Today we are all joining in a celebration of Nikki Grimes and her body of work.
Nikki, if you're reading this: SURPRISE! And WELCOME!
Nikki has won all kinds of awards lately, and due to covid, there haven't been in-person events, so this gives us all an opportunity to say:
New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to the field of adolescent literature, the 2017 Children's Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey's Choice, ALA Notable book What is Goodbye?, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor books Jazmin's Notebook, Talkin' About Bessie, Dark Sons, Words with Wings, and The Road to Paris. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Ms. Grimes lives in Corona, California.
Most recently her memoir in poems ORDINARY HAZARDS (WordSong, 2019) has garnered a lot of attention, including these awards:
Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Honor Award
Michael L. Printz Honor Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature
Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Honor Award
2020 Arnold Adoff Poetry Award Winner for Teens
|Charles Waters, Nikki Grimes,|
Irene Latham at NCTE 2017
Isn't that wonderful!? I invited Rebecca Davis whom I adore and editor of this book to share a few words with us in celebration of Nikki. Welcome Rebecca!
"Over the years, Nikki has written many powerful books of poetry and prose, always challenging herself as a writer. Her memoir, ORDINARY HAZARDS, shows how writing, faith, and her own brave spirit helped her navigate through the darkest times. These days, as so many are struggling against the dark in our world, I am thinking often of Nikki and of ORDINARY HAZARDS. I hope that readers who need this book will find it and that it will encourage them as they strive toward the light we all need now.
"It takes courage to write your truth. It was an honor to walk with Nikki as she challenged herself to write ORDINARY HAZARDS, and it's a joy to see Nikki's fortitude and hard work rewarded with multiple awards. I wish that Nikki could partake in the usual celebrations that accompany such awards. May this Poetry Friday celebration of Nikki be a virtual hug and help make up for some of what she's missing. The children's poetry community is beautiful indeed."
Thank you, Rebecca! One thing I really related to in ORDINARY HAZARDS is Nikki's lack of memory of some (painful) events. For me, it's a survival mechanism. I don't want to remember. It takes so much bravery to look the past squarely in the face and invite those memories back... and also to admit to the forgetting? Nikki does both in this book.
Charles Waters and I were able to shout-out Nikki in our book CAN I TOUCH YOUR HAIR? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship (Lerner, 2018). She is the author who comes to visit our fictional 5th grade classroom, and the book Irene and Charles are in love with (in the book and in real life!) is BRONX MASQUERADE (Dial, 2001). Here is the poem Charles always performs for students during our joint author presentation:
by Devon Hope
I woke up this morning
exhausted from hiding
the me of me
so I stand here confiding
there's more to Devon
than jump shot and rim.
I'm more than tall
and lengthy of limb.
I dare you to peep
behind these eyes,
discover the poet
in tough-guy disguise.
Don't call me Jump Shot.
My name is Surprise.
- Nikki Grimes
And don't miss Nikki's 2020 releases: BEDTIME FOR SWEET CREATURES and SOUTHWEST SUNRISE.
Now, for the Roundup! Thank you for reading, and please leave your links below.
p.s. If you're looking for this week's ArtSpeak: RED poem, you'll find it on the blog tomorrow. :)