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Review of Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc

Voices: The Final Hours of Joan of Arc by David Elliott High School    Houghton    191 pp.    g 3/19    978-1-328-98759-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-0-358-04915-9    $9.99 In this verse novel, “voices” refers to Joan of Arc’s messages from the saints; to the various people who testified for and against her; to Joan herself; and to the objects […]

Review of SHOUT: A Poetry Memoir

SHOUT: A Poetry Memoir by Laurie Halse Anderson High School    Viking    290 pp.    g 3/19    978-0-670-01210-7    $17.99 “This is the story of a girl who lost her voice and wrote herself a new one.” So opens Anderson’s three-part autobiographical collection of dynamic, mostly free-verse poems that serves as a potent poetic endnote for her landmark […]

Review of Soaring Earth

Soaring Earth by Margarita Engle Middle School, High School    Atheneum    160 pp.    g 2/19    978-1-5344-2953-6    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2955-0    $10.99 In this companion verse memoir to Enchanted Air (rev. 7/15), Engle provides a glimpse into her high school years in Los Angeles and early adulthood as a Cuban American person coming to an understanding of […]

Review of They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems

They Call Me Güero: A Border Kid’s Poems by David Bowles Middle School    Cinco Puntos    109 pp.    g 9/18    978-1-947627-06-2    $18.95 Paper ed.  978-1-947627-07-9    $12.95 The dynamic complexity of the Rio Grande borderlands pulses in the poetry of twelve-year-old Güero — a nickname commonly given to light-skinned, freckled Mexican and Chicano boys. Inspired by the […]

Review of Between the Lines audiobook

Between the Lines by Nikki Grimes; read by Cherise Boothe, Lori Gardner, Almarie Guerra, Sisi Aisha Johnson, Edward Lopez, Ruffin Prentiss, and James Shippy Middle School, High School    Recorded Books Rev. 3/18    4 CDs    4 hrs.    978-1-5019-6261-5    $13.99 Nine high school students take turns giving readers their impressions of a poetry class they’re all taking, […]

Review of Rebound

Rebound by Kwame Alexander; illus. by Dawud Anyabwile Intermediate, Middle School    Houghton    414 pp. 4/18    978-0-544-86813-7    $16.99 In this prequel to Alexander’s Newbery Medal–winning The Crossover (rev. 5/14), it’s the summer of 1988, and twelve-year-old Charlie Bell would rather roller-skate with his two best friends or escape into the pages of his beloved Fantastic Four […]

Review of Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots by Margarita Engle; illus. by Rudy Gutierrez Middle School, High School    Atheneum    179 pp.    g 5/18    978-1-5344-0943-9    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5344-0945-3    $10.99 In 1942 Los Angeles, after working all day at the canneries, teen sisters Lorena and Marisela can’t wait to put on their sharpest swing […]

Last class, works in verse | Class #6, 2018

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson Adolescent novels in verse have steadily increased in popularity since Virginia Euwer Wolff’s groundbreaking Make Lemonade was published in 1993. The best of these marry form and subject in a way that enriches both. Jacqueline Woodson’s eloquent free-verse memoir traces her family history and the earliest development of a […]

Review of Long Way Down

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds High School    Dlouhy/Atheneum    306 pp.    g 10/17    978-1-4814-3825-4    $17.99 e-book ed.  978-1-4814-3827-8    $10.99 Fifteen-year-old Will, immobilized with grief when his older brother Shawn is shot and killed, slowly comes to mull The Rules in his head. There are three: don’t cry, don’t snitch, and “if someone you love / gets […]

Review of Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess

Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess by Shari Green Intermediate    Pajama    239 pp. 5/17    978-1-77278-033-8    $15.95 Paper ed.  978-1-77278-017-8    $9.95 Macy is fed up with all the changes impinging upon her: she’s finishing sixth grade and will have to move on to a new school and a new sign language interpreter; her mother is getting […]