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Words with Wings

4.08 of 5 stars 4.08  ·  rating details  ·  975 ratings  ·  202 reviews
Gaby daydreams to tune out her parents’ arguments, but when her parents divorce and she begins a new school, daydreaming gets her into trouble. Her mother scolds her for it, her teacher keeps telling her to pay attention, and the other kids tease her...until she finds a friend who also daydreams and her teacher decides to work a daydreaming-writing session into every schoo ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published September 1st 2013 by WordSong (first published January 1st 2013)
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Knock Knock by Daniel BeatyWords with Wings by Nikki GrimesCreepy Carrots! by Aaron ReynoldsFlora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamilloJourney by Aaron Becker
2014 Award Winners
2nd out of 72 books — 13 voters
The Guy Next Door by Meg CabotHe Typed. She Typed. by Mark Van WyeSave Karyn by Karyn BosnakPlay It Again, SAHM by Meredith EfkenThe Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger
15th out of 27 books — 4 voters

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Community Reviews

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Sep 14, 2013 Ed added it
Grimes, N. (2013). Words with wings. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mill Press. 96 pp. ISBN: 978-1-59078-985-8. (Hardcover); $15.95.

In all fairness, as much as I adore this book, I am not the best person to review it. I am, however, the BEST person to talk about one of the characters in the book because that person is the real, live, nonfiction ME! If one takes a look at the acknowledgment page, one will see that the teacher character in this book is named for me because of several questions I an
**ARC thanks to Netgalley**

To be honest, when I opened the book tonight, I was just planning to skim the first few pages to get the gist for now. That did not happen -- I started reading the first poem and did not stop until I read the last. Halfway through, I was salivating to share with my next-year students.

The vivid language, the simple (yet, oh-so-deep) story....perfection.

Laura Salas
This beautiful story in poems presents a daydreamer kid and a teacher who really makes a difference in her life. Excellent imagery, interesting story arc, and a sympathetic main character made this story one that I zipped right through. It was totally satisfying, even though I didn't really want it to end! A real gem.
Tamera Wissinger
Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes is a tenderly written contemporary verse novel with a sensitive, imaginative young protagonist – Gabrielle (named after the angel Gabriel because, “He was so fierce people fainted at the very sight of him.” There is much to love about this story told in Gaby’s first person narrative voice. First and foremost, it does exactly what a good verse novel should do: the poems work together to each reveal more of the story as Gaby struggles to cope with her parent’s divo ...more
Kristen Carson
Book Information:
The genre of this book is poetry and fiction. The reading level is grades third-fifth
This book is about a girl named Gabby. Gabby daydreams constantly and when her parents separate, she finds that daydreaming is a way for her to escape to a new world. She finds that not only is day dreaming an escape from her life but she can't seem to stop now. Her life seems like a huge daydream. When she moves to a new home with her mom and a new school she still can't seem to stop da
Alyse Erickson
Grimes, N. (2013). Words with wings. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mill Press.

This novel-in-verse tackles quite a few issues using a small amount of words. This book is special because it emphasis the importance of writing and the impact a teacher can have on a student. Gaby is a daydreamer which gets her into trouble both and home and in school. When Gaby's parents’ divorce and she enters a new school her daydreaming get worse. At first her teacher tries to divert Gaby's attention but when Gaby
Jessica Cain
Summary and Critique:
This book was composed of 70+ poems of the journey through Gabriella's life. She is a daydreamer which is frustrating to her mother and classmates at school because one simple word you say could send her mind going crazy. Her parents get divorces which really affected her and her emotions. Her dad moved away and she was left living with her mom. When her parents split it made her daydreaming worse because it was an escape for her. She misses the way her family used to be an
Brady Stevens
Dec 09, 2014 Brady Stevens added it
Shelves: 307
This is a story of a little girl named Gabby. Gabby's parents fight a lot and have arguments constantly so she daydreams to tune them out. Her parents end up getting a divorce and Gaby now goes to a new school. There Gaby daydreams a lot and get in trouble by the teacher and her other. t was until Gaby was paired up with a new friend who also daydreams. They both now have a daydreaming writing session and have journals full of dreams. Gaby now is more confident about herself and her futures. Thi ...more
Mary Lee
A peek into the mind of a daydreamer, and a teacher to add to our Great Teachers in Children's Literature list on the blog.
4.5 stars

Words with Wings is wonderfully evocative, and is easy to read. It blends the story of what is happening in Gabriella's life with the vivid pictures the she paints in her mind. The poetry and the structure of individual poems inspired by specific words interspersed into narrative poems captures the capricious nature of the mind. It felt like my mind was floating like a kite along with Gabriella's.

I liked the fact that this book has a positive message about being a dreamer, even if it mi
It doesn’t take Nikki Grimes long to tell a good story, and this time she’s written a verse novel, brief, but spanning the year of a young girl Gabriel, in and out of all her daydreams. In this year, Gabriel’s voice shouts “I am me, who I want to be” (my words), but others don’t like who she is, a daydreamer. She must survive her parents’ separation, which means her father is not around too much, and he was the “other” dreamer in the family. As Nikki Grimes writes, the only thing in common with ...more
Gabriela is still dealing with the divorce of her parents and having to start a new school and make new friends. Her mother worries that her daydreaming and failing to pay attention in class will result in missed work and poor grades. Her dreamy behavior often leads to teasing from her classmates. Certain words send her off on flights of fancy that distract her from her tasks but result in imaginative, expressive writing. As her teacher, Mr. Spicer, modeled after the real, live Ed Spicer, and he ...more
Poetry is the perfect format for this lovely short story about a girl with a vivid imagination. Gabriella is heartbroken when her parents split up and she is forced to move away from her old neighborhood and best friend. She starts at a new school, where she has trouble concentrating, but her teacher soon recognizes her special qualities and comes up with an inspired idea to encourage Gabby and the other kids in the class to use their imaginations.

The book uses one font to move the narration alo
Laurie Gray
Nikki Grimes' novel in verse is a celebration of imagination sure to inspire young dreamers everywhere and to encourage their teachers and parents to help them harness that creative energy and turn it into a passion they can pursue with confidence. Perfect for reading aloud with third and fourth graders, Words with Wings takes the fears and hopes of one child and spins them into a story for children of all ages. Grimes is particularly adept at packing vivid imagery and powerful emotions into ver ...more
Jan De la Rosa
*ARC from Netgalley*

"Dad is a dreamer and Mom is a maker. I've been thinking, maybe I can be both".

This is the story about a girl named after an angel that has trouble keeping her head on the ground. She wonders and her imagination drifts away, a lot and in places or moments were she is not supposed to daydream. The words have wings, like her, taking us to strange places were thoughts must be lost, because that's how we discover new things.

I really liked this. It's totally not supposed to be rea
Katrina Burchett
Gabby is a girl with a vivid imagination. Her mother doesn't understand her 'wandering mind'. Classmates tease her and call her weird. Will Gabby abandon her creativity? Or will she continue to let her "Words with Wings" fly?

Nikki Grimes' verse novel is beautifully crafted. It will bring encouragement to creative children who are misunderstood and treated badly because they're seen as "different" and "weird". It validates their uniqueness. WORDS WITH WINGS is a MUST HAVE BOOK for elementary scho
Beautifully written. Lovely poems about a daydreamer.
Brenda Kahn
This is a (very) quick read, but (very) powerful tribute to the power of imagination as well as a gentle reminder to adults taking care of or teaching kids to celebrate the daydreamers. Gabby is achingly real and articulates her confusion well while still sounding like a kid. She wants to please her mother, she misses her father terribly, she's lonely and needs a friend who doesn't think she's a freak. It's all there in these spare poems that pack an emotional wallop in nearly every one. It woul ...more
Fabulous book that helps teachers and students to see the power in daydreams and how they can encourage writing and imagination rather than stifling them! Young Gabby is encouraged to continue dreaming those dreams through her teacher Mr. Spicer (named after the real classroom teacher Ed Spicer). This book helps us all to harness the power of daydreams and to understand how they can expand children's thinking and creativity if harnessed in appropriate ways. We are all reminded to keep dreaming w ...more
I read "Words With Wings" and I did like it, but I did not think it was the best book ever. I liked it because of the main character, it seemed like she was always in her own world because all she would do is daydream and that would always take her to a different place. I didn't like this book so much because of the story almost because it felt as if I knew what was going to happen because in the story she took you through everything, which is good, but too much where there was no ending because ...more
Shannon Jacob
Grimes, N. (2013). Words with Wings. Honesdale: WordSong.

American Library Association – 2014 Notable’s Children Book

Fiction Choice

Literary Genre

This book is special because it emphasis the importance of writing and the impact a teacher can have on a student. Gaby is a daydreamer which gets her into trouble both and home and in school. When Gaby's parents divorce and she enters a new school her daydreaming get worse. At first her teacher tries to divert Gaby's attention but when Gaby befriends an
I was recently introduced to Nikki Grimes and her way with words after this book was recommended to me by a friend. It's amazing how such a small book can have such a powerful impact. Words have a way of leaving a mark-molding and shaping us into better versions of ourselves. They become our teachers.

Everyone can trace their success back to a single teacher-that one person- who recognized the importance of the human connection and built a relationship that left an everlasting imprint.

It's impo
Jun 30, 2014 Julie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 5th-9th graders
Confession: I don't care for poetry. Sorry! I mean, I like children's books written in verse, but that's not really "poetry". As a kid, I enjoyed Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky -- particularly for the illustrations and funny content. And I suppose that, for every twenty poems or so that I have been forced to read, I can find one that I can appreciate. But generally, I don't enjoy poetry and I don't seek it out.

Earlier this year, I read "May B." -- an entire book written in verse! The sparse
Barb Middleton
This novel-in-verse tackles quite a few issues using a small amount of words. Nikki Grimes shows how word choice and metaphors can create a powerful story. Gabriella, is prone to daydreaming. When her parents divorce her daydreaming interferes with her classroom attention. Her teacher recognizes that she is coping with her parents separation through daydreams and he helps her to channel them in a productive manner. The adults recognize that Gabby's daydreams make her a vivid writer as Gabby lear ...more
Words and imagination can take you anywhere, as is the case with daydreamer Gabby. Her daydreams help her escape her unhappy present, but they also cause issues at home and in school. Grimes' tight free verse seems to float effortlessly from reality to daydreams. She is able to weave magic with her words, few in number, but oh, so precise! [Words] "fly in,/silent as sunrise,/tickle my imagination,/ and carry my thoughts away….and I wondered/ Are there other words/that can carry me away?' For a s ...more
People who know me know I'm not a fan of much poetry and I'm really not a fan of novels done in verse. I finally found one that I can really respect and like. Words With Wings works. I don't think this could have been written as a traditional novel with the sort of impact this title has. I strongly suspect this is at least somewhat autobiographical. Gabriela is a daydreamer in love with words. Words lead straight to daydreams for her. Her mother, who picked the name Gabriela, doesn't get why Gab ...more
The Styling Librarian
Saturday Book Share:
Words with Wings by Nikki Grimes - 4th grade and up – This is such a beautiful, touching story! Novels in verse, I never tire of reading them. I loved getting lost in Gabby’s world where she escapes into her mind every time that specific words are said. Additionally, when her parent’s arguing sends her into her mind. Touching book with a lovely teacher who carefully influences Gabby when she has to be welcomed to a new class. I personally LOVED how Nikki Grimes encapsulated h
Opening: I think many of us will relate to this book in one-way or another. Do you daydream? Why do people daydream? (Invite response). The main character in this story has trouble controlling her daydreams. She is also upset because her parents are going through a divorce which may be something you’ve experienced too. First, we’re going to read Words with Wings and look for the message the author is trying to tell us. We’ll be able to figure this out by paying attention to what happens to the m ...more
Amber Murphy
1.) Opening for Words with Wings:

The title of the book we are reading today is “Words with Wings.” Listen to a passage called “Summer Shift” from Words with Wings: Read pgs. 4-5
What are you thinking? What do you think this story will be about based on the title and the passage I just read? Ask students if this is like a personal narrative? Does the passage tell a story? Show the passage on the projector — ask students what format/style the writer used.

2.) Identify:
In this opening, I:
*Invite stu
Grimes, N. (2013). Words with Wings. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.

Additional Information: Intermediate (4-6), Promotes Diversity

Summary: Gabby is a daydreamer trying to escape the arguments of her parents' divorce when a teacher reaches out to her to help her transform her daydreams into writing.

Notable Awards/Reviews: Booklist starred 09/15/13 (Vol. 110, No. 2), Horn Book 04/01/14, Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books 12/01/13, Kirkus Reviews starred 08/01/13, Catholic Library World 03/01/14
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