About the Book

Eighth grade poet, Moses Jackson, learns his family will be changing and his anger leads him to make a bad decision. He is forced to move to a new school where he encounters racism for the first time. Writing poetry helps Moses to cope, but the treatment he has to endure from his teacher and a few classmates pushes him to the edge.

Moses must learn to love his new extended family and his blackness. He also has to decide if he should speak up about how his teacher treats him at the risk of getting kicked out of school.

Author’s Note

I Write Rhymes is a contemporary, middle grade novel with poetry throughout. It tackles the heavy topic of race in America, but it’s written to be easily digestible for middle graders. Readers will root for the main character, Moses, who is hilarious, quirky, and an impressive poet. After reading the book, readers will feel hopeful – not heavy.

This is a critical book to share with middle graders of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Readers will be able to relate to the brand of characters who make this story enjoyable and thought-provoking.

I Write Rhymes will help to initiate discussions with students about family, self-identity, self-control, and courage along with race and the biases that exist in our society. Children are our future, therefore it’s important to have open dialogue that can lead to progress and change for the better.

Nadine Johnson

Author, Nadine Johnson, was born on the island of Jamaica. Her love for writing began during college. However, it wasn’t until the birth of her son that she started writing for children. It was difficult for her to find inspiring books that featured African American boys, so she decided to create stories for her son and other children his age.

She founded 123 Mango Tree LLC to promote literacy through reading, music, and art. She has published several inspiring children’s books over the past fourteen years that are staples in libraries, classrooms, and homes.

Her books inspire children to love, dream, and celebrate their uniqueness. She was also the 2019 winner of the inaugural HarperCollins Diverse Voices Open Inbox contest.

In addition to being an author, Johnson was a graphic designer for seventeen years, but her search for purpose led her to abruptly switch careers. She’s currently a middle grade math teacher and enjoys working with young minds.

Check Out These Reviews

“I Write Rhymes took me on a roller coaster of emotions! I felt laughter, frustration, sadness to the satisfaction of retribution. This book is totally relatable, socially and emotionally to a wide audience. I Write Rhymes touches on everyday real life issues thru the life of a teenage boy. It touches past, present and assuredly future predjudices while shining a light on the human race and love.”

- Rachel

“I had a good time reading it and thinking about how I would cope if I was in Moses’s shoes. I can relate to a lot of the thoughts and feelings Moses has and I think many people can too.”

- Joshua

“From the first page, I couldn’t help but to become the character of Moses, vicariously experiencing his challenges and anxiously awaiting relief and redemption. Though this story was told from a teenager’s lens, the experiences in I Write Rhymes are relatable which makes it a captivating read regardless of age.”

- Christine

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