Garvey's Choice

Garvey's Choice

4.01 (3,181 ratings by Goodreads)
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A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Garvey's father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey's life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.
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Product details

  • 9-12
  • Hardback | 120 pages
  • 127 x 187 x 15.24mm | 255g
  • Honesdale, United States
  • English
  • 1629797405
  • 9781629797403
  • 47,036

Review quote


* "Grimes returns to the novel-in-verse format, creating voice, characters, and plot in a series of pithy tanka poems, a traditional Japanese form similar to haiku, but using five lines. (w)ritten from Garvey's point of view, the succinct verses convey the narrative as well as his emotions with brevity, clarity, and finesse." Booklist, starred review

* "(A) sensitively written middle grade novel in verse; (readers) will fall hard for Garvey, a tender, sincere boy who dislikes athletics. Grimes writes about adolescent friendships in a way that feels deeply human. A short, sweet, satisfying novel in verse that educators and readers alike will love." School Library Journal, starred review

* "Grimes' newest follows a young black boy searching for his own unique voice, lost among his father's wishes and society's mischaracterizations. This compassionate, courageous, and hopeful novel explores the constraints placed on black male identity and the corresponding pains and struggles that follow when a young black boy must confront these realities both at home and in school.... This graceful novel risks stretching beyond easy, reductive constructions of black male coming-of-age stories and delivers a sincere, authentic story of resilience and finding one's voice." Kirkus Reviews, starred review

*"Writing in five-line tanka poems, Grimes (Words with Wings) weaves a heart-wrenching story about a boy who isn't the jock his father dreamed he would be; in simple, searing language, Grimes captures Garvey's heartache at his father's inability to accept him as he is, as well as the casual but wounding teasing Garvey endures at school...Garvey's journey to self-acceptance is deeply moving and will linger with readers long after they finish this brief, incisive verse novel." -Publishers Weekly, starred review

*"Grimes uses novel-in-verse format to tell Garvey's story from his perspective. Similar to haiku, Grimes writes in tankas, another form of Japanese poetry. The poems are succinct and rhythmic, making this an ideal book for reluctant readers or those challenged by large chapter books. Middle school students will easily be able to find elements of themselves, siblings, or friends in the character of Garvey. Grimes delivers a compassionate bildungsroman story that gives glimpses of hope for Garvey's future." -School Library Connection, starred review

"Grimes tells a big-hearted story of Garvey...(e)mploying the Japanese poetic form of tanka, five-line poems (or, here, stanzas) with haiku-like syllable counts, Grimes reveals Garvey's thoughts, feelings, and observations, the spare poetry a good vehicle for a young man's attempts to articulate the puzzle that is his life." -Horn Book Reviews
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About Nikki Grimes

Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her books include the New York Times best seller Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope and the Dyamonde Daniel chapter-book series. She won the Coretta Scott King Award for Bronx Masquerade and earned a Coretta Scott King Author Honor five times--for Words with Wings, Jazmin's Notebook, Dark Sons, Talkin' about Bessie, and The Road to Paris. She lives in Corona, California. Visit
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Rating details

3,181 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 34% (1,074)
4 42% (1,328)
3 19% (602)
2 4% (112)
1 2% (65)
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