All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg

Whew!  I made it!  April officially ends in 28 hours and I’m just now posting my blog entry for National Poetry Month.  I’ve had displays in the teen area all month of poetry collections by single authors and anthologies that include selections by dozens of poets, but what I cannot keep in the displays (or on the shelf) are teen novels written in verse.  Ellen Hopkins, Virginia Euwer Wolff, Sonya Sones, these are just some of the authors whose work is constantly in demand.

Novels written in verse are often amazing works of art.  A series of poems is tied together to form a narrative.  Writers use carefully chosen words, rhythms and white space to draw the reader into a story told completely with poems.

My new favorite novel in verse (and one of my top books of 2010) is All the Broken Pieces by Ann Burg.  This story follows Matt, a boy who was airlifted out of Saigon during the Vietnam War.  Over the course of the novel Matt struggles to work through the tragedies he experienced during his early life in Vietnam.  He does this with the help of his adoptive family, a group of Vietnam vets, and baseball.  Matt loves baseball and being on the baseball team is a transformative experience for him and his teammates at a pivotal time in their young lives and in the larger context of American history.

~Tricia is the teen librarian at CPL and is currently reading Episodes: My Life As I See It by Blaze Ginsberg.