Deshawn Days

Deshawn Days

5.0 1
by Tony Medina, R. Gregory Christie
     
 

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I'm DeShawn Williams
I'm ten years old come see who I live with --
who I love!

From this inviting opening, we are swept into ten-year-old DeShawn's world where we meet his family, his friends, and learn about his hopes and dreams. DeShawn lives in the projects, where "You don't just hear music / you hear sirens too /cop cars and ambulances

Overview

I'm DeShawn Williams
I'm ten years old come see who I live with --
who I love!

From this inviting opening, we are swept into ten-year-old DeShawn's world where we meet his family, his friends, and learn about his hopes and dreams. DeShawn lives in the projects, where "You don't just hear music / you hear sirens too /cop cars and ambulances /screaming all the time /real loud at you." This is also a place where neighbors gather for barbecues, and where DeShawn and his cousin build a snowman in the winter. We experience the death of DeShawn's grandmother, deeply feeling his sadness and loss. And we share the hope as he and his mother turn to each other for comfort. Readers from all backgrounds will be charmed by this upbeat, compassionate, and creative young boy.

In his first children's book, author Tony Medina draws from his experiences growing up in the projects to create this dynamic character. Award-winning artist R. Gregory Christie beautifully captures the emotion, humor, and strength of the story through his powerful illustrations. An afterword from the author expands on his connection to the story and explains how he was inspired to become a writer.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
This is an incredibly stirring book, a story crafted by loving memory in heartfelt poetry, as soft as a lullaby and as tough as the boyz in the 'hood. We are invited to enter the world of a ten-year-old boy who lives with his beloved grandmother, mother, Uncle Ritchie and cousin Tiffany in an inner-city neighborhood that buzzes with life. We are also honored to enter the inner life of this sensitive child as he lives his days, playing hide and seek outside until dark, wrestling with Tiffany, staying up late with Grandma and grappling with a growing awareness of life. The illustrations are part cartoon and part psychological masterpieces, matching the depth and innocence of the text in very moving ways. This picture book is part of a growing trend in the genre, which gives a sophisticated voice to modern themes with vibrant color and real pathos. Kids who live this life will be overjoyed to find their world so well described, while children from other backgrounds will get a chance to meet somebody they would probably love to play with, after school. 2001, Lee & Low Books, $16.95. Ages 6 to 10. Reviewer:Nancy Partridge
School Library Journal
Gr 2-5-"I'm DeShawn Williams/I'm ten years old/come see who I live with-/who I love!" Told in verse and segmented into descriptive passages each illustrated on double-page spreads, Medina's story introduces readers to the world of an African-American boy who lives in the projects. Happy, sad, or scary, the experiences DeShawn shares are vivid, thought-provoking, and insightful. "What Is Life Like in the 'Hood": "You don't just hear music/you hear sirens too/cop cars and ambulances/screaming all the time/real loud at you." Other segments describe his household, the news on TV ("When I watch the news it's always/about somebody dying and there's/ always mothers and kids crying/because somebody got shot or/two countries are fighting"), his friends, and rap. Though many of the verses deal with the harsh reality of living in a turbulent environment, the optimism of this child is evident and convincing. Christie's acrylic paintings are bold, vibrant, and childlike, adding to the moods created by Medina's poetry. A wonderful book to read aloud and a possible springboard for teachers to use in creative-writing and art classes.-Patti Gonzales, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A series of free-verse poems gives readers a relentless look at the bright side of life in the projects. Told in the oh-so-childlike voice of 10-year-old DeShawn, they cover such topics as "What Is Life Like in the 'Hood," "Watching the News," "I Hate Graffiti," and "I Love My Block." The loosely linked poems present snapshots of DeShawn's life and the important people in it, showing how he confronts, copes with, and ultimately overcomes the inescapable harshness of his environment. In this offering, his first for children, Medina presents a verse that is coyly artless, often employing a too-cute exclamation point: about his beloved grandma, DeShawn writes that "Everybody likes her-even my friends / when they come over they end / calling her Ma just like I do!" A little bit of this goes a long way, and there is not enough subtlety or craft to the verse to compensate. Christie's ("Only Passing Through", 2000, etc.) bright, faux-primitive acrylics carry more power than the text, but the out-of-proportion figures are ultimately unattractive-the ungainly image of DeShawn's grandmother that accompanies the poem "My Grandmother's Legs" is undeniably strong, but it is hard to see the loving woman that DeShawn describes. Obviously an attempt to create a resilient, innocent character whose family, imagination, and sweet nature help him to survive in a difficult world, it serves up a sort of project Pollyanna. Sincerity to spare, but not much else. "(Picture book/poetry. 7-10)"

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781584302285
Publisher:
Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
04/28/2001
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
1,106,255
Product dimensions:
8.10(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
8 Years

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Deshawn Days 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book is great. I love how vivid and descriptive the text is. Seeing the 'hood' through DeShawn's eyes is an eye-opening experience. I loved the authenticity of the characters, they were very relatable and real. Great Book