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Garvey's Choice
Buy this hardcover
at your favorite bookseller:
Cellar Door Books (signed)
(local booksellers)
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Buy the e-book:
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Read the first book
about Garvey:
Garvey's Choice
Don't miss the graphic novel version of
Garvey's Choice:
Garvey in the Dark
written by Nikki Grimes
WordSong, October 25, 2022
hardcover ISBN 978-1635925265

About the Book

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.

Awards and Recognition

Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award
Kansas National Education Association's Reading Circle Recommendation


Educator / Discussion Guide

"5 Books to Help Kids Face Our Frightening World," Mahnaz Dar, Kirkus Reviews, 2 February 2023

"Books That Celebrate Love and African American History Month," Mary Quattlebaum, Washington Parent, 30 January 2023


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.

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.

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.

In this companion to “Garvey’s Choice,” master poet Nikki Grimes follows her beloved character as he and his family deal with Covid-19 and the lockdowns in early 2020 in Southern California, where he lives. This may seem like a challenging subject, but Grimes’ short, accessible poems allow the reader to connect both with Garvey’s worries and stress—and their own memories and ongoing concerns. This timely, moving novel in verse may encourage young people to share their own feelings about the pandemic out loud and in writing.

Garvey in the Dark (Wordsong/Astra Books for Young Readers, 2022) finds the protagonist of Nikki Grimes’ acclaimed Garvey’s Choice plunged into a terrifying world roiled by the Covid-19 pandemic. Learning of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, the young Black boy also grapples with feelings of fear and anger and longs to join Black Lives Matter protests. Like the earlier book, this verse novel uses tanka, a Japanese style of free verse. Grimes deftly balances the everyday with the life-altering; an especially moving scene melds the two as Garvey sings with his father, who is recovering from Covid.

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