Friday, April 25, 2008

Poetry Friday

Can we just make a general rule that I'm no longer allowed in bookstores?

Bad things happen. Very bad things. Like when I go in for 1 book. 1 particular book that I even have on reserve and walk out with... well, let's just say A LOT more than 1 book, and I might have spent 7 times the amount I meant to. Um.... yeah. Bad Jennie. NO PEKING DUCK FOR YOU!

(Yes, I was going to have Peking Duck tonight. Friday nights when Dan is out of town = chick flick + Peking Duck. Tonight's choice isn't really a chick flick, but one I'm very anxious to see and Netflix so kindly delivered in on Wednesday-- Lust, Caution. Regular readers may recall that I absolutely loved the book.)

Anyway, it's Poetry Friday! So, let's have some poetry!

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.

Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

--Langston Hughes

Now, Andrea Cheng (obviously) did not write that poem, but it plays a big part in her verse novel, Where the Steps Were.

Told from the perspective of elementary school students, it tells the story of one school year, the last school year before their inner-city school is closed and torn down.

Kayla's brother is in and out of jail, Carmen's mom is sick, Dawn struggles with weight (in third grade!), Jonathan is homeless after his brother tried to dry his bedsheets with a lighter before anyone noticed he had wet the bed, Anthony likes helping Miss D. before school.

Langston Hughes comes in because Kayla really struggles with reading. This poem helps her break through some of her struggles and write some poetry on her own.

The class performs a play, and is unfairly kicked out of a play. They save up money to do something, and they say goodbye to their school.

It's a quiet book, as I think most verse novels are, but good. Cheng also illustrates it with beautiful woodcuts.

Miss Rumphius Effect has the roundup! Go enjoy!

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