Friday, June 1, 2018

Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes - ESSENTIAL

Grimes, Nikki  Bronx Masquerade, , 167 pages. Dial Books (Penguin), 2002. $17. Content: Language: PG (2 swears); Mature Content: PG-13; Violence: PG. 

Mr. Ward is the English teacher in an inner city school in the Bronx, but he has reached several of his students through a poetry unit.  Eighteen different students take turns reading their poetry in an open mike session on Fridays in Mr. Ward’s class.  As they start to share parts of their lives that they would never share otherwise, the teens begin to understand each other and their own lives better.  

I loved this book. The format is a short chapter about the character’s life and struggles and then it is followed by their poem. The chapter that follows the poem is usually spurred by another teen’s response to the first student’s poem.  I loved the poems and I think this is a great book to use in the classroom during a poetry unit.  The many voices and problems were well handled and included references to teen pregnancy, a parent dying of a drug overdose and mention of someone getting raped.  

MS, HS – ESSENTIAL. Reviewer: C. Peterson.

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