Garvey in the Dark

Winner, 2023 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

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.
© Aaron Lemen
New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the 2017 Children's Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey's Choice, ALA Notable book Southwest Sunrise, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and five Coretta Scott King Author Honor books, Printz and Siebert Honor winner Ordinary Hazards, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor One Last Word, its companion Legacy:Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and NYT Bestseller Kamala Harris:Rooted in Justice. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, and Off to See the Sea, Grimes lives in Corona, California. View titles by Nikki Grimes
Prologue

Different. The same. . . .
That’s my answer if you ask
how I am after
The Invisible Beast broke
into our house, and our world.

[p19]

Garvey

I ride the ripples
of song. That may sound silly
but singing heals my
heart. And in a way, music
gave me the dad I needed.

[p20]

Week-Night Lesson

Dad’s fingers on mine,
he shows me the way to play.
My new guitar is
quickly becoming a friend
and, finally, so is Dad.

[p26]

Compared to What

Later, I catch Mom
crying in the kitchen. I
look for onions, but
don’t see one. “Mom?” “Sorry, Son,”
she says, grabbing a tissue.

“I was just thinking
about students on breakfast
and free lunch programs.
How will they eat with schools closed?”
I never thought about that.

I never had to.
Mom sees me bite my lip. “It’s
okay, Garvey. We
teachers will figure something
out, somehow. It’s what we do.”

Mom manages the
shadow of a smile so I’ll
believe her like I
need to. What else can I do?
God, I hope you’re listening.

[p47]


Lock What?

Our governor says
beginning tonight, our state
is hitting the switch,
shutting down everyday life
until further notice. What?

No work, no school, no
chorus, no baseball with Joe,
no meals with Manny,
no out, only in, except
for stocking up on supplies

till this storm passes.
At least it’s warm enough here
in California
to hang out in the backyard
if indoors gets boring, but

how long will this be?
Three weeks? Four? Mom’s not sure. “We’ll
get back to normal.
Trust me. Not even the worst
hurricane can last for long.”

[p55]

Aisle Five

The Food Mart is filled
with a stampede of shoppers
trampling each other
for—toilet paper? This is
crazy! Get me out of here!

Back home, Angie helps
unpack the groceries while
Mom and Dad smuggle
dark whispers upstairs, as if
their worry has no echo.

Angie and I share
the truth with one long look: This
Invisible Beast
must be worse than we thought. But
we don’t dare say it out loud.

[p56]


Cough

This morning, Dad coughs.
It’s probably nothing, right?
Just a normal cold.
Or no. Worry grabs my gut
strangling me from the inside.

Breathe, I tell myself,
then I text Joe, next Manny.
Joe: dw chill
Manny: sry fx
Fingers crossed, I chill—and pray.

[p107}
Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature (CSMCL) Best Book of 2022

"Garvey in the Dark is more than a beautifully crafted novel in verse. It’s a story that faces news headlines and captures the wild emotional roller coaster of the COVID-19 pandemic with honesty and courage. A must-read for young people who lived through the early days of the outbreak as well as those who will be curious about it in years to come." —Kate Messner, New York Times bestselling author

“Few things could induce me to relive the first years of the pandemic; the invitation to read a spectacular book by Nikki Grimes is one of them. 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. In Garvey, a gentle and thoughtful musician, Grimes has created an alternative male role model, whose heroism lies in kindness. If you’re already a friend of Garvey’s you will surely rejoice in this reunion and if you haven’t met him yet, here’s your chance! This sequel is as much a triumph as Garvey’s Choice—a stunning example of how much can be accomplished with few words in the hands of a masterful poet.” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home

★ “What kids in school had to go through – seeing their parents scared and/sick, missing their friends, and watching the world fall to complete disarray – is an almost impossible scenario, and Nikki Grimes captures it in well-written, poignant poetry. She uses the tanka form, crafting Garvey’s emotional journey from happiness, doubt, frustration, desperation, and near grief into crisp stanzas, articulating all of his feelings with short, well-placed phrases of dialogue.” —Youth Services Book Review, starred review

“With poignant clarity and in elegant verse, Grimes calls up the confusion, hope, and fear of the beginning of the pandemic…this offers a compelling chance to reflect on the discomfort of living through what will surely become fraught history.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“[A] moving reflection on our recent past and the ongoing pandemic. Grimes, with her characteristic graceful, emotive poetry, incisively captures the uncertainty, exhaustion, fear, and isolation of the era. Top-notch writing with wide appeal. A hopeful tool for processing the pandemic, which has occupied a significant portion of students’ young lives.” —School Library Journal

"Grimes conveys many of the elements specific to Black life in 2020, focusing on how families adapted to Covid, not knowing whether a lasting resolution would arrive. [T]his story...tackles themes of family, friendship, grief, and coping with injustice and will inspire dialogue about this chaotic period as well as a sense of hope and healing. A way for young people to reflect on a troubled time." —Kirkus Reviews

"Written in sequences of five-line tanka poems, a haiku-like form, this verse novel transports readers back to the early pandemic months through Garvey’s experiences. The poems vividly express his thoughts and emotions as he, his family, and his friends deal with unwanted changes in their lives as well as the underlying dread of COVID-19. This engaging sequel will resonate with many readers." —Booklist

About

Winner, 2023 Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award

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.

Author

© Aaron Lemen
New York Times bestselling author Nikki Grimes is the recipient of the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the 2017 Children's Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. Her distinguished works include the much-honored books Garvey's Choice, ALA Notable book Southwest Sunrise, Coretta Scott King Award winner Bronx Masquerade, and five Coretta Scott King Author Honor books, Printz and Siebert Honor winner Ordinary Hazards, Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor One Last Word, its companion Legacy:Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and NYT Bestseller Kamala Harris:Rooted in Justice. Creator of the popular Meet Danitra Brown, Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel, Bedtime for Sweet Creatures, and Off to See the Sea, Grimes lives in Corona, California. View titles by Nikki Grimes

Excerpt

Prologue

Different. The same. . . .
That’s my answer if you ask
how I am after
The Invisible Beast broke
into our house, and our world.

[p19]

Garvey

I ride the ripples
of song. That may sound silly
but singing heals my
heart. And in a way, music
gave me the dad I needed.

[p20]

Week-Night Lesson

Dad’s fingers on mine,
he shows me the way to play.
My new guitar is
quickly becoming a friend
and, finally, so is Dad.

[p26]

Compared to What

Later, I catch Mom
crying in the kitchen. I
look for onions, but
don’t see one. “Mom?” “Sorry, Son,”
she says, grabbing a tissue.

“I was just thinking
about students on breakfast
and free lunch programs.
How will they eat with schools closed?”
I never thought about that.

I never had to.
Mom sees me bite my lip. “It’s
okay, Garvey. We
teachers will figure something
out, somehow. It’s what we do.”

Mom manages the
shadow of a smile so I’ll
believe her like I
need to. What else can I do?
God, I hope you’re listening.

[p47]


Lock What?

Our governor says
beginning tonight, our state
is hitting the switch,
shutting down everyday life
until further notice. What?

No work, no school, no
chorus, no baseball with Joe,
no meals with Manny,
no out, only in, except
for stocking up on supplies

till this storm passes.
At least it’s warm enough here
in California
to hang out in the backyard
if indoors gets boring, but

how long will this be?
Three weeks? Four? Mom’s not sure. “We’ll
get back to normal.
Trust me. Not even the worst
hurricane can last for long.”

[p55]

Aisle Five

The Food Mart is filled
with a stampede of shoppers
trampling each other
for—toilet paper? This is
crazy! Get me out of here!

Back home, Angie helps
unpack the groceries while
Mom and Dad smuggle
dark whispers upstairs, as if
their worry has no echo.

Angie and I share
the truth with one long look: This
Invisible Beast
must be worse than we thought. But
we don’t dare say it out loud.

[p56]


Cough

This morning, Dad coughs.
It’s probably nothing, right?
Just a normal cold.
Or no. Worry grabs my gut
strangling me from the inside.

Breathe, I tell myself,
then I text Joe, next Manny.
Joe: dw chill
Manny: sry fx
Fingers crossed, I chill—and pray.

[p107}

Praise

Center for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature (CSMCL) Best Book of 2022

"Garvey in the Dark is more than a beautifully crafted novel in verse. It’s a story that faces news headlines and captures the wild emotional roller coaster of the COVID-19 pandemic with honesty and courage. A must-read for young people who lived through the early days of the outbreak as well as those who will be curious about it in years to come." —Kate Messner, New York Times bestselling author

“Few things could induce me to relive the first years of the pandemic; the invitation to read a spectacular book by Nikki Grimes is one of them. 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. In Garvey, a gentle and thoughtful musician, Grimes has created an alternative male role model, whose heroism lies in kindness. If you’re already a friend of Garvey’s you will surely rejoice in this reunion and if you haven’t met him yet, here’s your chance! This sequel is as much a triumph as Garvey’s Choice—a stunning example of how much can be accomplished with few words in the hands of a masterful poet.” —Padma Venkatraman, Walter Award-winning author of The Bridge Home

★ “What kids in school had to go through – seeing their parents scared and/sick, missing their friends, and watching the world fall to complete disarray – is an almost impossible scenario, and Nikki Grimes captures it in well-written, poignant poetry. She uses the tanka form, crafting Garvey’s emotional journey from happiness, doubt, frustration, desperation, and near grief into crisp stanzas, articulating all of his feelings with short, well-placed phrases of dialogue.” —Youth Services Book Review, starred review

“With poignant clarity and in elegant verse, Grimes calls up the confusion, hope, and fear of the beginning of the pandemic…this offers a compelling chance to reflect on the discomfort of living through what will surely become fraught history.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“[A] moving reflection on our recent past and the ongoing pandemic. Grimes, with her characteristic graceful, emotive poetry, incisively captures the uncertainty, exhaustion, fear, and isolation of the era. Top-notch writing with wide appeal. A hopeful tool for processing the pandemic, which has occupied a significant portion of students’ young lives.” —School Library Journal

"Grimes conveys many of the elements specific to Black life in 2020, focusing on how families adapted to Covid, not knowing whether a lasting resolution would arrive. [T]his story...tackles themes of family, friendship, grief, and coping with injustice and will inspire dialogue about this chaotic period as well as a sense of hope and healing. A way for young people to reflect on a troubled time." —Kirkus Reviews

"Written in sequences of five-line tanka poems, a haiku-like form, this verse novel transports readers back to the early pandemic months through Garvey’s experiences. The poems vividly express his thoughts and emotions as he, his family, and his friends deal with unwanted changes in their lives as well as the underlying dread of COVID-19. This engaging sequel will resonate with many readers." —Booklist

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All reading communities should contain protected time for the sake of reading. Independent reading practices emphasize the process of making meaning through reading, not an end product. The school culture (teachers, administration, etc.) should affirm this daily practice time as inherently important instructional time for all readers. (NCTE, 2019)   The Penguin Random House High

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Translanguaging is a communicative practice of bilinguals and multilinguals, that is, it is a practice whereby bilinguals and multilinguals use their entire linguistic repertoire to communicate and make meaning (García, 2009; García, Ibarra Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017)   It is through that lens that we have partnered with teacher educators and bilingual education experts, Drs.

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