Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Keeping the Night Watch

Smith, Hope Anita. 2008. KEEPING THE NIGHT WATCH. Ill. by E.B. Lewis. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 0805072020 [Suggested Grade Levels 5-8]

KEEPING THE NIGHT WATCH is a sequel to THE WAY A DOOR CLOSES. However, you don't have to have read the first book to enjoy and appreciate this one. Our hero and narrator is a young African-American man named C.J. who is struggling with finding his place in his family now that his father has reentered the picture and rejoined his family. C.J. grew into being 'the man' of the family. But now where does he belong? He can't go back to being a child? Can he?

Hope Anita Smith's poems are powerfully authentic as they examine the ins and outs, ups and downs of family life. This coming-of-age novel in verse is too heartfelt to be missed.

Discuss the family dynamics at play in the novel.

Write your own family-inspired poem.

Choose a poem (or two) to perform dramatically.

Other books of African American poetry for young people:
Adoff, Arnold. I AM THE DARKER BROTHER. ISBN 0689808690
Giovanni, Nikki. HIP HOP SPEAKS TO CHILDREN. ISBN 1402210485
Myers, Walter Dean. IT AIN’T ALL FOR NOTHIN’ ISBN 0064473112
Smith, Hope Anita. THE WAY A DOOR CLOSES. ISBN 080506477X

By Becky Laney

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