Garvey in the Dark
by Nikki Grimes
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Pub Date 25 Oct 2022 | Archive Date 17 Oct 2022
Astra Publishing House, Wordsong
“With deceptive simplicity, Grimes captures characters and emotions by wielding a poetic form—the tanka—with superb and superhuman strength, and the result is a beautiful and brilliant book about how faith, grace, and familial love can help us triumph over adversity...” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home
Capturing the shock and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic through the eyes of Garvey, a beloved character, Nikki Grimes’s newest novel in verse shows readers how to find hope in difficult times.
Garvey’s finally happy—he’s feeling close to his father through their shared love of music, bullies are no longer tormenting him, and his best friends Manny and Joe are by his side. But when the schools, stores, and restaurants close because people are getting sick, Garvey’s improved life goes into lockdown as well. And when Garvey’s father gets sick, Garvey must find a way to use his newfound musical skills to bring hope to both his father and himself. Moving, powerful, and beautifully told, this remarkable novel shows readers how even small acts have large reverberations, how every person can make a difference in this world, and how—even in the most difficult times—there are ways to reach for hope and healing.
Nikki Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author who has won the ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the Children's Literature Legacy Award, the Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She has also received several ALSC Notables, a Coretta Scott King Author Award, Coretta Scott King Author Honors, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honors, a Printz Honor, and a Sibert Honor.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 38 members
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the early copy of this book.
Written in verse, this is the story of a family in California in early 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic entered the country and everyone's lives.
I love the characters and seeing how the pandemic impacted Garvey and his friends. It made me wonder how the teens, my own included, processed what we were going through, especially in the early days. While we were thrown together more as a family, were we available for the children or were we too wrapped up in our own worries and pressures that we were actually less connected and less aware of how they were being impacted. I am a teacher and I very much related to the mom in the story. I also couldn't help but flashback to so many of the fears and decisions we made in an attempt to keep ourselves and our family safe.
As COVID-19 stories begin to appear on the shelves, I wonder whether kids will be ready for them. Do they want to read a book about a historical event that impacted them in such a traumatic way? My father, a WWII vet, used to avoid movies and books about the war. He would say he lived it and didn't need to live it again. The memory of this conversation with him goes through my head every time I read a book about a lived experience of my own and those of my students.
The biggest issue I had was that the formatting of verse novels and graphic novels seem to always be super wonky on my kindle when I download from NetGalley and I prefer not to read on the app on my phone so reading this was a little challenging at times. With that said, I devoured it in less than 24 hours. This is definitely a book I will add to the collection.
Fantastic novel in verse written in tanka poems about Garvey navigating the many challenges and changes in his life during the pandemic. When Covid-19 hits the California area and schools close, it changes so much for Garvey’s family. The state goes into lockdown and Garvey wonders when he will see his friends again. The family wears masks; they wipe everything down and get groceries delivered. Garvey’s dad shows him how to play the guitar which brings them closer. Garvey wants life back to normal; he doesn’t want to hear about the pandemic, police shootings, or murder hornets. When a family member comes down with Covid , Garvey has an idea to help. Does it work?
I started this book, hoping to finish reading it later this week. But as with “Garvey’s Choice” this book too, left me powerless to unentangle myself from its deceptive simplicity, almost like a strong magnet that draws the reader to its core, until the last page is turned.
Well, I really didn’t want to read a book on Covid, for the mere memory of those sluggish lockdown days makes me breathless. But Nikki Grimes has her magic, and she weaves it again with Tanka, the ingenious poetry format. “Garvey in the Dark” continues Garvey’s journey through the pandemic and the tale is so tenderly told, that I lost track of time. I especially loved how the relationship between Garvey and his dad plays out and the experience of Garvey’s mum, a teacher, grappling with learning how to teach online is so relatable! As with any Nikki Grimes book, this is another one that will remain much sought after for years to come!
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