Words with Wings

Words with Wings
Written by Nikki Grimes

Publisher’s Summary:
Gabby’s world is filled with daydreams. However, what began as an escape from her parents’ arguments 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. Written in vivid, accessible poems, this remarkable verse novel is a celebration of imagination, of friendship, of one girl’s indomitable spirit, and of a teacher’s ability to reach out and change a life.

Primary Source Pairing:
Author Nikki Grimes believes in the power of poetry and discusses this and more about Words with Wings in a Reading Rockets interview. In Words with Wings Gabby’s story is told through free verse poems. Her daydreams, hopes, and challenges lyrically jump from the page. For this primary source pairing, invite students to study an image of author Nikki Grimes as a child. Encourage students to draw parallels to their visualization of Gabby in the book and the photograph of Ms. Grimes.

Questions for Discussion:

  • Describe what you see.
  • What do you notice first?
  • What’s happening in the image
  • What people and objects are shown?
  • How are they arranged?
  • What is the physical setting?
  • What other details can you see?
  • Make a connection between Gabby in Words With Wings and this photograph of author Nikki Grimes.

Book Cover and Summary: Follett
Nikki Grimes Photograph as a Child: www.mackinviacommunity.com

Additional Resources:
A Video Interview with Nikki Grimes: Reading Rockets
Words with Wings Educator’s Guide: nikkigrimes.com