Monday, October 18, 2010

Anything but blue…

Blue Lipstick by John Grandits (811 GrB 2007) is such fun.  It’s a book of concrete poems that tell the story of a teenage girl, Jessie, and her everyday trials and tribulations, from hair-colouring gone seriously awry to ditsy cheerleader types to lame school assignments.  Ah, the life of a high school student…

First thing in the morning we see a milk carton with a public awareness announcement that Jessie’s brain is missing due to lack of sleep from texting with a girlfriend all night.

We see the people in her life, parents, brother, friends, teachers and schoolmates listed and figuratively divided by a wall, separating those she connects with and those she doesn’t. (Guesses as to where bro’ falls, anyone?)  This list and wall are revisited towards the end of the book with more people added to ‘her side’ as her ‘walls’ slowly breaks down .

Jessie’s voice is clear, fresh and appealing, conveying inner confusion, losses, insecurities, triumphs and humour about everyday events that seem very immediate.  Check out her ‘emotional chart’ with her moment-by-moment ups and downs (from ‘ridiculously happy’ to ‘ticked off and ‘I hate everyone’)

This book would have wide appeal to a variety of readers just for the clever manner in which the story is told.  Underdeveloped readers might be drawn in by the visual storytelling, shortness of the book and find this less daunting than full pages of text . Suggested for grades 5 and up.

The book might inspire a class project about concrete or narrative poetry. A super way to model ‘unique’ ways of storytelling. 


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