12 Terrific Novels in Verse for Your Classroom

Stories that will move you and your students.

Best Novels in Verse for the Classroom

In honor of National Poetry Month, here are 12 of the best novels in verse that not only celebrate poetry’s contribution to the literary world, but also, highlight diverse stories of family, love, life, death, resistance, and redemption.

1. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

The Poet X - Best Novels in Verse

Struggling to find her way in the world, Xiomara joins her school’s slam poetry club as a way to understand her life and tell her own story. BUY IT

2. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out and Back Again

When the Vietnam War forces Hà and her family to flee to America, she must learn how to adapt to her new life, while coping with all that she left behind. BUY IT

3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming

Woodson tells the story of her upbringing from South Carolina to Brooklyn, New York in the 1960s and 1970s. At the heart of this coming-of-age tale is Woodson’s desire to find her own voice. BUY IT

4. House Arrest by K.A. Holt

house arrest ny k a holt

In an effort to help his mother pay for his brother’s expensive medicine, Timothy steals a wallet. He is caught and sentenced to one year of house arrest where he must stay out of trouble, yet still support his family. BUY IT

5. Caminar by Skila Brown


Caminar hi res

Based on Guatemala’s civil war, Carlos, a young boy flees home without his mother to warn his grandmother’s village about the Communist rebels who have come to destroy their villages. BUY IT

6. Red Butterfly by A.L. Sonnichsen

Red Butterfly

Orphaned at birth, Kara longs to understand the secrets of her life, why her mother won’t leave their apartment, why she can’t leave Tianjin to live with her father in Montana, and how she will find a place to call home. BUY IT

7. Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

Full Cicada Moon

After moving to an all-white town, Mimi, who is half-Japanese and half-black struggles to fit in and pursue her dream of becoming an astronaut. BUY IT

8. Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

Long way down

After his brother’s murder, Will decides to get revenge. However, on each floor of his elevator ride down, he encounters the ghost of someone connected to his slain brother. Each encounter forces him to consider his desire for revenge. BUY IT

9. Serafina’s Promise by Ann Burg

Serafinas Promise

Serafina dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor, but family obligation and the earthquake that ravishes her rural Haitian village create insurmountable obstacles. BUY IT

10. The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Red Pencil

A young Sudanese girl, Amira must figure out how to succeed against all odds after a militia destroys her town. BUY IT

11. A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman

A time to dance

Celebrated dancer, Veda is forced to come to terms with an accident that has left her unable to do the thing she loves most. BUY IT

12. Booked by Kwame Alexander

Booked by Kwame

Star soccer player, Nick must navigate middle school, friendships and bullying, while coping with his parents’ divorce. BUY IT

What do you think are the best novels in verse? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.

Plus, check out our list of poetry books for kids and must-teach poems for middle school.


12 terrific novels