Poetry Friday: Celebrating Nikki Grimes with…an ABC book?

Yes, indeed!

Irene Latham, who is hosting today’s Poetry Friday roundup, had a great idea:  to have as many folks as possible joining together to celebrate Nikki Grimes and her poetryfridaybutton-fulllwork! Nikki’s books have won a number awards recently that she has been unable to receive in person due to Covid-19…so we figured we’d do do the next-best thing and recognize her career by sharing some of her books and poems here on Poetry Friday.

Now, many folks in the Poetry Friday community are sharing individual poems by Nikki or selections from her many verse novels like Ordinary Hazards (Wordsong, 2019) or Garvey’s Choice (Wordsong, 2016) – and those absolutely two books you should track down and read – but I wanted to share something a little different.

Finally! We met in-person at NCTE 2019.

You see, C is for City (Boyds Mills & Kane) was the very first Nikki Grimes book I ever read, way back when it was fist published by Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Books in 1995…and little did I know that, 20 years later as a children’s author myself, I would eventually meet, befriend, and actually work with Nikki.

My 28-year-old daughter read this book, her 25-year-old sister read this, and now my two youngest, 10 and 6, have read it…so C is for City has literally grown up with the family! (or is it the other way around?) And it’s just so fun and poetic to read, I knew I needed to share it here.

(Images © Boyds Mills & Kane, all rights reserved)


If you’re looking for a unique, fun book for a young child, I encourage you to check out C is for City! It’s available in paperback now from Boyds Mills & Kane, so I feel fortunate I own one of the original hardcovers. (And one of these days, once social distancing is no longer an issue, I’m going to need to get it signed!)

And by the way, I’d also suggest you seek out other books by City‘s incredibly talented illustrator, Pat Cummings – like her debut novel, Trace (Harper Collins, 2019) or Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change (Bloomsbury, 2009).

Be moved, be inspired…and have a wonderful weekend!


I continue adding to my “Wit & Wordplay” videos ! These videos were created for parents and educators (along with their kids) to learn how to write poetry, appreciate it, and have fun with it. From alliteration and iambs to free verse and spine poetry, I’m pretty sure there’s something in these videos you’ll find surprising! You can view them all on my YouTube channel, and if you have young kids looking for something to keep busy with, I also have several downloadable activity sheets at my website.


What is Talkabook? Details coming soon!


Looking for a complete list of all the poetry coming out this year for young people? Then visit Sylvia Vardell’s blog! Also, I’ve teamed up with several other children’s authors to promote our upcoming books this year – and there are a LOT of them!


Coming Spring 2021! Pre-orders are available:

Ordering personalized signed copies online?
Oh, yes, you can!


You can purchase personalized signed copies of Flashlight Night, (Boyds Mills Press, 2017), Don’t Ask a Dinosaur (Pow! Kids Books, 2018), and nearly ALL of the books or anthologies I’ve been part of!

Just click the cover of whichever book you want and send the good folks at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner, NH a note requesting the signature and to whom I should make it out to. (alternatively, you can log onto my website and do the same thing) They’ll contact me, I’ll stop by and sign it, and then they’ll ship it! (Plus, you’ll be supporting your local bookseller – and won’t that make you feel good?)


Thank you to everyone for your support!


Did you like this post? Find something interesting elsewhere in this blog? I really won’t mind at all if you feel compelled to share it with your friends and followers!

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22 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Celebrating Nikki Grimes with…an ABC book?

  1. Mitchell Linda

    I had a similar response to today’s prompt to celebrate Nikki Grimes…I remember the first Nikki Grimes book I read. I remember the “wow” it gave me reading it and the nudge it gave my writing. We have books that have raised our kids too. Now, as my kids are cleaning out their rooms for college, I have a nice stack of kid books to keep for someday. A wonderful post, Matt. Enjoy today…with some extra poetry.


    1. Thanks, Linda! I remember seeing the book and thinking back to when we had first gotten it…and I had no idea who Nikki was. Didn’t even concern me! But that was back in the 90’s, before I ever began even considering children’s lit as a career – so it’s nice to know I have something from early in her career that may be unknown to others. Have a nice weekend!


  2. I love books that stand up over time, and C is for CITY is certainly one of those! It reminds me that on my bucket list is to attend an opera (I never have!)… and now I just hope I’m granted that opportunity, once the world heals and settles. Thank you for joining us, Matt!


  3. Come Sunday
    illustrated by Michael Bryant
    Eerdmans, 1996
    ISBN: 978-0-8028-5108-6

    From the book

    I wish we passed a basket down each row.
    That way, only I would know
    how many dimes I gave to God
    and how many I kept for me…

    Daddy says to give whatever God tells me to,
    which is what I usually do—
    unless I need an ice-cream cone,
    and even then, if I’m alone,
    I offer God a lick.

    from Come Sunday
    © 1996 by Nikki Grimes

    When I bought this book, I was so affirmed as a poet and in my faith. To know that someone I admired so much shared a strong faith was a double blessing. I have not met Nikki as yet, but I am looking forward to the day. Maybe we’ll be in the same anthology someday!
    God Bless you Nikki!
    ~ Linda Trott DIckman

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Matt, thank you for introducing me to “C is for City”, another must-read book from Nikki. The depth and breadth of her writings is amazing. Also, I want you to know that I added your Wit and Word Play Videos to my Resources to Build Your Literacy Tool Box List for my graduate students to refer to during my Summer Institute. Enjoy your weekend.


  5. lindabaie

    Going on my list, Matt. I love alphabet books & this is completely new to me. Like all Nikki’s books, it looks wonderful! I love your memory of the older, now the younger children enjoying it – a book to keep for grandchildren, too!


  6. So glad you decided to feature C is for City — I do love alphabet books, and liked hearing about how all four of your children enjoyed this one. Nikki’s wonderful verse with Pat Cummings’s art — wow! Plus, donuts!! 🙂 You picked the perfect sample spreads.


    1. I had a feeling a lot of folks might not have heard of it, being such an early book, which is why I wanted to spotlight it. I’m just glad BM&K picked it up from Lothrop, Lee & Shepard so readers can continue to enjoy it.


  7. haitiruth

    Sounds so good! I thought about social distancing when I looked at both of those illustrations! Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com


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