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Ordinary Hazards

4.69  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  29 reviews
"This powerful story, told with the music of poetry and the blade of truth, will help your heart grow."--Laurie Halse Anderson, author of Speak and Shout

"[A] testimony and a triumph."--Jason Reynolds, author of Long Way Down

In her own voice, acclaimed author and poet Nikki Grimes explores the truth of a harrowing childhood in a compelling and moving memoir in verse.

Expected publication: October 2019 by Wordsong
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4.69  · 
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 ·  65 ratings  ·  29 reviews

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Paul  Hankins
"It's a long story,/ but I am a poet./I can cut it short." (from the Prologue to ORDINARY HAZARDS)

Full Disclosure: I've been sitting with Nikki Grimes's memoir, ORDINARY HAZARDS, and I have been waiting for months to write a review. The problem now? We are one month away from your sitting with the memoir and experiencing what early readers like Lester Laminack and Ed Spicer and I have been sitting with for most of 2019.

I can tell you with great joy (and pride) that Nikki Grimes is a friend. No.
Stephanie Bange
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Note: Reviewed from an ARC.

If you are to read one book this year, this should be the one you should pick up. Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir is an amazing peek into the formative years of poet Nikki Grimes. Not only does this work detail her faith, resiliency, and strength of will, but it also informs on her creative mind and writing process.

In this free verse memoir, Grimes tells of her childhood – from her birth in Harlem through the time she finally leaves her mother’s chaotic home and finds stabi
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary writing that touches every part of the heart and soul. Grimes' poetry is exquisite and there isn't a single poem in this book that wasn't like taking a master class in writing. Every emotion and experience becomes a part of the reader.

Even more extraordinary is the story of searing childhood experiences that Grimes managed to surmount, learn from and triumph over. Inspiring is an over-used word but this memoir is inspiring.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir--I tried to fix title/ISBN glitch but couldn't. Poignant, beautiful, and even more meaningful because of a wonderful dinner I had with Grimes several years ago at TLA.
Mary Thomas
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
A FANTASTIC memoir that should be added to all high school collections!! Beautiful writing. Highly recommend this one! Out in October.
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Ordinary Hazards : A Memoir by Nikki Grimes 336 pages. Boyds Mills Press, OCTOBER 2019 $20

Language: PG13 (20 swears, 0 'f' 1 'n'); Mature Content: PG (maturation); Violence: R (assaults)



Author Nikki Grimes recounts her experience growing up with a schizophrenic mother, an absent father, an abusive step father, and time spent in foster care. She and her sister were separated and placed in foster care for many years, although Nikki eventually mov
Nikki Grimes is one of my favorite writers, gathering beautiful words in her notebooks over the years, which are now mixed with memories in Ordinary Hazards (coming 10/08/19 -- thank you for providing ARCs, WordSong/Highlights).

The content is dark, yet hopeful. The words are tragic, yet inspirational. Some poems made me laugh ("Math Madness") and more made me cry ("Reunion"). Ms. Grimes shares everything with the reader, making the reader feel her pain, believe in God, and hope for the future, a
Miz Lizzie
Nikki Grimes' memoir in verse reveals both the deep pain and tragedies of her childhood as well as the hope and help she received, especially through finding her voice through writing. This is an extraordinary story about an extraordinary woman who not only survived but flourished by holding on to every bit of love and support she received and by practicing true forgiveness for the deliberate and inadvertent pain she lived through. A testament to the power of even the smallest moments of love an ...more
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Nikki Grimes memoir in verse tells her story from childhood up through her teen years. As she explains in her Author's Note, she has memories that are missing and no longer has the notebooks she was recording her life in at the time, but that makes the verse format feel that much more appropriate, as she is stringing her memory fragments together, they are separate, but they make a whole. I very recently read Shout! by Laurie Halse Anderson, and these two works together, so similar but so differ ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher. No review was expected, I am choosing to review this in the hopes more people find and read this important book.

I went to the Seattle ALA in January for a book signing of my own. While there I carefully avoided the grabby-hand syndrome of taking ALL the books. I allowed myself a small selection. The cover grabbed my eye, and when I opened the book to reveal verse, I slipped a copy into my bag. I’m so glad I did.

Nikki has been through A LOT. Born
Aug 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, 2019
adult/teen diverse memoir in verse (childhood trauma growing up in nyc with mostly absent dad, mom with alcoholism/schizophrenia, 2 foster families, and abusive stepdad).
*reviewed by uncorrected galley *

a quick read (only takes a couple hours or so) but compelling and full of hope--Nikki of course turned her love of books and writing into a very successful career, and even gets to rub elbows with the likes of James Baldwin, but she had to survive a lot to get here.
Nikki Grimes, thank you for sh
Julia Walker
Jun 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am thrilled that this book was written because there are so many children and young adults dealing with mental illness in their families and this book gives them a place to go to find validation, courage and words to help them process their situation and evaluate their lives. One of the best memoirs I have ever read!
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ordinary Hazards is a deeply moving personal memoir where Nikki Grimes shares her challenges in childhood, navigating life through her mother’s addiction/illness, along with her discovery in the power of words and much more. An important testimony to be shared!

This is an ARC I picked up at ALA Mid-Winter from Boyds Mills & Kane.
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is amazing how so much beauty, grace, hope, and faith can live on in a person who has lived through hardship. I am amazed at the beauty of Nikki Grimes' poetry and the elegance with which she shares her story. Thank you, Ms. Grimes, for sharing your story. I am grateful for the chance to read an advanced copy of this book.
Heidi Rikard
Aug 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
Some of the best artists seem to endure some of the worst circumstances. Maybe this is part of what gives them their talent...
So brave to share her story and to always remind others they are NOT alone.
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a stunning book. I'd write a review, but I'm speechless. The tagline on the cover says it all:

Words have the power
to change a life,
the power to save a life.

This book is going to change and save lives.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read many of Nikki Grimes' books, but her memoir and most recent novel in verse, Ordinary Hazards, blew me away. Reading about little girl Nikki, craving love and stability, finding common bonds with music & writing, and raw emotions & feist and oh my that last page!
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Moving and poignant, this carefully constructed memoir in verse is achingly sad and beautifully hopeful.
(This title will be released October 2019)
Sara Cook
Aug 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful memoir written in poems, heartbreaking and full of strength and hope.
Marge Shaffer
May 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking and inspiring.
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read.

Grimes eloquently captures memories of her youth and reveals very personal family events.

I think this is a must read.

Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fic-hs, genre-verse
Nikki Grimes is one of my favorite authors of verse--whether fiction or nonfiction.
Ms. Yingling
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
ARC from Follett First Look

Grimes' books are always good, but this is definitely more of a YA title, so read first before purchasing for younger grades.
Brenda Kahn
Gut-wrenching and gorgeous. I kept needing to resist the urge to swallow this memoir whole in favor of savoring the writing.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing read... sad yet hopeful... inspiring and wise. I loved it!
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
High school teachers and librarians- this is a must have.
Deb Tyo
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Order this book.
It has completely stolen my heart.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The awesome folks at WordSong gave me an ARC of this book while I was at ALA Midwinter, and warned me that I would probably cry when I read parts of it. I decided right away not to read it on the plane home, to save it for a time and place where I could immerse myself in it and not worry about my reactions and how anyone else would judge them. It turned out that the right time was sitting on the beach with my toes in the warm sand, surrounded by my family and hearing the surf as a calming backgr ...more
Heather Love
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir
A beautiful book. Grimes’s poetry soars off the page, and her story is one of strength, courage, bravery, and faith. In the darkest of times, she always found the light. An absolute must read.
Katy Wineke
rated it really liked it
Jul 01, 2019
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“Trauma is a memory hog,
It gobbles up all available space
in the brain,
leaves little room to mark
daily happenstances,
or even routine injuries
which are less than
More quotes…