Novels in Verse for Teens
A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians
by Lisa Krok
February 2020, 151pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-7493-2
$45, £34, 39€, A61
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7494-9
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

A comprehensive resource for using novels in verse in classrooms and libraries.

This valuable guide advises teachers and librarians how to use novels in verse in functional, hands-on ways with teens, including reluctant readers.

Novels in verse are popular and have recently won some important awards. They are of great value to teachers and librarians as a way of reaching all teens, including marginalized teens and those who may be struggling or reluctant readers. This guide shows readers how to pair books with teens based on their needs, interests, and specific situations. After teens are paired with books, this guide suggests activities to further engage them with the poetry. Activities are tied to Common Core and AASL standards for ease of lesson planning for teachers.

Verse novels address a widely diverse demographic and a variety of topics, including various cultures, religions, racism, LGBTQ+ themes, mental illness, poverty, homelessness, sexual assault, self-harm/suicide, domestic violence, family dynamics, disabilities, refugees, English language learners, and more.

Novels in verse provide a more modern, practical alternative to some older classics that may not appeal to many teens or that may intimidate them by their sheer number of words per page. This book provides a one-stop resource for choosing and using novels in verse with teen readers.


  • Helps librarians reach struggling and/or reluctant readers across a broad demographic
  • Provides a way for librarians to engage and empower teens with literature
  • Offers an alternative to using traditional classics that may not hold appeal for many teens
  • Connects to Common Core and AASL standards for ease of lesson planning
Lisa Krok, MLIS, MEd, is the adult and teen services manager at Morley Library in the Cleveland, OH, area and a former teacher. She is a regular presenter at the Virginia Hamilton Multicultural Literature Conference, and her passion is reaching marginalized teens and reluctant readers through young adult literature. Krok was appointed to the 2019–2020 YALSA Presidential Advisory Task Force. In January of 2020, she will begin her appointment on the Best Fiction for Young Adults 2021 committee. Krok was also selected for the 2018 and 2019 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers teams, which earned her a 2018 YALSA Volunteer of the Year Award. She writes for School Library Journal's Teen Librarian Toolbox and has also blogged for American Libraries magazine and YALSA's The Hub.


"Teachers and librarians will find Krok’s resource highly useful."—VOYA, April 1, 2020

"Recommended for anyone looking to diversify collections, learn more about novels in verse, or expand their use of poetry in the classroom or library."—School Library Journal, June 1, 2020

"Novels in Verse for Teens is a wonderful guide that should be used by ELA teachers and librarians everywhere! Lisa Krok highlights and showcases exemplary verse novels and provides activities that are sure to not only engage but also captivate students. I found this guidebook so appealing that I want to try some of Lisa’s exercises fact I will surely be recommending it when I speak to writers about creating poetry and verse novels, because the activities are presented so insightfully that even adult writers will surely enjoy them. This book is for anyone interested in honing their craft by reading and learning from the wide variety of brilliant contemporary verse novels."—Padma Venkatraman, award-winning author of the global read-aloud The Bridge Home

"This study of verse novels is a valuable classroom resource, loaded with an impressive level of educational information and many challenging activities. Highly recommended."—Margarita Engle, Young People's Poet Laureate Emeritus and Newbery Honor–winning author of The Surrender Tree

"Celebrating the novel in verse, this book defines and explains its place and importance in the YA literary landscape. Offering multiple entry points for sharing, teaching, and exploring this accessible genre, Krok has created an essential tool for teachers and librarians looking to diversify their collections and deepen the reading experience of the students they serve. Brava!"—Nikki Grimes, Award-Winning Author of Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir and Bronx Masquerade

"Welcome to a riveting genre of teen reading—young-adult novels written in verse! Move the canon over to create space for fresh reading adventures. J.K. Rowling said “something very magical can happen when you read a good book.” This genre, with its dramatically different look on the page and perspectives that sync with contemporary teen experience, is the subject of research-supported Novels in Verse for Teens. Bursting with innovative instruction, this is a must-have text for educators who live to invite all students to find themselves in the magic of good books."—Jill Elizabeth Aufill, High School English Teacher and Instructional Specialist/Coach, Nimitz High School, Aldine ISD, Houston, Texas

"Lisa Krok gives us a wonderful overview and poetry handbook for YA in Novels in Verse for Teens: A Guidebook with Activities for Teachers and Librarians. She provides a strong research-based rationale for the value of sharing novels in verse with teens for providing unique and powerful perspectives, building newfound empathy, valuing diversity, and disrupting the canon in reaching marginalized and reluctant readers. Her reader’s advisory component offers a rich annotated bibliography along with engaging activities to encourage critical reading, responding, and writing focused on poetic forms and educational standards. Krok addresses cataloging and shelving issues and provides selection criteria, searchable content tags, a glossary of poetic devices, and QR codes linked to additional resources. Her focus on access (white space) and voice (reader engagement) through poetry is a powerful, practical model of literacy building with teens."—Sylvia Vardell, Professor, School of Library and Information Studies, Texas Woman's University and Author of Children's Literature in Action: A Librarian's Guide, 3rd Edition; Poetry People: A Practical Guide to Children's Poets; and Poetry Aloud Here: Sharing Poetry with Children in the Library.
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