Words with Wings
By Nikki Grimes
Coretta Scott King Honor Book
Words with Wings began as a picture book, but a wise editor asked Nikki to develop it into a novel. Nikki created seventy-one poems to tell us Gabby’s story.
Except for English, Gabby is not the best student, she day dreams most of the time. Her mother tries to get her to stop, while her father encourages it. Her mother and father split and Gabby expresses her pain through poems. Determined, Gabby tries very hard to not daydream, but her world is dull and even her teacher who normally scolds her for daydreaming, asks if she is okay. Gabby makes a friend with an artist. One day, while passing notes back and forth, Gabby is caught. She walks her story of her daydream up to the teacher, returns to her seat and waits for her punishment. Only it doesn’t come. She worries all night. The next day, after class, her teacher asks to talk to her. He tells her,
“It’s wonderfully vivid,” he says.
“In fact, it’s given me an idea.
I’ll tell you all about it,
She’s dismissed and floats out of the room. The next day the teacher announces they will have 10 minutes of daydream time every day, after which they can write them down. Gabby’s whole life changes. With a channel for her creativity, her relationship with her mom even changes. Find out how.
A touching story, vivid in its descriptions, readers become part of Gabby’s experience.