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Bronx Masquerade Reprint Edition
Contributor(s): Grimes, Nikki

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ISBN: 0142501891     ISBN-13: 9780142501894
Publisher: Speak
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Binding Type: Paperback - See All Available Formats & Editions
Published: December 2003
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Annotation: When Wesley Boone writes a poem for his high school English class and reads it aloud, poetry-slam-style, he kicks off a revolution. Soon his classmates are clamoring to have weekly poetry sessions. One by one, eighteen students take on the risky challenge of self-revelation. Award-winning author Nikki Grimes captures the voices of eighteen teenagers through the poetry they share and the stories they tell, and exposes what lies beneath the skin, behind the eyes, beyond the masquerade.
Additional Information
Library of Congress Subjects:
Poetry; Fiction.
Identity; Fiction.
Ethnicity; Fiction.
Dewey: [Fic]
LCCN: BL2004000425
Lexile Measure: 670
Academic/Grade Level: Grade 7-9, Age 12-14
Book type: Juvenile Non-Fiction
Physical Information: 6.75" H x 4.25" W x 0.50" (0.20 lbs) 167 pages
Accelerated Reader Info
Quiz #: 55292
Reading Level: 4.5   Interest Level: Upper Grades   Point Value: 4.0
Scholastic Reading Counts Info
Quiz #: Q32690
Reading Level: 5.1   Interest Level: Grades 6-8   Point Value: 8.0
 
Descriptions, Reviews, Etc.

Contributor Bio(s): IV>Nikki Grimes is the multi-award-winning author of many books for young readers. She lives in Corona, California.

Reviewed by Horn Book Guide Reviews (Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Fall)
When Wesley writes a poem for English class instead of the assigned essay, he jump-starts Open Mike Fridays in his Bronx high school. Grimes creates a montage of eighteen voices who share a sense of isolation and yearning to belong. Whether their poems--one of which concludes each brief first-person prose piece--are in rap, free verse, or rhyme, these kids surprise one another in part with how much they are alike. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews

Reviewed by Horn Book Magazine Reviews (Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2002 #2)
When Wesley writes a poem for English class instead of the assigned essay on the poetry of the Harlem Renaissance, he jump-starts what become known as Open Mike Fridays in his Bronx high school. Soon he and seventeen other students are getting in touch with themselves and their classmates through these readings. A poet herself, author Grimes creates a montage of voices whose commonality rests in their sense of isolation and yearning to belong. Whether their poems-one of which concludes each brief first-person prose piece-are in rap, free verse, or conscious rhyme, these kids surprise one another in part with how much they are alike. In shared pain and need, they all become poets; as readers, we want to believe their individual poetic gifts, even as we hear Grimes's considerable talent behind theirs. Wesley's "homey" Tyrone, whose voice acts as binding commentary for them all, asserts, "The world ain't but one big surprise after another." The title of the book comes from basketball star Devon Hope's poem "Bronx Masquerade" in which he challenges his classmates "to peep / behind these eyes, discover the poet / in tough-guy disguise. / Don't call me Jump Shot. / My name is Surprise." Grimes reinforces her theme of discovery with white outsider Leslie Lucas, who felt banished to the Bronx after the death of her mom from cancer and who now feels part of a community: "I hardly knew anybody in this school at all. Big surprise." Latina Lupe Algarin, who sees a dead end to her life unless she gets pregnant like her sister, opens up in her poem to "a pale-skinned surprise / a friend" and ends the year knowing she will go to college. Grimes asks a lot of poetry in this short, fast-paced novel: within a year these eighteen kids have allowed poetry to turn them into a family and to turn them around. Perhaps unduly optimistic, the book nevertheless succeeds because it makes us want the best for these voices so clearly heard. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2003 December #4)
A high school teacher in the Bronx hosts open-mike poetry in his classroom, and his students forge unexpected connections with one another. "The creative, contemporary premise will hook teens, and the poems may even inspire readers to try a few of their own," wrote PW. Ages 12-up. (Dec.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Reviewed by Publishers Weekly Reviews (PW Reviews 2001 December #3)
When a high school teacher in the Bronx begins to host open-mike poetry in his classroom on Fridays, his students find a forum to express their identity issues and forge unexpected connections with one another. Grimes's (Jazmin's Notebook) creative, contemporary premise will hook teens, and the poems may even inspire readers to try a few of their own. The poetic forms range from lyrics penned by aspiring rapper Tyrone to the concrete poem of a budding Puerto Rican painter Raul (titled "Zorro" and formed as the letter "Z"). Ultimately, though, there may be too many characters for the audience to penetrate deeply. The students in Mr. Ward's English class experience everything from dyslexia and low self-esteem to teenage motherhood and physical abuse. The narrators trade off quickly, offering only a glimpse into their lives. Not even Tyrone, who breaks in after each student's poem to offer some commentary, comes fully to life. The students' poems, however, provide some lasting images (e.g., overweight Janelle, who is teased for her "thick casing," writes, "I am coconut,/ and the heart of me/ is sweeter/ than you know"). Any one of these students could likely dominate a novel of his or her own, they simply get too little time to hold the floor here. Ages 12-up. (Jan.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Reviewed by School Library Journal Reviews (SL Reviews 2002 January)
Gr 8 Up-A flowing, rhythmic portrait of the diversity and individuality of teen characters in a classroom in Anywhere, U.S.A. Each teen's story is told by combining his or her poetry with snippets of narration. Readers meet Tyrone, an aspiring songwriter who sees no use for school; Lupe, who thinks that becoming a mother would give her the love she lacks in her life; and Janelle, who is struggling with her body image. As their stories unfold and intertwine with those of their classmates, readers are able to observe changes in them and watch the group evolve into a more cohesive unit. Grimes's style is reminiscent of Mel Glenn's poetry novels, but by telling these stories in both poetry and narration, the author adds a new twist. Competent and reluctant readers alike will recognize and empathize with these teens. As always, Grimes gives young people exactly what they're looking for-real characters who show them they are not alone.-Lynn Evarts, Sauk Prairie High School, Prairie du Sac, WI Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
 
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