Based on the recommendations of the 11 teen readers on the Teen title selection panel, our selection for young readers is Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes. Named a Coretta Scott King Award Winner in 2003, Ms. Grimes' novel portrays a high school English class as they discover ways to express themselves to each other through poetry. You can learn more about the book on Nikki Grimes' website.

Reviews

"A flowing, rhythmic portrait of the diversity and individuality of teen characters in a classroom...competent and reluctant readers alike will recognize and empathize with these teens."
-School Library Journal, January 2002

"Nikki Grimes masterfully weaves poetry and prose together to create a rich tapestry of teen voices; students of all reading levels will recognize themselves in these pages."
-Jennifer Weikert, Teen Librarian/Coordinator of the Teen Title Selection Team, Westwood Branch, Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

Excerpts

Tyrone: Her voice is so soft, I close my eyes every time she reads, trying to hold in the sound a little longer. I'm glad Mr. Ward asked her to read her piece over again. She says it like a whisper, but it's powerful stuff. That's one thing these ladies know how to do. Be soft and strong at the same time. Like my moms. (p.69)

Raynard: The one thing I know for certain is that I eat, sleep, and dream music. Man, when I see myself in the future, it's on a bandstand, fingering my alto. I may not be much of a talker, but hey, give me a sax and I'll talk all night long. My cousin Sterling says one day the whole world will hear what I have to say. (p.124)

"Imagine" by Lupe Algarin
I walk by a mirror,
catch my eye,
wonder at the universe
behind it.
Past the flashing eyes
is a file
for yesterday's sunset
dripping mango light,
for Papi's laughter
tinkling in my
five-year-old ears
so many years gone by,
for tears
shed below a crucifix
on my wall.
I sort it all out,
store it under
"been there, done that"
and open a clean drawer
labeled Manana
a place to store adventures
I'm still learning
To imagine.
(p.149)