Guest Post by YA author James E. Venn ~ author of Johnny and the Seven Teddy Bears of Sin

Hello everyone, Paul here today. I hope you are all having a wonderful day. I am very happy to have author James E. Venn here today with a guest post. In case you missed it I reviewed Mr. Venn’s YA book Johnny and the Seven Teddy Bears of Sin here. It is a verse novel and it is great. I cautioned it to be a mature YA book, but it is certainly something you should read. Now today, I would like to give you Mr. Venn’s guest post about reading verse novels.  

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Read Verse Novels

So, you opened a new Walter Dean Myers, and something is seriously messed up, because it’s full of poetry. Or maybe you opened your new book of poems, and its causing you conniption fits, because somehow they only fit in one really loooooooonng poem. Surprise! You bought a verse novel! A full length novel told through poetry rather than prose. 


Should you read a verse novel? Yes you should! Verse novels combine some of the best elements of both worlds. Like other poems, there will be strong imagery and careful word play. Like other novels, there will be a plot, action, dialogue and character development. 


If you want to give them a go, there’s plenty to choose from. You could read Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, a surprisingly spare and powerful character study of a school boy learning through poetry his own power of expression. You could try Walter Dean Myer’s Streetwise. Myers mixes poetry and prose to tell a streetwise love story about two Harlem teens. You could try Karen Hesse’s AleutianSparrow, a blank verse eyewitness account of the forced relocation of the entire Aleut population from their Northwest Alaska home during World War II. There are many, many others.
Don’t expect standardization. There is no one format all verse novels use. Some are free verse, others rhyme. Do stop every now and then to check your understanding of the story. Make sure you know who is speaking, and what they are speaking about. Do find chunks you like and read them aloud; poetry is always best when you can hear it. Enjoy the musicality of the form, and the use different author’s make of line breaks or rhyming or particular sound effects, to inform the narrative.
Most importantly, enjoy!

There you have it! I hoped you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you’d like to know a bit more about James E. Venn, feel free to click here to read my interview with him. It covers topics such as why he wrote Johnny and the Seven Teddy Bears of Sin in verse, why he chose to update medieval literature, why teddy bears, and much, much more. 

Don’t forget to check out all the great events here too. Make sure to stop by Ixeos Blog Tour (ends 4/12), the Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy Book Blast and Giveaway (ends 4/19), Hunted Book Blast (ends 4/25), Blue Hearts of Mars Tour and Blast (ends 4/14), and finally Pheme the Gossip Book Blast (ends 4/21). Don’t forget to leave me a comment. Let me know your thoughts on verse books or if you are already a fan, your favorites.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe! Great to connect!

  2. I found your blog through WLC Blog Follow. Great to connect! Find my site – Martini Times Romance Book Reviews – at We have Book Reviews, Author Interviews, Giveaways, Blog Tours, Kindle Deals and more!

    Anna Crosswell

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    All content is copyrighted and may not be used in any form without proper credit and links. For purposes other than charity or education, printed materials require prior written consent. Disclaimer: Most books were provided free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.