Posts Tagged 'Poetry'

Ordinary Hazards by Nikki Grimes

Genre: Poetry/Memoir

Number of Pages: 325

Nikki Grimes retells the story of her childhood and the many hardships she endured in poetry form. Some of the challenges she faced included having a mentally ill alcoholic mother, being separated from her sister, having an abusive adult in her home, going into foster care, living in dangerous neighborhoods, and constantly feeling like no one appreciates her writing skills. The story itself is very powerful, but in the verse format the sheer feeling behind it really comes through and the reader can really feel how the author felt and how impressive it is for her to put this out in the world. This memoir really helps encourage students who might not otherwise want to read (or write) poetry to get interested and to see how powerful a medium it can really be. Highly Recommended.

Undercover by Beth Kephart

Genre:  Realistic Fiction

Age Level:  12 and up

# of Pages:  278

RAC Book:  Yes

Elisa loves to write poems and chooses to use that talent to help boys get girls to like them.  She believes that she will always be invisible since she is not pretty or popular.  When she helps a boy named Theo try to woo a popular girl she begins to enjoy meeting with him to share poems and other thoughts.  When his new girlfriend finds out she gets jealous and vows to make Elisa’s life miserable. 

Elisa is not just invisible at school, however.  Her mother and older sister are beautiful blonds who concern themselves with their appearance and the latest fashions.  Elisa doesn’t mind this as much as you would think because she has such a strong connection to her father, the person who showed her how to view nature in a way that she could write poetry about it.  Her father has been out of town on business for a long time and it begins to cause friction between her parents.

The idea of Elisa being a Cyrano de Bergerac is interesting, but not played out enough.  She seems to do it out of sheer kindness even though everyone around her treats her terribly.  Her fascination with skating is interesting, but also rushed in the ending which makes it feel underdeveloped.  The entire ending seemed rushed and too open ended for the intended audience.  Students will have many questions about it when they are finished.  The pacing of this story is uneven and fails to resolve itself by the end. 


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