Interweaving reminiscences of his Caribbean childhood with incisive observations on modern young people, an award-winning poet presents forty-four poems that explore the theme of diversity in sections on growing up, nature, change, the magic of myths, and a society unwilling to embrace diversity.
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Like ``fife-man'' in the selection ``Haiku Moments: 2,'' Berry (When I Dance, 1991, etc.) walks with flute music in his head, filling this mosaic-like collection of poetry with childhood characters, nature scenes, and the ``beat drums'' and ``sax groans'' of music and street sounds. In five sections, Berry's strong voice remains the same, but the subject matter differs widely in a multifarious assortment of poems. The personal and the political are explored in poems that address hunger and racism, the ``threat and despair'' of inner- city conflict and isolation, as well as music, dance, sun-worship, and love. The poems vary in style from haiku and proverb to dialogue and ballad. Each one is peppered with a multiracial cast of characters whose faces--as the title poem suggests--shine ``plum-blue to nutmeg-brown, melon-gold to peach pale.'' The poet dwells with rappers, rockers, graffiti artists, bands of costumed carnival-goers, ghost watchers, and more. Happy Boy Don is a ``number one style man'' who raps through a day in ``Boy Don Rap''; ``Nana Krishie the Midwife'' has a ``tracked black face'' that flows with light and knowing; and Josie wants to change her skin color in the poignant ``Okay, Brown Girl, Okay.'' ``Love Is Like Vessel'' ends the book on a redemptive note, its ``fine fine bread'' as nourishing as the rest of this lyrical collection. (b&w illustrations, not seen) (Poetry. 12+) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 6 Up. Poet, novelist, teacher, Berry?born in Jamaica and an emigre to England at age 23?brings his two worlds together in this evocative, vivacious, and poignant collection. A few of the poems have appeared elsewhere, but here they assume a connected importance to others in a particular section. The selections in "Bits of Early Days" are the reminiscences of a Caribbean childhood and have a nostalgic shine to them. "Look, No Hands" are poems about the natural world?particularly the sparkling sun of Jamaica. "Trap of a Clash" collects poetry about the haves and have-nots of both the islands and the UK. "Watching a Dancer" is the poet's look at his own "two-culture" self, and "Fish and Water Woman" takes his memories and infuses them with love, myth, and mystery. In spite of the adult sensibilities, the poems will have direct appeal for young people, particularly those experiencing culture shock, discrimination, and, perhaps, a confusing disdain for a childhood spent elsewhere mitigated by happy memories. Skillful economy of expression strengthens the poet's messages and the lilt of his Caribbean voice softens their realities. The book has been designed with a brilliantly colored cover emphasizing the African and island heritage that underlies Berry's view of his two worlds?one so very exotic and uninhibited, and the other dark and unforgiving.?Marjorie Lewis, formerly at Heathcote School, Scarsdale, NY
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Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Pu, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110689809964
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0689809964 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1981543
Book Description Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, 1997. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Reynold Ruffins (illustrator). book. Bookseller Inventory # M0689809964