Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Red Pencil

Book 3 of my 2016 Reading Challenge
read from January 3 - 4

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Summary (via the book jacket)
Finally, Amira is twelve. Old enough for new responsibilities, old enough to make something of herself. She wants to learn to read, to write, to set free all the big ideas she finds herself sketching in the sand. But girls like Amira don't go to school - their purpose is to work, to become good wives and mothers. Yet Amira can't help but hope for something more.
Her dreams are pushed aside when, without warning, the Janjaweed militia storms her small village, shattering life as she knows it and taking away so many of the things she holds dear. As she starts the long journey toward a new life at a refugee camp, Amira feels her spirit slipping away...until the simple gift of a single red pencil opens her mind - and all kinds of possibilities.

Brian's Opinion
My 10 year old son read this for his Battle of the Books competition. He would give it 3.5 stars. When I asked what he thought he said, "It was good at most parts but sometimes it was really sad.  It makes me feel kind of sad that people aren't as fortunate as us.  If you're into realistic fiction books then I would kind of recommend it."

My Opinion
I was flipping through the pages for the story so quickly I had to remind myself to stop and look at the pictures.  I'm glad I did because they were magnificent as well.
Using poetry introduces tough subjects to young readers without overwhelming them but also leaves room to read between the lines for more mature audiences.  This writing style was also used to great effect in the book Yellow Star, a book I would also recommend.

A Few Quotes from the Book
"Finally, I am twelve.
 Old enough to wear a toob.

 As soon as I wake,
 Muma whispers a birthday wish.

 "Blessings for all the years to come, Amira." "

"But today
 Halima and I
 must say good-bye.

 Her father is determined
 to find something more.

 I hear him tell Dando
 he wants to go from small to big,
 from village to city.

 He's looking for something he calls

"It's not right to listen
 when my ears haven't been invited.

 But my ears can't help it.
 They're doing what ears are meant to do."

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