A great idea has been turned into a great little book. Poets House and the New York Public Library sponsored a series of poetry workshops for teenagers in various branch libraries. These young people not only read, listened to, and talked about poetry, they made some themselves. This collection is the fruit of their efforts. We recognize these voices: Laura Bierstedt’s gentle musing on a long-haired, fourth-grade friend on the first day of seventh grade, when her hair is short and there is pain between them; or Ben Zeitlin’s “tales of the world” written in his old shoes. Connie Leung writes a villanelle in “Alter Ego” a complex form that she bends to her will to write an achingly familiar song of loneliness. Lia-taré Brown limns the awkwardness of a body that only seems like one’s own in “The Man Hands I Wear.” Poignant introspection, sly observations, lovely images, and droll commentary on life, school, love, and sports are all here for reflection. Raschka’s calligraphic, gestural drolleries enliven the pages, in apt synchronicity with these young writers’ view of themselves and their world. Winning indeed. (Poetry. 12-15)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-531-30258-X

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Orchard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000


From the creators of the popular anthologies Poetry Speaks and Poetry Speaks to Children (2001, 2005) comes another volume, this one aimed at the 12-14 set. Paschen casts a wide net for material, including pieces by William Shakespeare, Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Billy Collins, Nikki Grimes and Ogden Nash, among many others. The poems selected deal with themes of particular interest to young teens, such as romance, growing up, loneliness, friendship and identity. An audio CD featuring many of the poets reading their work as well as some poets reading the works of others is included; these clear and powerful readings add a welcome dimension and will no doubt enhance readers’ enjoyment of the collection. The design of the volume, with its funky typefaces and brightly colored cover, will also appeal to young teens. The final pages provide space for readers to add their own poems—a good idea, because after paging through this eclectic and powerful anthology many will indeed be inspired to take up the pen. (About the Contributors) (Poetry with audio CD. 12-14)

Pub Date: April 1, 2010

ISBN: 978-1-4022-1074-7

Page Count: 176

Publisher: The History Press/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: May 13, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2010



A brief discussion of the development and persistence of gender roles acts as an introduction to this excellent overview of what it has meant to be a girl in this country, from pre-colonial times to the present. Colman (Rosie the Riveter, 1995, etc.) never resorts to a generic ideal or tells the story as if she is speaking of an “everygirl”; instead, she allows a narrative to emerge from the histories and words of real people, from every social, ethnic, and economic level in the US. Some of the subjects and speakers are well-known, others are not (although they probably ought to be), but all are interesting and inspiring. Alice Greenough, daughter of “Packsaddle Ben” Greenough, grew up in the turn-of-the- century Montana wilderness where she did all the things her brothers did; Mary Elizabeth Bowser, a young black woman, worked with Elizabeth Van Lew, a middle-aged white woman, as spies for the Union army; Lilac Chen, a former prostitute in 19th- century San Francisco, tells how her own father sold her into slavery in China when she was only 6; and Yvonne “Eve” Blue, an obviously anorexic 14-year-old, maintained her gaunt frame by limiting herself to 140 calories a day—in 1926. These and dozens of other fascinating people offer more insight into gender roles better than any history text or sociological treatise, in lively writing that is greatly enhanced by page after page of black-and-white photographs, an extensive list of further reading, and a good index. A must-have for most collections. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-590-37129-0

Page Count: 192

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2000

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