Friday, July 24, 2015

Poetry Friday: Poems in the Attic

Poems in the Attic (2015) by Nikki Grimes and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon.

This is a story in poems of a story about poems. The seven-year old narrator (and poet) finds a collection of her mother's poems in the attic of her grandmother's house. Each two-page spread shares a poem written by the narrator connected to a poem written by her mother.

The mother's poems celebrate the life and travels of a "military brat" and are located in various cities and countries with US Air Force Bases. (The Author's Note provides details about military life as her inspiration, the location of the bases referenced, and two pages about the poetry forms used in the book, free verse and tanka.) There is great interplay between the two sets of poems as we learn more about the narrator through her reflections on her own life as well as on her mother's poems.


At dinner I ask Grandma
for the chopsticks Mama
taught me to use. Once, I asked Mama
where she learned, and she just smiled.

Cherry Blossoms, Japan

Spring! Kimono time.
I joined the parade of girls
strolling avenues
dusted with cherry blossoms.
I caught a few, like snowflakes.

What I also really appreciated about this book is its portrayal of the mother's childhood. Here is an African-American young woman who is outdoorsy, adventurous, and explores and embraces other cultures. How many picture books or stories can you name that portray African-American girls kayaking, skiing, or picnicking on beetles at the base of Mount Fuji?

Happy Poetry Friday! The Poetry Friday Roundup is at Reflections on the Teche.


  1. This book looks absolutely wonderful! I've got to get my hands on it.

  2. This looks wonderful, Katie, like Rebecca said too. What a lovely idea to share with those military kids who do move and move. Thanks for telling about it!

    1. Thanks, Linda. It really does hit upon a number of topics that could resonate with kids.

  3. Gotta get my hands on this one! Thanks for the review!!

  4. Nikki Grimes is a master. I can't wait to get this one.

  5. Why haven't I read this one yet?! I remember now another post... must remedy. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks, Irene. This one is a keeper, for sure.


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