Monday, February 5, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Illustrated by Sean Evans. 336 p. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, September, 2014. 9780316247801. (Own.)

Amira is looking forward to turning twelve and being able to wear a toob, a symbol of womanhood. She lives happily with her parents and crippled younger sister in a village in southern Darfur. Her best friend has moved away to the city so she could attend school. Amira would love to attend school. Her beloved father is open but her traditionalist mother is not. All of this becomes moot when Amira's village is attacked by Janjaweed militants. Her father is viciously murdered and Amira and her remaining family must flee to a refugee camp.

The spare free verse is strong on imagery and the accompanying illustrations, while spare as well, enhance the emotion of verse. This middle grade novel tackles some hard truths in a respectful and gentle manner.

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