Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25

Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25
Selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
Published by Greenwillow Books
Release Date: February 23, 2010

Naomi Shihab Nye set out to do a progressive thing when she proposed 25 Under 25 to her publisher - she aimed to produce a relevant anthology of, by, and for young readers.  After completing said collection, I feel wholeheartedly certain that she succeeded.  While Shihab Nye's introduction might lead a reader to believe that the breadth of the writers and topics leaves something to be desired, as she writes of a rather singular and specific experience in an isolated region of the United States, the book unfolds into something far from limited.  Each poet emerges from a unique background and brings with him or herself a set of experiences and a personal history that is widely relatable and clearly imperative in the composition of the poetry - many stanzas include references to personal traumas and successes, in every instance formatted to be as honest and genuine as possible.  This is a book not only suitable for the portion of youth who love poetry, but also for those who detest it based on the stuffy prose offered by English teachers; I advocate its integration into the curriculum of any educator who finds overcoming a student's distaste difficult.

There is a poet in this anthology for each and every young person to find kinship with, whether due to stylistic flair of the writer or the subjects addressed.  From rejection to rape to airplane travel, each writer puts into words the deep emotions experienced by themselves and so many others.  The borders of this collection do not exist - you will find sounds of Pakistan, images of Mexico, and memories of New York City, all coalesced into one enormous dream coat, perfectly suited to keeping one warm through the snowy winter.  Essentially, you would do well to keep this books at your side, regardless of age or season.

Juliana, 12th Grade

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Finnikin of the Rock, by Melina Marchetta

The novel Finnikin of the Rock opens into the mystical land of Lumatere in the spring.
Plot Spoilers! Please highlight to read!

On the eve of the Harvest Moon Festival, where Lumaterans dance and give thanks for life, Finnikin of the Rock has a dream that he was to sacrifice a pound of flesh in order to save the beloved land. Finnikin and his three friends make an oath to protect the royal family at all costs, but the royal family is murdered one night by the family's cousin. As a result "the five days of the uspeakable" occurs and a curse is placed on the land binding all those within to the castle and keeping former Lumaterans out.
This fantasy novel provides suspense with the courageous tale of Finnikin and his fight to break the curse. This book is for young teens and pre-teens who enjoy reading fantasy novels that contain a lot of action and suspense. Finnikin is a courageous and loyal hero and a character that you would want to see in more novels.

Ellen, 10th grade

The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before. By Ann M. Martin

Like many of Ann M. Martin's other novels, her latest installment of The Baby-Sitters Club delves into the lives of four 12 and 13 year old girls. The trials and tribulations of the average teenage girl are accurately described and allow the reader to truly connect to the characters. The Summer Before focuses on the summer before the start of the baby-sitters club. The lives of these four girls are changing and they struggle to adjust to their ever cnaging worlds. The novel is engaging and fun to read, perfect for a girl of any age. The characters are easy to relat to and all four are completely different. I would recommend this book to both fans of the baby-sitters club, as well as to people who have never read them before.
Ellen M., 10th grade