Poems in the Attic

By Nikki Grimes
Illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon

Hardcover: $19.95

During a visit to her grandma’s house, a young girl discovers a box of poems in the attic, poems written by her mother when she was growing up. Her mother’s family often moved around the United States and the world because her father was in the Air Force. Over the years, her mother used poetry to record her experiences in the many places the family lived.

Reading the poems and sharing those experiences through her mother’s eyes, the young girl feels closer to her mother than ever before. To let her mother know this, she creates a gift: a book with her own poems and copies of her mother’s. And when she returns her mother’s poems to the box in the attic, she leaves her own poems too, for someone else to find, someday.

Using free verse for the young girl’s poems and tanka for her mother’s, master poet Nikki Grimes creates a tender intergenerational story that speaks to every child’s need to hold onto special memories of home, no matter where that place might be.

Check out an interview between Nikki Grimes and The Horn Book.

About the Creators

Thumb_nikki_grimes Nikki Grimes - Author

bestselling author of numerous books for young people, is noted for the poetry that appears in both her picture books and novels. Her work has been honored six times by the Coretta Scott King Award, most recently in 2014. Additional honors for her books include ALA Notables, Bank Street College’s Best Children’s Books of the Year list, and Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People. Grimes lives in Corona, California.

Thumb_elizabeth_zunon_photo Elizabeth Zunon

earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2006, and since then she has been illustrating books, as well as making jewelry and handbags. Zunon grew up in Ivory Coast, West Africa, but now lives in Albany, New York.

About This Title


Hardcover: 9781620140277


Best Books
Kirkus Reviews

Best Children's Books of the Year
Bank Street College of Education

Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist
Texas Library Association (TLA)

Starred Review
Kirkus Reviews

Notable Books in the Language Arts
National Council of Teachers of English

Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for Middle Readers Honor
Board of the Virginia Hamilton Conference on Multicultural Literature for Youth

Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC)

Notable Poetry List
National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

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Guided Reading:




Interest Level:

Grades 1 - 6

Reading Level:

Grades 4 - 5


African/African American Interest, Childhood Experiences and Memories, Families, Friendship, Heroism, Home, Identity/Self Esteem/Confidence, Leadership, Mentors, Mothers, People In Motion, Realistic Fiction, Respect/Citizenship, Responsibility, Poetry

Part of These Collections