Words with Wings

Last updated Sunday, July 28, 2019

Author: Nikki Grimes
Date of Publication: 2013
ISBN: 1590789857
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2019

Synopsis: Gabby’s world has been filled with daydreams for as long as she can remember. When her parents began arguing, daydreaming became as essential as breathing, and has now taken over her life. But with the help of a new teacher, Gabby the dreamer might just become Gabby the writer, and words that carried her away might allow her to soar.

Note to readers:
•  In this delightfully spare narrative in verse, Coretta Scott King Award–winning Grimes examines a marriage’s end from the perspective of a child. Set mostly in the wake of her father’s departure, only-child Gabby reveals with moving clarity in these short first-person poems the hardship she faces relocating with her mother and negotiating the further loss of a good friend while trying to adjust to a new school.
•  You don't have to read ALL the poems in order. But you should read through page 13 in order. Before reading to the kids, you might want to pick out a poem or two that "speak" to you and skip to those after page 13.
•  There are NO pictures in this book, only on the dust cover.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What do you think "words with wings" are? What does the picture on the front of the dust cover show?
•  What book or poem makes your imagination come to life?
•  The author is a poet, but before she wrote this books with 70(!) poems in it, she was going to make it a picture book. Think about what kind of picture might go along with the poems while we read them.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Were you named after anyone?
•  Do you like to daydream?
•  When do you daydream?
•  When you daydream, where do you go? What do you daydream about?
•  Have you ever moved to a new place.

•  Cherub - winged angelic being described in biblical tradition as attending on God. It is represented in ancient Middle Eastern art as a lion or bull with eagles' wings and a human face, and regarded in traditional Christian angelology as an angel of the second highest order of the ninefold celestial hierarchy. a representation of a cherub in art, depicted as a chubby, healthy-looking child with wings. A beautiful or innocent-looking child.
•  Crimson - A dark, rich, red
•  Piroutted - spun, usually on toes
•  Filigree - ornamental work of fine (typically gold or silver) wire formed into delicate tracery. "delicate silver filigree earrings" synonyms: wirework, fretwork, fret, latticework, lattice, grillwork, scrollwork, lacework, lace, tracery

Craft ideas:
•  Pick a word and write down what it makes you think of, and draw a picture of it.
•  Pick a poem from the book and illustrate it. Or any poem you know.
•  Check our craft ideas on Pinterest!

Special activities:
•  Write a poem about your favorite memory with your family.
•  Write and illustrate a poem of your own.
•  Introduce "Haiku," a Japanese poetry form. It is 3 lines, a total of 17 syllables in the following sequence:
•  --first line, 5 syllables
•  --second line, 7 syllables
•  --third line, 5 syllables.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!