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Publisher Description

This thought-provoking companion to Nikki Grimes’ Coretta Scott King Award-winning Bronx Masquerade shows the capacity poetry has to express ideas and feelings, and connect us with ourselves and others.
Darrian dreams of writing for the New York Times. To hone his skills and learn more about the power of words, he enrolls in Mr. Ward’s class, known for its open-mic poetry readings and boys vs. girls poetry slam. Everyone in class has something important to say, and in sharing their poetry, they learn that they all face challenges and have a story to tell—whether it’s about health problems, aging out of foster care, being bullied for religious beliefs, or having to take on too much responsibility because of an addicted parent. As Darrian and his classmates get to know one another through poetry, they bond over the shared experiences and truth that emerge from their writing, despite their private struggles and outward differences.

Young Adult
February 13
Penguin Young Readers Group

Customer Reviews

lds 🙂 ,

Message: diversity 👏 Writing errors: yikes 🥴

I really liked all the different perspectives and the amount of diversity in the book. I loved Darrian’s little tidbits of Spanish and the Spanglish Val weaved into her poems was beautiful — really all of them were. The book gave me a “freedom writers” vibe to be honest — and I liked that movie so the message of this book was good. Lots of POC leads & Darrian is just a likeable character. I like his headlines and commentary. BUT there are too many moments when the writing makes me jump back and be like “???” “this got published and made it past the editors’ eyes???” One example is when the writing is in Jenesis’ perspective. She’s like “I was with Freddie” and then mid paragraph, there’s the sentence “she hugged Jenesis and Freddie,” “Jenesis said this” etc. The switch to third person narration continued even though it really shouldn’t have. I reread that like 3 times like “wait what? Why is it referring to Jenesis in the third person when it’s from her perspective at the beginning? What is going on here?” The latter question is a summary of the writing at times. 😬

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