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Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Dear One, written by Jacqueline Woodson. speak, Penguin.1991 $9.99 ages 12 and up

"Grandma said if I ever want to remember stuff about anything in the past, then I have to go back as far as I can, reach down as deep as I can, even if all that reaching and remembering hurts sometimes. She said only after I've gathered it all up can I make sense out of it. Grandma told me that if I hold on to stuff, I can tell it to my children and they can grow up stronger."

Can Jacqueline Woodson write books that keep you reading and leave you more aware than you were before you read that book? Indeed, she can. She writes compelling and thought-provoking books that will keep middle grade and young adult (even ‘old’er women) readers listening to the voices of young people dealing with all those issues that young people the world over must face. I started this book last night when I was very tired and I finished its 137 pages in quick order. She makes me forget the world around me and become one with her characters and their lives. They have such authentic voice in the telling of their stories. When Rebecca arrives, fifteen and pregnant, Feni is furious. How dare she disrupt their life? But, life has a way of throwing curveballs and soon Feni finds herself rethinking her position on Rebecca and a strong friendship develops, though not without its difficulties. A great readaloud for middle and senior years classrooms. And, I guarantee you will soon be looking for other books by this fine author.

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