Cover image for A dime a dozen
A dime a dozen
Grimes, Nikki.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, [1998]

Physical Description:
54 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A collection of poems about an African-American girl growing up in New York City.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.1 3 Quiz: 25303 Guided reading level: R.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PS3557.R489982 D56 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Black History
Central Library PS3557.R489982 D56 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Celebrated author Nikki Grimes turns her soulful, searching gaze to themes of destiny and determination sure to strike a chord in anyone going through the difficult, joyous struggle of growing up. Reflecting on her own childhood experiences, she offers twenty-eight poems exploring the pleasures and pains of charting your own path -- and taking a few lumps along the way. In words straight from the heart and straight from the hip, this honest, uplifting collection will spark ideas, light a path, and encourage young readers to discover the person they might someday become.

Author Notes

Nikki Grimes was born and raised in New York City. She began writing poetry at age six and is well-known for writing award-winning books primarily for children and young adults. Bronx Masquerade and Talkin' About Bessie both won Coretta Scott King Awards, and her poetry collections featuring Danitra Brown are very popular. Grimes received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 2006.

She has written articles for magazines including Essence and Today's Christian Woman, as well as hosted radio programs in New York and Sweden. She has lectured and read her poetry at schools in Russia, China, Sweden, and Tanzania. Grimes is also a prolific artist, creating works of fiber art, beaded jewelry, peyote beading, handmade cards, and photography.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-8. As Lee Bennett Hopkins did with his Been to Yesterdays (1995), Grimes recounts the story of her childhood through poetry. The first section of the book tells of blissful moments with her father, as he tries to play hopscotch with too-big feet, and "shatters / heaven's crystal floor / with melody" as he plays the violin. She has more prickly relationships with her mother and sister, and as the book continues, her parents, like Hopkins', get a divorce. The middle section speaks of painful memories--broken promises, foster homes, and parents with drinking and gambling problems. The third and final part tells of her search for self as a teenager, concluding with the title poem about being a writer. The black-and-white drawings illustrating each poem reinforce the sense that the African Americans in the poems are vivid individuals, not fuzzy generalizations. Free-flowing and very accessible, the poetry may inspire readers to distill their own life experiences into precise, imaginative words and phrases. --Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-9-Written in the first-person voice of an African-American girl, these 28 poems celebrate family, culture, writing, and the spirit of a creative, introspective child. They should be read in the order in which they are arranged to appreciate the power and overall loose plot. "Part I: Genius" introduces readers to the main character and her family. "Part II: The Secret" explores the private, painful stories of the family and ends with the parents' divorce. "Part III: A Dime a Dozen" explores identity and culture. Grimes's carefully crafted word placement matches the rhythms and messages of the poems. In "Stroll," words are offset from the left margin, symbolizing the protagonist's individual pace, which is unique and different from that of her mother. From protecting oneself from the risks of love in "Foster Home," to a daughter's yearning for her mother's pride in the title piece, emotion flows through these verses. The melodic rhythms gracefully sing when read aloud. Resembling photographs, the soft black-and-white illustrations portray the family members and offer images of the words without infringing on readers' imaginations or personal reactions to the poetry. Librarians and English teachers may consider planning a program to explore this book and Grimes's novel, Jazmin's Notebook (Dial, 1998) for similarities and differences. A quietly profound, heartfelt work.-Shawn Brommer, Southern Tier Library System, Painted Post, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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