-welcomed paean to doting parents and their cherished newborns. (Picture book/poetry. 0-3)"
Every child should be so blessed as to be welcomed to the world and into the loving embrace of an adoring family, as is the African-American newborn in this warm poetic picture book. Read full book review >
THANKS A MILLION by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: March 1, 2006

"Good job. (Picture book/poetry. 6-10)"
Gratitude for simple pleasures and small kindnesses is the theme of Grimes's newest collection of poems. Read full book review >
DARK SONS by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: Sept. 1, 2005

"The strength of the poetry along with this assumption that religion and a relationship with God are an integral part of life distinguishes and illuminates the narrative. (Fiction. YA)"
Grimes contrasts the Biblical story of Abraham's son Ishmael with present day Samuel's trying to cope with divorce and his father's remarriage. Read full book review >
DANITRA BROWN, CLASS CLOWN by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: July 1, 2005

"A charmer. (Picture book/poetry. 8-10)"
Danitra Brown is back and so is her friend Zuri. Read full book review >
AT JERUSALEM’S GATE by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

"A handsome, well-designed offering for middle readers and families. (Poetry. 10+)"
Through beautiful, lucid free verse, Nikki Grimes explores some of the ambiguous, enigmatic events and circumstances leading up to the central theme behind the annual Easter observance. Read full book review >
WHAT IS GOODBYE? by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: April 1, 2004

"Small colored-pencil illustrations thoughtfully capture some of the conflicting emotions and images in the poetry. (author's note) (Poetry. 9-13)"
The unimaginably painful situation of losing a sibling is the theme of this poetry collection, told in alternating viewpoints by a younger brother and sister in the year after their older brother's sudden death from an unspecified cause. Read full book review >
TAI CHI MORNING by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Jan. 1, 2004

"While it might be hard to find an audience for this, it opens up possibilities for history, culture, and poetry classes for middle grades. (Poetry/travel. 8-12)"
In 1988, poet Grimes was part of an artists' tour of China, performing, reading, traveling, and teaching. Read full book review >
TALKIN’ ABOUT BESSIE by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: Nov. 1, 2002

"Brave Bessie Coleman," the first black woman in the world to earn a pilot's license, has been the subject of several recent picture book biographies: (Fly, Bessie, Fly, by Lynn Joseph, 1998; Fly High!, by Louise Borden and Mary Kay Kroeger, 2001; Nobody Owns the Sky, by Reeve Lindbergh, 1996). Read full book review >
UNDER THE CHRISTMAS TREE by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2002

"Both poetry and art succeed in being forceful without being preachy and sweet without being saccharine. (Poetry. 6-10)"
Grimes (Talkin' About Bessie, p. 1530, etc.) explores the Christmas season through a poetic prism, examining both positive and negative aspects of the holiday. Read full book review >
DANITRA BROWN LEAVES TOWN by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Jan. 1, 2002

"How nice for Zuri and for young readers that Danitra has returned. (Picture book. 7-10)"
Fans of this author-illustrator team's Meet Danitra Brown (1994) will welcome their latest effort about Danitra and her best friend, Zuri Jackson. Read full book review >
BRONX MASQUERADE by Nikki Grimes
FICTION
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"At the end of the term, a new student who is black and Vietnamese finds a morsel of hope that she too will find a place in the poetry. (Fiction. 12-15)"
This is almost like a play for 18 voices, as Grimes (Stepping Out with Grandma Mac, not reviewed, etc.) moves her narration among a group of high school students in the Bronx. Read full book review >
WHEN DADDY PRAYS by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Jan. 1, 2001

"A unique offering for a family read-aloud. (Poetry. 4-6)"
Fourteen graceful poems portray a small boy's relationship with his prayerful father. Read full book review >
SHOE MAGIC by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2000

"Dreamers and doers both will find inspiration here. (Picture book/poetry. 7-9)"
Urging readers to understand that "What you do, / Where you go, / Who you grow / Up to be / Depends on / The steps you take," these poems profile children trying on shoes for the future. Read full book review >
IS IT FAR TO ZANZIBAR by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: March 30, 2000

"A list defining the Swahili words (with pronunciations) and a bare-bones map of the country complete this compelling package. (Poetry/picture book. 5-8)"
Thirteen brief, playful poems give us a glimpse at life in rural Tanzania, including its offshore island, Zanzibar. Read full book review >
AT BREAK OF DAY by Nikki Grimes
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

"Other contemporary creation stories, such as Julius Lester's What a Truly Cool World and Caitl°n Matthews's The Blessing Seed (both, 1998) could be used with this one for a tender trilogy. (Picture book. 4-8)"
A lovely and poetic recasting of the Biblical creation story in a modern spirit, from the versatile Grimes (My Man Blue, p. 721, etc.). Read full book review >
ANEESA LEE AND THE WEAVER'S GIFT by Nikki Grimes
Released: Oct. 1, 1999

"Some pictures achieve a shimmering intensity: those created for "Sunset" and "Once" are so full of motion, they hardly lie still on the page. (glossary) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)"
PLB 0-688-15998-2 From Grimes (My Man Blue, p. 721, etc.), 13 brief poems about the art of weaving, literally and figuratively. Read full book review >
MY MAN BLUE by Nikki Grimes
Released: May 1, 1999

"Lagarrigue's illustrations are brooding gardens of color that hold the forces of disorder and menace at bay, while Damon's cool earnestness—as well as his courage and independence—brighten each page. (Picture book. 6-10)"
This against-the-odds book from Grimes (Jazmin's Notebook, 1998, etc.) tells of an African-American boy living in a neighborhood that cuts him no slack, and the man who helps keep his feet grounded and his self-esteem steady against the occasional buffeting of his peers. Read full book review >
HOPSCOTCH LOVE by Nikki Grimes
Released: Jan. 1, 1999

"Grimes and Rosales succeed in imparting the small, telling moments in loving relationships. (Poetry. 10-13)"
Poems about love indeed hopscotch among the generations, and every one of the 22 entries tells a story. Read full book review >
JAZMIN'S NOTEBOOK by Nikki Grimes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: June 1, 1998

"Especially effective are Jazmin's witty descriptions of neighbors and local characters; just as compelling is Jazmin's interior landscape, in which a wiser, more reflective voice hints at the young woman—and writer—she'll become. (Fiction. 10-12)"
There's a poetic soul taking notes up on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City, and her name is Jazmin Shelby, the star witness to the hard lives and high hopes in a novel from Grimes (Come Sunday, 1996, etc.). Read full book review >
COME SUNDAY by Nikki Grimes
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: July 1, 1996

"Whatever their religious background, readers will smile at the jubilation. (Picture book. 4-8)"
 Composed as a suite of pitch-perfect poems, Grimes (Portrait of Mary, 1994, etc.) affectionately portrays a young girl's enjoyment of the spirit and practice of Sunday services in her community's church. Read full book review >
PORTRAIT OF MARY by Nikki Grimes
Released: Sept. 1, 1994

"Enough said."
 Children's author Grimes (From a Child's Heart, 1993, etc.) does an adult turn with this mild historical fiction about the mother of Jesus. Read full book review >
MEET DANITRA BROWN by Nikki Grimes
POETRY
Released: April 1, 1994

"EWSLUGp1989. (Poetry/Picture book. 5-11)"
 In a lively cycle of 13 poems by the author of Somethin' on My Mind (1978), Zuri Jackson celebrates her vibrant best friend Danitra: ``the most splendiferous girl in town...She's not afraid to take a dare./If something's hard, she doesn't care./She'll try her best, no matter what.'' Danitra shares work, play, and confidences with equal verve, knows how to defuse a mean tease or comfort a friend, and loves to wear purple. Read full book review >
FROM A CHILD'S HEART by Nikki Grimes
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

"A lovely, deeply felt book. (Poetry/Picture book. 6-12)"
 Thirteen subtly cadenced, accessible poems in an authentically childlike voice: messages confided to God as to a trusted friend. Read full book review >