Gr. 6^-9. Like Mel Glenn's Back to Class
(1988), Medearis' simple, candid first-person monologues speak in a number of contemporary teenage voices. The free verse is loose, easy, and immediate, and Michael Bryant's pencil portraits show a variety of teens, most of them girls. Many talk about growing up black now; about pride, anger, loneliness; about conflict within themselves and with friends and family. "I was born at the wrong time," says one kid, whose mother marched for civil rights. In "Black Barbie Doll," a girl answers those who jeer at her for her white friends and good grades. Some pieces are preachy, but the moods shift: one youth feels immune ("Nothing can happen to me" ); another is afraid to leave the safety of school. There's a poem about bulimia and one about making it as cheerleader and one about a teenager with twins ("I never have any fun anymore" ). Many readers will find pieces of themselves here, and they'll be encouraged to find their own voices and write about their lives. Hazel Rochman
About the Author
Angela S. Medearis is the author of more than 100 books for children based on African American history and culture, as well as the author of seven cookbooks. She is the president of Diva Productions, Inc., a multimedia company, and the producer and star of The Kitchen Diva! , a syndicated television cooking show. She is also the founder of Book Boosters, a nonprofit organisation that provides support for community literacy and health projects. She lives in Austin, Texas, USA.
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