Square Fish
Farrar, Straus & Giroux

March 2014

$8.99 US

93p pb

ISBN: 978-1250040091

fp April 2004 

originally published as Spinning Through The Universe: a novel in poems from Room 214

Room 214

Helen Frost

from the book...

Every child is like
A little world with ever-changing weather,
Nights and mornings. And somehow, here we are,
Spinning through the universe together.


Using an array of traditional poetic forms, Helen Frost interweaves the stories of the kids in Room 214 and their teacher. Readers are introduced to the unforgettable students in this fifth grade classroom, who reveal their private feelings about birth and death, a missing bicycle and a first kiss, as well as their thoughts about recess, report cards, fitting in, and family.

If you have read this verse novel and would like to share your opinion of it with other readers please send your review or comments to YARR-A

Room 214 is a verse novel written by Helen Frost. Each poem in this book is written by either Mrs. Williams, the teacher or one of her 5th grade students.  The poems written by the children are their views on different subjects.  Some of the subjects covered include: a new girl at school, death, having a crush on someone, and how people fit in (or not).

I found this novel very thought provoking because the issues are relevant to my age group. I have seen some of these situations in my peer group.  Some of the situations covered in this book I have never come across and do not wish to come across like Maria’s poem called The Truth.  This poem is about Maria being hit by her dad and not wanting anyone to know about it in case they send her dad to jail.  This poem made me sad and angry.

I enjoyed this book very much.  It kept my interest all the way through, although not all of the poems were about happiness.  Some of the poems were very sad and were about emotions that are difficult to talk about.  I would recommend this book for 10 years and up.

Rhiannon, Year 6, Canberra, Australia

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