A Maze Me: Poems for Girls


Life is a maze.
You are a maze.
And amazing.

First love, friendship, school, family, community, having a crush, a sense of self, your body, hopes and dreams . . . these seventy-two poems by Naomi Shihab Nye will speak to girls of all ages (from twelve to 112)!

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A Maze Me: Poems for Girls

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Life is a maze.
You are a maze.
And amazing.

First love, friendship, school, family, community, having a crush, a sense of self, your body, hopes and dreams . . . these seventy-two poems by Naomi Shihab Nye will speak to girls of all ages (from twelve to 112)!

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Nye's (Going Going, reviewed above) sprawling collection of more than 70 poems run the gamut from capturing a moment to probing more abstract ideas and many seem right for a wider audience than just females. The best poems take a detailed image and expose its wider application to daily life. For instance, in Rose, a spider and her delicate web offer a lesson in the beauty that results from measured, persistent care. Big Head, Big Face boasts the merits of simplicity by contrasting a small drawer with a big drawer. Several poems on vocabulary grow awkwardly abstract. The Word Peace takes a common school exercise (making many small words from the letters in one long word) and distorts the idea just enough to be confusing (Peace for example contained the crucial vowels of/ Eat and Easy. If people Ate together/ they would be less likely to Kill one another). But there's plenty of humor here in contemplating language, too. Take the poem You're Welcome! (People who say No problem'/ instead of You're welcome'/ have a problem they don't even/ know about) or a baby-sitter's claim that Baby-sitting should not be called/ sitting. Because it is chasing, bending,/ picking up, and major play. Maher's attractive illustrations open each section. Despite a few uneven selections, Nye's talent is ever in evidence, especially with a trio of Wallace Stevensstyle meditations on a Little Chair and lines such as this one in Over the Weather: Creamy miles of quiet/ Giant swoop of blue. Ages 12-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From The Critics
Nye reports that she kept a journal during her 'tween years, maybe writing only three lines a day. Those jottings remind her now of what she observed and felt during those years when her body insisted on growing up while she clung to childhood. These 72 poems grow out of those long ago observations, reminding her and her readers to notice everything, to think about everything, to wonder about the world and how to establish peace around you and in you. These poems are full of daily wonders: silver spider trails, glum Mondays, the heart of a pumpkin the day after Halloween, the little chair in kindergarten where her body no longer fits. If girls could be encouraged to put down the cell phones and the Ipods and look away from television and movie screens and see the sky, the grass, the lives around them with similar wonder and respect, as both girls and women they would shape a better world. This small book is a good place to start. 2005, Greenwillow Books, 124 pp., Ages young adult.
—Myrna Dee Marler
Children's Literature
In her newest book of poetry, Naomi Shihab Nye is totally apolitical as she identifies with the dreams and dreads and everyday hassles of adolescent girls. Short verses tantalize the mind with images that touch the soul and remind one just how much can be said with a few carefully chosen words: "Please, live with me in the open slope of a question mark . . . Don't answer it! Curl up in a comma that says more, and more, and more . . . " There are poems about siblings and boys, picking up your room and dealing with bad days. Girls will see their friends, their families, their schools in Nye's words. Boys may gain a better understanding of how girls think. "Walking slowly among tables, I balance my tray, glancing to the side. You're not here today. Are you sick? . . . Whatever the reason your absence is not excused by me." Nye's opening notes draw a connection between the "debris that is to be expected from the vibration of shipping" a holiday wreath and our own passage from one era into another when we feel as if "we are being shaken up, as if our contents are shifting and sifting into new alignments." Her poetry will prompt young readers in the midst of all that shifting to say "yessss — that's just the way it is!" A Maze Me addresses the puzzles of growing up with an amazing collection of words, uplifting, soul-searching, instructive without being pedantic, even suggestive of the kind of poetry young women could write about their own lives. 2005, Greenwillow Books, Ages 10 to 16.
—Karen Leggett
This charming collection allows young readers to realize that they and their world are probably complicated and amazing. Nye's introduction vividly describes her reluctant teen years and invites girls to write just three lines a day so that they can know who they are, remember what was significant to them, and discover the magic in life's small and simple details. The tiny volume is an excellent model for brief reflections. In five sections, Nye's poems explore universal feelings that each person experiences uniquely: about mind in "Big Head," emotions in "Secret Hum," the physical world in "Magical Geography," experiments and aspirations in "Sweet Dreams Please," and realizations or insights in "Something True." But her poems, as the poet herself, are not so easily classified and often explore all five aspects at once. She observes the rose, a vegetable truck, or shipping directions and snatches them for a poem, a surprise. Several, such as "Sifter" and "The Word Peace," are inspiring writing invitations for young poets and their writing teachers. Librarians will love "The List," Nye's reaction to a no-nonsense reading plan. Some poems, such as "If the Shoe Doesn't Fit," cross gender and are great discussion, bulletin board, or thought-for-the-day material. The book, appealing to women as well as girls, makes a wonderful intergenerational read and a very special gift to bind relationships. VOYA CODES: 5Q 4P M J S (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2005, HarperCollins, 128p., and PLB Ages 11 to 18.
—Lucy Schall
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7-A lovely, rich collection that promises to be a lasting companion for young writers. In her introduction, Nye says: "If you write three lines down in a notebook every day-you will find out what you notice. Uncanny connections will be made visible to you. That's what I started learning when I was twelve, and I never stopped learning it." The more than 70 poems (nearly every one previously unpublished) are all over the map in terms of subject, but all are in Nye's unique voice: keenly detailed, empathetic, and humorous. Many of the selections focus on feelings particular to girls. Others are universal, such as "High Hopes": "Now that I know the truth,/that I only dreamed someone liked me,/the cat has curled up in a bed of leaves/against the house and I still have to do/everything I had to do before/without a secret hum/ inside." The small format, with bright and pastel-colored, two-page illustrations that introduce the sections, is clearly directed toward girls. The decision to narrow the audience like this is curious. Most of the poems could be appreciated by a wider readership, but it will be the rare boy who would pick up this book. Too bad-it's a keeper.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nye begins her newest volume of 72 original poems with a wonderful, compact introduction in which she remembers her own "rough years of transition" and, like her beloved ceramics teacher, hopes to impart "faith about 'growing up.' " Writing for girls 12 and older, the author encourages her readers to "write three lines down in a notebook every day . . . you will find out what you notice," and these poems, one imagines, could have indeed started out as "scribbled details . . . crumbs to help me find my way back." They often deal with the everyday, smaller moments of childhood-a very large spider named Rose, the ring of a vegetable truck, a little chair, a flour sifter-through which quiet pings of meaning reverberate. Subtly, each of the five sections reflects the poet growing older; what she pays attention to changes and, with seeming simplicity, makes "uncanny connections" visible. From "Sifter": "When good days came / I would try to contain them gently / the way flour remains / in the sifter until you turn the handle." A gem. (index) (Poetry. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060581916
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 8/26/2014
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 128
  • Sales rank: 418,520
  • Age range: 13 years
  • Product dimensions: 4.90 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet and anthologist and the acclaimed author of Habibi: A Novel and Sitti's Secrets, a picture book, which was based on her own experiences visiting her beloved Sitti in Palestine. Her book 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has taught writing and worked in schools all over the world, including in Muscat, Oman. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Section 1 Big Head
Rose 11
Mystery 13
Ringing 14
Toys on the Planet Earth 16
Every Cat Has a Story 17
Visiting My Old Kindergarten Teacher... 18
Worry 19
The Boys 20
Where Are You? 21
Ellipse 22
Big Head, Big Face 23
Supple Cord 24
Every Day 25
The Bucket 26
Little Chair 27
Section 2 Secret Hum
Secret 33
Some Days 34
Eye 35
I Want to Meet the Girl 36
In the School Cafeteria 37
Crush 38
Where He Is 39
Groups of People Going Places Together 40
Sifter 42
I Said to Dana's Mother 44
Because of Poems 45
Having Forgotten to Bring a Book... 46
If the Shoe Doesn't Fit 47
On the Same Day My Parents Were Arguing 48
Changed 49
Hairdo 50
Message in the Thin Wind Before Bedtime 51
High Hopes 52
Bad Dream 53
Section 3 Magical Geography
People I Admire 57
My Body Is a Mystery 58
Feeling Wise 60
Sometimes I Pretend 61
Poor Monday 62
Watermelon Truck 63
Margaret 64
My Sad Aunt 65
The List 66
You're Welcome! 67
Moving House 68
Making a Mosaic 70
Necklace 72
From Labrador, 1800s 74
Section 4 Sweet Dreams Please
Historical Marker 79
Baby-sitting Should Not Be Called 80
Abandoned Homestead... 82
Turtle 83
Little Blanco River 84
The Bird Pose 85
Meteor Watch 86
Writing in a Silo 88
Finding a Pink Ribbon... 90
Bird in Hand 91
The Word PEACE 92
To the Tree Frogs Outside the Window 94
Messages from Everywhere 95
Section 5 Something True
Day After Halloween, Jack-o'-Lantern Candle... 99
What Travel Does 100
Abandoned Post Office, Big Bend 102
Learning to Talk 104
Over the Weather 106
On the Sunset Limited Train 107
Across the Aisle 108
Mona's Taco 110
A Way Around 111
To My Texas Handbook 112
Thoughts That Came in Floating 113
Index of First Lines 116
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First Chapter

A Maze Me
Poems for Girls


A very large spider
wove her fancy web
between the Don Juan rosebush
and the Queen's Crown vine.
We greeted her every day
going in and out.
We had so many destinations
but she just swung there
in the air
in the day's long stare
that grows so hot by four o'clock
we boycott the whole front yard.
By evening we'd be outside again
breathing jasmine
watering honeysuckle
plucking mint
and she'd be wrapping
her little flies and wasps
in sticky sacks.
The trolley rang its bell at us
and we waved back.
It was nice living with Rose.
Living our different lives
side by side.
One night wild thunder
shook the trees,
the sky crackled and split,
the winds blew hard
and by morning
Rose was gone.
Did she wash away?
Did she find a safer home?
She keeps spinning her elegant web
inside us
so long
so long
after the light made it shine.

A Maze Me
Poems for Girls
. Copyright © by Naomi Nye. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2008

    a reviewer

    The book A Maze Me, was inconsistant to me in it's good poems. The poems in this book were constantly changing situations within the same poem! I found that a little hard to read. Also the some of the poems were boring and didn't snatch your attention. Some things I liked about the book though were that it kept the same theme, it was about children doing things that they wouldn't really think twice about, such as finding a lady bug, the author, Naomi Shihab Nye really makes it interesting on some of her poems about the everyday lives of young girls or boys.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2008

    A wierd expierience...

    The book A Maze Me, was a little dissapointing, I mean, some of the poems were enjoyable, and some of them you could only understand if you knew the history of the author. The pictures were poor, but I did like the way you can relate to the poems, which are about the lives of children, doing things that you usually wouldn't write or give a second thought to. It kind of put life in a different perspective, reading this book will change the way you think about certain things.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2008

    Wonderful poetry.

    I picked this book up the other day and read it in 30 minutes. My husband brought it home for our 16 year old daughter. I thought it was wonderful, but our daughter thought it was stupid. I'm not convinced that a 12 year old girl can really get the point of these poems, but I think an adult with enough life experience can look back at these poems and see how great they are.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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