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Posted August 24, 2011
Fresh telling of a familiar story
Nice Christian girl gets pregnant is not a new plot line, but Nikki Grimes's poetry gives fresh insights into an all-too-familiar story. Poetry touches emotions in a way that prose often misses. "Ankle deep,/my faith a thing/ I wade in now and then." Mary Rodine (MR) takes courage from a book of poems about the Virgin Mary, facing the same physical changes and stigma of an unexpected pregnancy as Mister.
The book is a quick read-lots of white space on the page, which can make it attractive to reluctant readers. The tone, frank and full of attitude, reminds me of Helen Frost's Keesha's House. Unfortunately, I suspect the metaphors and structure of poetry would make it inaccessible to the kids I have worked with in Africa for whom English is not their first language. The message would be well received there if the level of English reading fluency is high enough.
I highly recommend A Girl Named Mister for your church library. Excerpts could make great discussion-starters in a youth group, and it may just encourage a girl in trouble as the book about Mary did Mister.
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Posted November 30, 2010
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