Nina O'Daniels

Shannon Grieshaber

Created in 2017

November 7, 2017

Jason Reynolds is at his most powerful in Long Way Down.  In sparse, potent verse, Reynolds tells the story of Will and his plan to get revenge on the guy who shot and killed his brother, Shawn.  Will knows the rules.  Shawn’s the one who taught them to him: 1) No crying, 2) No snitching, 3) Get revenge (“If someone you love / gets killed, / find the person / who killed / them and / kill them.)  I couldn’t help thinking of the 10 Duel Commandments from Hamilton . . .  Once Will decides to kill Shawn’s murderer, (“but if the blood / inside you is on the inside / of someone else / you never want...

November 6, 2017

When writing reviews, I frequently mention how much I learn from reading fiction.  In the case of Stone Mirrors: the Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis, I learned about an artist of whom I had never heard.  Edmonia Lewis was a teen during the Civil War.  Her mother was a Cherokee and her father was African American.  She was orphaned early and spent time at Oberlin College & Conservatory - one of the first schools to fully integrate white, black, male, and female students.  After tragic circumstances, she left school and moved to Boston where fate led her on the path to becoming a successf...

September 8, 2017

Impressive verse retelling of the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Author, David Elliott, writes the POVs of each of the seven characters involved in his version of the story and gives each one his own form of poetry to help distinguish the characters. This differentiation gives the book a super cool vibe. Dare I make a Hamilton connection? Elliott's use of modern, poetic words to convey an old story made me think of how Lin Manuel Miranda did the same. Poseidon's voice even had a bit of a rap beat (probs because of his unrestricted poetic form). Cool, funny, moving, quick.

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