THE BRAID by Helen Frost


Age Range: 12 - 15
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Telling of the struggle and adventures of two teenage sisters, one in Nova Scotia, the other on the Isle of Barra in the 1850s, this is also an adventure in language. Told in narrative poems in the alternating voices of the sisters (their ages reflected in the number of syllables in each line), the poems are braided together much as the sisters braid a lock of each other’s hair into their own. Between the narrative poems is an ode, which praises something in the previous narrative. Each praise poem begins with the last line of the last praise poem. Thus the strands of the two narratives and the praise poem form a “braid.” Forced to leave their native island, the family flees to Canada, but Sarah remains at home, falls in love and worries about the man she loves when he unexpectedly must also go to Canada. Jeannie helps her mother and younger siblings (the father and other siblings died during the voyage) scrape together a living in the new country and finds resources in which to cobble a shelter for them to inhabit. Readers will hold their breaths waiting to discover what happens to the sisters while their verbal reservoirs will be restocked with incredible imagery, rich vocabulary and powerful storytelling. (Historical fiction/poetry. 12-15)

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 2006
ISBN: 0-374-30962-0
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2006


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