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Verse Novels for Primary Children

best verse novels for primary children

Best Verse Novels for Primary School Children

Verse novels offer primary school children a new and exciting reading experience. Appealing to both enthusiastic and reluctant readers, this format blends the melody of poetry with the joy of storytelling.

This booklist highlights the best verse novels for Key Stage 2, featuring captivating narratives told in a lyrical style. The verse novels in this booklist range from historial fiction to reimagined fairy tales, covering universal themes such as friendship and family which are bound to appeal to primary aged readers.

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Malorie Blackman
Chapter book

Written in different forms of poetry and told as a flashback, this is a heart-wrenching story that offers many possibilities for engagement and discussion. Dealing with themes of bullying, courage, unlikely friendships, loyalty and betrayal, this book explores a child’s ability to perceive everyday experiences in a multi-sensory way.

Davey is new at school and attracts the attention of the school bully, Sam, who makes fun of the holes in his jumper and his unusual ideas. But then Davey heroically saves Sam’s life and the pair become friends. Davey shares a secret with Sam, but when Sam betrays that secret it puts Davey in a life-threatening situation which changes everything.

Matt Goodfellow
 & Joe Todd-Stanton
Poetry

This is an extraordinary verse novel about the final year of primary school, told through poetry. The verse captures the character of Year 6 pupil Nate as he navigates issues of school, family illness, emotions, change and friendships. Year 6 is a difficult year for many children and whilst they are unlikely to have it quite as difficult as Nate, the book still captures some of that flavour, including the run-up to SATs, friendship issues and anxiety during a time when a sense of big changes is in the air.

Through his powerful verses, ex-primary school teacher Matt Goodfellow pays testament to the impact of a great teacher in supporting pupils through this time as well as the power of words and writing to help manage big emotions. Joe Todd Stanton’s drawings add to the text, with the simple drawings softening the harshness of the story’s real-world themes. The cover is striking, and I was instantly reminded of Skellig by David Almond, which is referenced throughout the book.

Whilst I read this in one go (I simply couldn’t put it down) it is not an ‘easy’ read in many ways and it is a very emotional story. I also think that it will take a mature child to ‘read between the lines’ and understand the text at a deeper level, even in Year 6. Believe the hype and the praise, this book is every bit as good as everyone is saying.

Sharon Creech
Poetry
A story told entirely through narrative verse. Slowly Jack learns the pleasures of writing poetry as Miss Stretchberry encourages him to tell his own story through verse. What emerges is a moving and memorable verse novel about a boy and his dog and his growing passion for poetry.
Coral Rumble
Poetry

This beautiful verse novel follows a girl in the transition period from primary to secondary school. The individual poems that make up the story play wonderfully with shape, rhythm and language and deliver a range of styles mirroring the complex emotional themes.

The book includes topics of domestic violence, bullying and homelessness discussed from a child’s perspective. These are handled sensitively and there is an overall sense of positivity and optimism.

It’s a powerful, empathetic book particularly suited to year 6.

Aimee Lucido
Chapter book

Suitable for Upper KS2/Lower KS3, this is a verse novel about an American girl called Emmy who tries to figure out the ups and downs of life while balancing her two separate passions; coding and music. As the book progresses, Emmy’s two worlds begin to interweave, showing how notes, beats and rhythms overlap with code, language and algorithms.

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Stone Girl Bone Girl

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