From the book
I woke up this morning
from Bronx Masquerade
Answers to Your Questions
I've done my best to answer the questions I've been asked about the story behind Bronx Masquerade. Read my article, Bronx Masquerade: an Insider's Perspective.
Your students are caught up in the excitement of Open Mike Friday. Poetry is their newest passion. Now what?
There are teaching guides available for this book. Click here.
In case you missed it, the Coretta Scott King Task Force honored yours truly with two book awards in 2003, the Author Award for Bronx Masquerade, and an Author Honor for Talkin' About Bessie.
The presentation was made at a breakfast during the American Library Association Conference, held in Toronto, Canada. Do you want to know what I said? Thought you'd never ask! Click here to find out.
"This is almost like a play for 18 voices, as Grimes...moves her narration among a group of high school students in the Bronx. The English teacher, Mr. Ward, accepts a set of poems from Wesley, his response to a month of reading poetry from the Harlem Renaissance. Soon there's an open-mike poetry reading, sponsored by Mr. Ward, every month, and then later, every week. The chapters in the students' voices alternate with the poem read by that student, defiant, shy, terrified. All of them, 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...Beyond those capsules are rich and complex teens, and their tentative reaching out to each other increases as though the poems they also find more of themselves." Kirkus, starred review
"A poet herself, author Grimes creates a montage of voices whose commonality rests in their sense of isolation and yearning to belong. Whether their poems...are in rap, free verse, or conscious rhyme, these kids surprise one another in part with how much they are alike. In shared pain and need, they all become poets; as readers, we want to believe their individual poetic gifts, even as we hear Grimes's considerable talent behind theirs...the book...succeeds because it makes us want the best for these voices so clearly heard." Horn Book
"A flowing, rhythmic portrait of the diversity and individuality of teen characters in a classroom in Anywhere, U.S.A...Readers meet Tyrone, an aspiring songwriter who sees no use for school; Lupe, who thinks that becoming a mother would give her the love she lacks in her life; and Janelle, who is struggling with her body image...Competent and reluctant readers alike will recognize and empathize with these teens. As always, Grimes gives young people exactly what they're looking forreal characters who show them they are not alone." School Library Journal
2003 Coretta Scott King Author Award