In Katrina L. Burchett's Choices, a group of African American high school students from York, PA face questions about relationships, peer pressure, and religion. The main friendship group includes La Keeta, pregnant out of wedlock with no contact with the baby's father, Angel whose workaholic mother ignores her, Shauntice whose father abuses her mother, and Hope and Bridgette, Christian girls hoping to influence their friends. High school boys circle around these girls as relationships emerge and dissolve with painful consequences.
What better way to write about a poet than to use poems? That is exactly what Stephanie Hemphill does in her response to Sylvia Plath's work. Using voices of Sylvia's husband, Ted Hughes, her friend, Anne Saxton, and her teacher, Robert Lowell, Hemphill writes poems to and about Sylvia. Her welcoming images invite young readers to share her connection with the poet who captured her attention in high school.
Relationships can be tricky at best and are especially complicated for high school Morgan whose boyfriend Raphael breaks up with her just before summer vacation. She responded as any heart-broken teenager would; she cut off more than twenty-four inches ofd her strawberry blonde hair, leaving only stubble. Her parents decided a change of scenery was in order and sent her on a bicycle trip through Ireland, the land of leprechauns and magic stories. They had not counted on time travel as part of the adventure, but it was.
From her teaching experience, the author has created a series of fifty-one monologues to help students enhance their performing arts skills. She divided the work into sections for young women, young men and all youth. Her stage directions offer young actors guidelines for presentation. Each monologue is a story in itself and invites the performer to see situations from the eyes of other youth. The voice and tone varies in each piece and covers ground from humorous to tragic.
High school is awful under the best circumstances. When Isabell's swollen glands result in a diagnosis of lymphoma, ordinary concerns of homework and popularity give way to hospital visits and chemotherapy. The kids at school don't know how to react and send emotional cards and tasteless videos. Izzy's family tries to handle the upheaval while holding on to just a bit of normalcy. Izzy make her way through treatment not as a shining hero but as a regular kid.
Miss O and Friends Write On! The Miss O & Friends Collection of Rockin' Fiction
Hermine Brindak, illustrator
The book is dedicated "For all the girls out there who love to imagine, create, and write!" What a great idea! Girls visit the website (www.missandfriends.com) to submit poems and short fiction. The winners are published. The collection includes stories about friendships, growing pains, and family concerns. Sometimes writing ideas are right under your nose and sometimes you find them in poems "at the edge of the universe."