All tagged Caroline Starr Rose
Novels in verse come from a tradition of putting stories into language that flows with the magic of poetry. The Iliad and the Odyssey is something that any freshman high school student can tell you about. Verse novels stem from this oral tradition dating from 1600-1100 BC; the power of verse flows like music with the beauty of epic and poetic language.
Not to neglect Old English and Geoffrey Chaucer’s raucous and rowdy tales of those on a pilgrimage, I must mention those monks of olden days who told tales that to this day make us smirk and smile. In verse, Chaucer painted tales of the good folk who laughed about and flaunted their rowdy and raucous adventures.
Well, I got a bit behind on, like, life, so I thought I'd bundle a few months of our recommended reads for you, rather than trying to catch up month-by-month.
I did a bit of re-reading over the last few months, which has been pretty fun. I think I will continue to revisit my favorites as a matter of course, because there's something enjoyable in revisiting a beloved story. We all read The Carnival at Bray for book club right before it was a Printz honoree and we all loved it so much, so if you haven't snagged that brilliant little book, do so!
As always, click on the cover for more information. If we have a review available, it will be noted.
Caroline Starr Rose brings a historical mystery to life in her beautifully crafted novel in verse, Blue Birds.
It is 1587 and 117 English men, women and children are left on the lush island of Roanoke near the shores of what is now Virginia.They expected fertile soil and friendly people. They were not disappointed in the land. But, the friendly Native people had become understandably jaded. The English who came before them brought disease and death to their island.
Today I'm thrilled to welcome to Clear Eyes, Full Shelves novelist Caroline Starr Rose, author of the critically-acclaimed May B and a new novel, Blue Birds, both middle grade historical novels in verse.
I posed this question to her: Some of my favorite verse novels are in the middle grade category--why do you think the verse format works so well for young readers? And she had a great answer for me!
Young readers are still open minded. They haven’t been around long enough to decide they don’t like a certain writing style before trying it. While I’ve heard adults talk about how strange a verse novel looks on the page and feels as reading material, I’ve never heard a kid say this.
While novels in verse tend to focus on contemporary settings and situations, historical novels in verse, like May B--which Sandra reviewed earlier today, historical fiction has a pretty strong hold in the verse format as well.
Let's take a look at a few.
Crossing Stones by Helen Frost | Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2009)
Laura highly recommends this novel in verse by Helen Frost which chronicles the experiences of two families during World War I. The main character, 18-year old Muriel, becomes interested in the women's suffrage movement, so it's a good choice for folks who are also interested in women's history.
Amazon | Goodreads
Three Rivers Rising by Jame Richards | Knopf Books (2010)
I recently bought this slim novel in verse which focuses on two teens in the late-1800s who cross class barriers to forge a friendship, and eventually a romance. Their happiness is threatened when the Johnstown flood sends 20 million gallons of water into Johnstown, Pennsylvania. This definitely falls into the "poetic" side of the verse novel spectrum.
Amazon | Goodreads
Before putting my fingers to the keyboard to write my review of May B., a middle grade novel in verse by Caroline Starr Rose, I went to the Poetry Foundation's website to see if my confusion between poetry and prose could be clarified. The answer I found didn't particularly surprise me.
To put it in the simplest of terms, it's all about snobbery. Poetry, according its aficionados, stands several rungs above verse. Verse does not--according to them--employee the sophisticated use of language that poetry does.
Keats apparently writes poetry and Robert Service apparently writes verse. What's the difference? I've yet to answer that one but I will say that I read Service for pleasure, for the joy of his playful and often robust use of language. Keats I read as assigned work in my studies at the universities where I earned my degrees. I enjoy and appreciate Keats, so I am not picking on his work, I promise. My point is about the joy of language, pure and simple.