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A highly creative way of providing insightful social commentary.

An African American poet explores the special joys and challenges of Black girlhood.

Educator and writer Shanté draws on her life story to explore what it means to be a Black girl in contemporary society. From the beginning, she pays homage to wide-ranging experiences, some positive, some not, of women of all ages, while acknowledging her connections to them through her writing. She uses a variety of poetic forms, including free verse and haiku, to describe ways that Black girls are characterized from an early age. Others negatively judged Shanté’s mother’s status as a single parent, even as her mom sought supportive connections: “she wanted us to know / that we had community / a culture / a home / a safe space / to land. / In a hard / hard / world.” Her mother’s guidance was critical to Shanté’s ability to overcome limitations imposed both from within and outside the community. By weaving her personal experiences with reflections and observations, the author provides a rich tapestry of perspectives on Black girlhood. In addition to culturally specific episodes, the poems explore universal themes around family dynamics, coming of age, and personal acceptance. The author effectively uses the imagery of being boxed in (and stepping outside boxes) to link the poems and vignettes. Footnotes cleverly expand on the ideas contained in the main text. A comprehensive readers’ guide completes this unique literary package.

A highly creative way of providing insightful social commentary. (Poetry. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9798890039538

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2024

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