Poetry. This was a book about longing to be reunited with those you’ve loved. I had to read it 3 times through, to get a full sense of the narrative. Even then, the poetic lines are open to multiple interpretations, feeling like the mist slipping through ones fingers.
Viola lives with her mother and young brother in war-torn Sudan. All the men are either dead or fighting and soldiers prowl throughout the town, taking whatever they wish. After Viola is raped by one of these soldiers, the family decides to attempt a move to America. First they must travel out of Sudan and into Egypt, where they live in a refugee camp while waiting for the appropriate documents. It takes many long months to get the paperwork in order, but they are finally able to travel to America. Viola and her mother move to Portland, Maine, where a large Sudanese population has already been established. There, Viola attempts to piece her life back together while trying to balance life as both a girl from Juba and her new life as an American teen.
Told entirely in spare, lyrical verse, this novel is lovely addition to the immigrant-story genre. Viola’s experiences are painful, but her hope is palpable. This story sheds light on a part of the world that many American teens spend little time thinking about. The trajectory that Viola’s life takes is breathtaking, realistic and honest. We, as Americans, are so used to thinking about a country’s borders as something writ in stone, however, the borders of many countries in Africa are more or less arbitrary and were imposed largely by Western colonialist powers. Thus, when civil war breaks out, it is not necessarily because the country is divided, more that the country was never exactly unified in the first place. In fact, this story takes place shortly before South Sudan gains its independence. Readers will feel for Viola as she struggles not only to survive the journey out of Sudan but as she attempts to reconcile the cultural differences she must face as a new American. A moving and memorable read.
Here’s one that’s a must-read for more mature fans of fairy tales. Koertge takes well-known stories from the fairy tale cannon and turns them completely on their heads. In poetry form. Which is totally awesome. Many authors have difficulty getting their point across in 400 pages. Ron Koertge can tell a complete story in a single poem. And this book has tons of them! I loved these post-modern renditions; they feel simultaneously both truer to their original forms than many other modern adaptations and feel more contemporary than ever before. A fun, thought-provoking and fast read.
Hope and Lizzie have always been the closest of sisters. Then one day Hope catches Lizzie with a gun. Suddenly, Lizzie is in the hospital and Hope doesn’t know why. She doesn’t know why Lizzie tried to kill herself or why she has been crying at night for the last few months. Her mom has secrets too. Secrets she is scared of people finding out. Their mom has been a prostitute for a while now; she says it is better money than working at the Piggly-Wiggly and she needs money now that dad is gone. Slowly, over the course of the summer, Hope finds out what happened to Lizzie and her whole world changes.
Novels in verse are somehow more powerful than regular novels. The sparse text has to convey so much and that gives it more weight and meaning some how. Hope and Lizzie’s story is a tragic one. You will guess Lizzie’s secret long before Hope, but like Hope you hope it isn’t true. How can a mother be that evil, that heartless towards her own child? Truly powerful story that can be read in a very short period of time. It will break your heart, but it is worth it.
This first book of poems dwells in lived experience-women and farms, women and men,raising kids, cooking bread, the front porch, the marriage bed. Terry Song has an uncanny ear for real voices.
This a very good selection of teen-age poems showing their thoughts and feelings. Some mentioned others who were writing, but most were entirely about their own thoughts. These poems show how teens work out changes from childhood to growing into adulthood – the problems in between. There were teen pictures also, that seemed to fit the poems, but were really taken by an assistant principal for science in a different high school. It is easy to go mentally back into that age while reading these poems.
The events of the Salem Witch Trials are fairly well known. Young girls started having fits and claimed to be attacked by witches. Many were accused, some died, but most were eventually freed. We do not know what motivated these girls to accuse so many (around 200) people of cavorting with the devil. Hemphill attempts to shed light on what might have driven these girls down such a path. She uses the voices of three of the afflicted, Mercy, Margaret and Ann, to tell the story of Salem. In Wicked Girls, the girls are not being attacked by the devil, but are acting in order to gain status and attention in the town. It all starts out as a game as they accuse those who have wronged them or their families. But remorse sets in when people actually start to die because of their accusations. This novel in verse very accurately captures the paranoia and frenzy that infected the area. It shows how lives were ruined and communities divided.
This is a collection of poems by Adrienne Rich between 1998 – 2000 that includes dialogues between poets and artists, refers to poetry and history, and calls up feelings and visions. Although written in a simple style, these are messages that require one to visualize and contemplate their meaning – not light, airy, quick reads.
Katrina Katrell has a lot of imagination, which unfortunately her guardian Mrs. Krabone can not stand. She has finally had enough and invites Dr. LeFang, the Lobotomy Doc, to take care of Katrina. Katrina decides to run away (understandably). Mortimer Yorgle, or Morty for short, is a Zorgle from Underwood Bluff. His pop is a great explorer and adventure, but Morty likes to stay close to home. Unfortunately, he receives a lottery ticket for the lottery draw. This draw is not for cash or prizes, but for adventure and quest. The Zorgles of Zorgamazoo have vanished and Morty is given the task of finding them. Along the way he meets Katrina and they decide to do the task together. What they discover will shock and amaze you. It is all about boredom and tedium and all things gray.
It takes a lot of creativity and guts to write an entire novel in rhyme, but Zorgamazoo is worth it. Katrina is just what you want in a spunky, young heroine, and Morty just seems so lovable and courageous. The others in the story are equally imaginative and fun. This is a wonderful adventure story and would definitely be fun to read aloud.
This is a very whimsical children’s poetry book about books with fun titles like “Calling all Readers,” “A Character Pleads for his Life,” “On the Shelf and Under the Bed,” “Paper Sky, Bookplate,” and “I’ve got this covered” just to name a few. Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore! My daughter and I took turns reading the twenty-one poems aloud to each other and found ourselves giggling until the very end.
Grow is a novel in verse. Twelve-year-old Katie tells the story of the summer she helped Berneetha start a garden in their urban community. The poems describe how they cleaned up a vacant lot, how they planted their garden, how they got other members of the community involved and how friendships developed over the summer. It is a beautiful story not just about Katie and Berneetha, but about Harlan. Harlan is a young boy with an abusive father who finds his place in the garden with Katie and Berneetha. It is also the story of how the community came together to create a green space in the middle of the concrete jungle.