December 29


The 2017 Nerdies: Poetry and Novels in Verse Announced by Mary Lee Hahn


Family, no matter how we define it, is the place where the “Who am I?” begins. As we grow and search for heroes, no matter how we define them, we begin the lifelong exploration of “Who will I be?”


The 2017 Nerdy Poetry and Novels in Verse will enrich the lives of readers with FAMILY and HEROES, expanding the ways we define both.


What matters most

are those we hold close —

our family makes us who we are.



family poems


Family Poems For Every Day of the Week/Poemas Familiares Para Cada Dia de la Semana

By Francisco X. Alarcón

Illustrated by Maya Christina González

Lee & Low Books


Bilingual poems explore family activities every day of the week, and explain the origins of the names of the seven days.


when my sister started kissing


When My Sister Started Kissing

By Helen Frost

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Set during summer vacation at a cabin on a lake, two sisters navigate growing up, plus the changing landscape of a family with a stepmom and a new little brother.



gone camping


Gone Camping: A Novel in Verse

by Tamera Will Wissinger

illustrated by Matthew Cordell

HMH Books for Young Readers


In this companion to Gone Fishing, Lucy and Sam go camping with Grandpa. Family ties are strengthened through common experiences.


forget me not

Forget Me Not

By Ellie Terry

Feiwel & Friends


Navigating the world with Tourette’s syndrome is much easier with the support of family and friends.


bull david elliott



By David Elliott

HMH Books for Young Readers


The story of the mythological family of Minos and Pasiphae, their daughter Ariadne and Pasiphae’s son Asterion (aka the Minotaur) is retold in multiple voices, including that of the wise-cracking Poseidon.


solo kwame


By Kwame Alexander, with Mary Rand Hess



Blade is conflicted about his place in his family. He shares his father’s love of music, but not the rich-and-famous-rockstar lifestyle.


Long Way Down


Long Way Down

By Jason Reynolds

Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books


Will’s brother was murdered and he’s out to get revenge, but on the elevator ride down he is visited by “family” members who help him see the larger picture.


hey black child

Hey Black Child

By Useni Eugene Perkins

Illustrated by Bryan Collier

Little, Brown


This empowering poem lifts up every black child with the words of the poet, the pictures of the illustrator, and the voice of the person (family or “family”) who reads it aloud.


Those we venerate

guide us to become great —

our heroes show us who we might become.



bravo poems about amazing hispanics


Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics

By Margarita Engle

Illustrated by Rafael López

Henry Holt and Co.


Well-known and need-to-be known Hispanics are featured in these biographical poems, providing inspiration for all who seek a hero.


stone mirrors


Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and SIlence of Edmonia Lewis

By Jeannine Atkins

Atheneum Books for Young Readers


Edmonia Lewis overcame the obstacles of race and gender to become a sculptor in the years following the Civil War. Heroes show us how to hold fast to dreams.


loving vs virginia


Loving vs Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

By Patricia Hruby Powell

Illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Chronicle Books


Richard and Mildred Loving were teenagers who fell in love. Their marriage broke the laws of the time, but their civil rights case paved the way for the legal biracial marriages of today. Heroes lead the way to a better future..


one last word


One Last Word: Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance

By Nikki Grimes

Bloomsbury USA Childrens


In this collection of Golden Shovel poems, Nikki Grimes pays tribute to the poet-heroes of the Harlem Renaissance — heroes whose words continue to resonate today.


out of wonder


Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets

By Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth

Illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Candlewick Press


Twenty acclaimed poets are celebrated with poems that acknowledge their impact on the work of the authors. Heroes change our lives.


im just no good at rhyming


I’m Just No Good At Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups

By Chris Harris

Illustrated by Lane Smith

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers


Can a hero be the person who makes us laugh? Perhaps that’s what we need now more than ever. Put this book in kids’ hands. Be a hero.


read read read amy ludwig vanderwater


Read! Read! Read!

By Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke



Reading is the magic that binds all Nerdy teachers, librarians, and readers. The poems in this book celebrate all we hold dear: books are heroes, poems are heroes, and most of all, readers are the heroes of today and tomorrow.


Mary Lee Hahn is a 5th grade teacher in Dublin, Ohio. Her poetry has been published in the Poetry Friday anthologies, Dear Tomato: An International Crop of Food and Agriculture Poems, and The National Geographic Book of Nature Poetry. Her poetry website is, she blogs with Franki Sibberson at A Year of Reading, and she can be found on Twitter @MaryLeeHahn.