A Coretta Scott King Award winner!
Using the structure of a poetry slam, Nikki Grimes' award-winning novel is a powerful exploration of self, an homage to spoken-word poetry, and an intriguing look into the life of eighteen urban teens. This anniversary edition--celebrating ten years of this wonderfully evocative work--will feature discussion questions, testimonials from teachers, and an all new introduction from the author.
"All of the [students], black, Latino, white, male, and female, talk about the unease and alienation endemic to their ages, and they do it in fresh and appealing voices. Rich and complex."
"As always, Grimes gives young people exactly what they're looking for—real characters who show them they are not alone."
—School Library Journal
"Readers will enjoy the lively, smart voices that talk bravely, about real issues and secret fears. A fantastic choice."
Open Mike Friday is everyone's favorite day in Mr. Ward's English class. On Fridays, his 18 high-school students dare to relax long enough to let slip the poets, painters, readers, and dreamers that exist within each of them. Raul Ramirez, the self-described "next Diego Rivera," longs "to show the beauty of our people, that we are not all banditos like they show on TV, munching cuchfritos and sipping beer through chipped teeth." And while angry Tyrone Bittings finds dubious comfort in denying hope: "Life is cold. Future?...wish there was some future to talk about. I could use me some future," overweight Janelle Battle hopes to be seen for what she really is: "for I am coconut / and the heart of me / is sweeter / than you know" They are all here: the tall girl, the tough-talking rapper, the jock, the beauty queen, the teenage mom, the artist, and many more. While it may sound like another Breakfast Club rehash, Grimes uses both poetry and revealing first-person prose to give each character a distinct voice. By book's end, all the voices have blended seamlessly into a multicultural chorus laden with a message that is probably summed up best by pretty girl Tanisha Scott's comment, "I am not a skin color or a hank of wavy hair. I am a person, and if they don't get that, it's their problem, not mine." But no teen reader will have a problem with this lyrical mix of many-hued views. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert