SPEAK TO ME by Karen English
Kirkus Star


(And I Will Listen Between the Lines)
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 10
Email this review


English captures the voices of six African-American children as they chronicle one school day. Malcolm is the dreamer, the image-maker, as he notices and pretends and wishes. Lamont is righteous, but he’s also the one who gives his teacher a flower and wants to sit next to the “reading boy,” perhaps to catch some of his talent. Tyrell is angry and troublesome and yearning to be good. Rica and Neecy are best friends, while Brianna is heartbroken at being left out of their tightness. English employs the simplest of language in perfect evocation of the children’s thoughts, confusions, small hopes, and large dreams. Most of the poems can be read as universal moments in the lives of elementary-school children of all ethnicities and backgrounds, or one can “listen between the lines” to find the unique characters of these six individuals. Bates does just that as she enhances each poem with a beautifully powerful illustration, capturing every mood, every feeling, and breathes life into each distinct personality. Just wonderful. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 13th, 2004
ISBN: 0-374-37156-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 2004


ChildrenTHE NEW KID by Karen English
by Karen English
ChildrenIT ALL COMES DOWN TO THIS by Karen English
by Karen English
ChildrenTROUBLE NEXT DOOR by Karen English
by Karen English


ChildrenGITTEL'S JOURNEY by Lesléa Newman
by Lesléa Newman
ChildrenLOVING HANDS by Tony Johnston
by Tony Johnston
ChildrenTHE BIG UMBRELLA by Amy June Bates
by Amy June Bates
ChildrenSAM THE MAN & THE RUTABAGA PLAN by Frances O’Roark Dowell
by Frances O’Roark Dowell
ChildrenSAM THE MAN & THE CHICKEN PLAN by Frances O’Roark Dowell
by Frances O’Roark Dowell