Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Bronx Masquerade

Bronx Masquerade. Nikki Grimes. 2001/2017. Penguin. 192 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: I ain't particular about doing homework, you understand.

Premise/plot: Mr. Ward is exciting a high school class about poetry. He is giving his students ongoing opportunities to share their own poetry. Writing and sharing poetry changes them in immeasurable ways. This YA novel is told in multiple voices in prose and poetry. The novel spans a school year, I believe.

 Black Box
by Devon Hope
In case I forgot to tell you,
I'm allergic to boxes:
Black boxes, shoe boxes
New boxes, You boxes--
Even cereal boxes
Boasting champions.
(It's all a lie.
I've peeked inside
And what I found
Were flakes.)
Make no mistake,
I make no exceptions
For Cracker Jack
Or Christmas glitter.
Haven't you noticed?
I'm made of skeleton,
Muscle and skin.
My body is the only box
I belong in.
But you like your boxes
So keep them.
Mark them geek, wimp, bully.
Mark them china doll, braniac,
Or plain dumb jock.
Choose whatever
Box you like, Mike.
Just don't put me
In one, son.
Believe me,
I won't fit. (84-5)

My thoughts: What a great novel!!! I would recommend this one even to those who think they HATE--abhor--poetry. Is there a difference between thinking you hate something and actually hating something? I think so. Until you've tried something--genuinely tried something--it's not fair to say you hate it. I think poetry comes in so many different shapes and sizes. And disliking one doesn't mean disliking all. Anyway, what I was trying--and failing--to say was that poetry can speak soul to soul and have relevance in or out of a classroom.

The book was honored with the Coretta Scot King Author Award in 2003.

© 2018 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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