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The Color of My Words Hardcover – August 8, 2000


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 840L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 144 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (August 8, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060282320
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060282325
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,144,362 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

What 12-year-old Ana Rosa Hèrnandez wants more than anything is a notepad of her very own. Writing is her passion, and words flow out of her pencil onto the paper bags that Papi brings his rum home in, onto napkins, onto gray shop paper. In the República Dominicana, however, only the President can write books. But as Mami sighs and says, "Ana Rosa, there always has to be a first person to do something." These supportive words are difficult for her mother to muster, as everyone on the island knows too well that writers do not have freedom of expression--and in their political climate "silence was self-defense."

When the chilling news arrives that the government wants to buy all the land in the village to build hotels and generate more tourism, people learn what it means to break their silence. Ana Rosa's handsome 19-year-old brother Guario Hèrnandez is appointed as official spokesperson for the villagers' cause, but when an out-and-out rebellion against the government erupts, he--and everyone else--is endangered. As the bulldozers roll in, Ana Rosa and her family discover how utterly worthless words really are in the face of brute force.

Lynn Joseph paints a vibrant, colorful landscape of this Caribbean island where love, warmth of community, and abundant natural beauty soften the kind of poverty that makes paper--and sometimes doing what you think is right--a luxury. Ana Rosa's engaging, heartfelt poems--"Merengue Dream," "My Brother's Friend"--begin every chapter, setting the tone of the events to follow, and reinforcing how words shape her life and how her life shapes her words. Young readers will be inspired by Ana Rosa's drive and talent, warmed by vivid stories of her close-knit family, and moved by those who fight for what's right at the greatest possible cost. This lovely, lyrical book dances the merengue, glimmers with sunshine, and sways with island breezes. (Ages 10 and older) --Karin Snelson

From Publishers Weekly

In finely wrought chapters that at times read more like a collection of related short stories than a novel, Joseph (Jump Up Time) presents slices from the life of Ana Rosa just as she is about to turn 13. Through the heroine's poetry and recollections, readers gain a rare intimate view of life in the Dominican Republic. Ana Rosa dreams of becoming a writer even though no one but the president writes books; she learns to dance the merengue by listening to the rhythms of her beloved ocean; and the love of her older brother, Guario, comforts her through many difficulties. The author's portraits of Ana Rosa and her family are studies in spare language; the chapters often grow out of one central imageAsuch as the gri gri tree where Ana Rosa keeps watch over her village and gets ideas for her writingAgiving the novel the feel of an extended prose poem. The brevity of the chapters showcases Joseph's gift for metaphoric language (e.g., her description of Ana Rosa's first crush: "My dark eyes trailed him like a line of hot soot wherever he went"). When the easy rhythms of the girl's island life abruptly change due to two major events, the author develops these cataclysms so subtly that readers may not feel the impact as fully as other events, such as the heroine's unrequited love. Still, it's a testimony to the power of Joseph's writing that the developments readers will empathize with most are those of greatest importance to her winning heroine. Ages 8-12. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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The Color of my Words is a sweet story of costs.
KEhresman
I used this book with my English Language Learners at the middle school level.
Rsb2
So great that while reading the book it wrapped me up so much into itself.
Rosalie Diaz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Rosalie Diaz on November 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
When I first looked for books that might be interesting to read. I would have to admit that at first glance I liked the book, because of its colorful cover, but then I went on to read the reviews and thought it a great idea to buy the book. I believe that it has been the best investment I have made in my life. I didn't like it...I LOVED IT. Its the type of book you hate to put down till your done with it, and the type you can relate to...I was born in the United States but am of Dominican origin and can truely say that this book captures what so many Dominicans have lived through the years. There have been heard times in the Domincan Republic but, but also great times. For there is nothing greater then the way Domincian families just stick together and this book gives a perfect example of how close people are in the Dominican Republic as if everyone was family. The way the author indents the spanish words that seem so familiar to me....and the way she uses quotations makes the book so easy to read. Most of all though its the detail the life experiences she explains in the book, the setting, and the loves shown throughout the book that makes it so great. So great that while reading the book it wrapped me up so much into itself. That I ended up crying not of dissapointment but of how good the book was. On how much I could relate to it from my life experience as a Dominincan girl but also as family experiences. When i suggested it to my friend and cousins they too cried of great joy for the book also wrapped them into its pages its words, but most of all into the life it had captured between the pages. I would recommend this book to anyone...For its the best book I have read so far....So if you haven't read it.....GO and READ IT NOW.....DON'T MISS OUT ON THIS GREAT BOOK....FOR IF YOU DO YOU'LL REGRET IT.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Linda Lamme on September 1, 2000
Format: Library Binding
This book is a winner in every way. Readers will learn why it is important to stand up for what is right, to band together to fight unjust and unethical situations, and the power of the written word. Ana Rosa is a really neat kid who cares deeply about her family and about social justice. When the chips are down she takes action. I am not from the Dominican Republic (nor is the author, though her husband is and she lives there) and I would be interested to read what a native person thinks of this book. As an American it made me angry to read first hand about the impact of our tourist industry upon cultures that are so poor they can't afford paper to write upon. I was uplifted and inspired by the close family ties and support of this family who were financially impoverished, but enriched beyond belief in human values and compassion. This is one of those books where you can learn something about another culture while at the same time, being entertained by a really good story. I think Lynn Joseph was careful with her words in crafting the story. Ana Rosa was even a bit rebellious and "different," but her family stood behind her. Great book. Great boy characters and girl characters -- all kids who dream to be activists would enjoy this story.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marilynn Griffith on August 1, 2003
Format: Library Binding
I've never cried and laughed so much in the space of so few pages. Ms. Joseph has captured the heart of a writer in Ana Maria's lush, colorful words flung against the backdrop of the Dominican Republic. I have no critique or summary, only gratitude. This book wounded me sweetly.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By G. Hanna-Breneau on February 15, 2006
Format: Paperback
Lynn Joseph masters the art of creating rich metaphors. Every page is full of wonderful, evocative images, such as "My mother had walked straight out of herself and left behind a stranger", and "He was the blue moon shimmering in the night sky". Ana Rosa's poems, which begin each chapter, offer an insight to what the chapter holds. The relationships between the characters, especially between Ana Rosa and her older brother Guario, are sweetly and tenderly portrayed. This is a beautifully written book, and one that can be enjoyed by both adolescents and adults.

The one weakness I found with the book was the sub-plot involving the identity of Ana Rosa's father. This seems as if it would be such a transforming revelation that it can't adequately be dealt with in just one chapter, never to be mentioned again. Such an important topic deserves a more in-depth treatment.

Overall, however, The Color of My Words is an excellent book, and highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By KEhresman on February 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
The Color of my Words is a sweet story of costs. When Ana Rosa's small village in the Dominican Republic is threatened to be torn down for hotels, her family and friends call on her to use her writing skills and stop it. She learns the power of her words, how much they change people. How much grief they can bring. I was left breathless. I was moved to tears, and had to read it over and over. It made me think about everything and nothing. There is no way to prepare yourself for the sincerity held in such a small book. This incredibly sad, beautiful book makes us realize our own power, and how much we hold in our hands.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LATeach on December 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book is amazing. I bought enough copies to use as a classroom novel because this is an OUTSTANDING story. The added bonus is its rich demonstration of the beauty and power of words. So often when teachers teach about 'words' it is all about building vocabulary and root words. Or we show discrete examples of similes and alliteration - terms to memorize. Here is an OUTSTANDING story full of wonderful characters, a powerful message - and rich, exciting, tasty words.
I am presently using this book as a classroom novel in all my classes. The response to this book is fantastic! Students can't get enough of it. They want to read more, talk more, discuss characters and issues, act it out... Amazing! Because of the use of similes, metaphors, alliteration, and so on - this book is a great way for my class to review for State testing and loving it.
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More About the Author

Lynn Joseph was born and raised on the island of Trinidad and is the author of books for children that feature her beloved home of Trinidad & Tobago, including A Wave in Her Pocket, The Mermaid's Twin Sister, An Island Christmas, and Coconut Kind of Day. Lynn travels extensively and writes about the places she has visited or lived including the Dominican Republic, which is the setting for her book The Color of My Words and her new YA novel Flowers in the Sky. She is an attorney who attended Fordham School of Law in New York, and the mother of two wonderful sons, Jared and Brandt. Her new Young Adult novel, Flowers in the Sky was published by HarperCollins Children's Books in March 2013. Lynn is currently attending the Vermont College of Fine Arts where she is studying for her Masters in Writing for Children & Young Adults. For more information about Lynn Joseph, please see her web site at www.lynnjosephauthor.com. Or follow her on Twitter @Lynnjoseph1 or on Facebook at Lynn Joseph Books.

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