Another all-time favorite. There aren’t too many verse novels out there and there are only a handful that I can think of in the middle grades. This one is just stunning.
Beginning: August 1920
As summer wheat came ripe,
so did I,
born at home, on the kitchen floor.
barefoot, bare bottomed
over the swept boards,
because that’s where Daddy said it’d be best.
I came too fast for the doctor,
bawling as soon as Daddy wiped his hand around
inside my mouth.
To hear Ma tell it,
I hollered myself red the day I was born.
Red’s the color I’ve stayed ever since.
Daddy named me Billie Jo.
He wanted a boy.
he got a long-legged girl
with a wide mouth
and cheekbones like bicycle handles.
He got a redheaded, freckle-faced, narrow-hipped girl
with a fondness for apples
and a hunger for playing fierce piano.