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Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

Bronx Masquerade

by Nikki Grimes

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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
One of the chapters in this book was selected for the NY state ELA exam last year, so I figured it may be full of good writing just right for my students. I never got to see the story itself (just the questions) because Grimes wouldn't allow the state to publish the excerpt for the archives.

It was actually a quick read, but it did float around my school bag for the duration of 2 renewals (2 months?). The poetry was the best part, but the voices seemed a bit forced. I don't foresee my rural students choosing nor sticking with it, but I imagine that, provided the voices are indeed authentic, inner-city kids would find much to relate to. The problem was that I can't really tell if the voices were authentic because I may be guilty of stereotyping inner-city kids (a problem that most of the kids expressed in their poems). I'd like to believe that this could represent true voices and I feel the need to watch the movie "Freedom Writers" to broaden my horizons on this topic.

Bronx Masquerade would be an excellent teaching tool in a middle school to high school classroom as it is an easy example for practicing identifying common themes (a concept difficult for the average 7th & 8th grader). The underlying theme of almost each kid's story was the need to find one's true self (like every teenager), the need to be understood and appreciated as a unique individual, and a desire to exceed expectations and succeed in life. The best poem, if you were to read only one, is the one called "5 O'Clock News Feed" (I think) in which 3 kids supposedly come together to rap about how the news gives blacks and teens a bad reputation. That piece alone is worthy of my 3 stars.

In sum, I recommend the book to ELA teachers, and that's about it. They'd know into whose hands to place a copy. In my school, I'd say none yet.

( )
  engpunk77 | Aug 10, 2015 |
High school student Wesley Boone writes a poem for his English class and reads it aloud in a poetry-slam style. His classmates take an exceptional liking to this kind of poetry and request that there be weekly sessions. The eighteen students in the lass take turns individually challenging themselves in portraying self revelation. The eighteen teenage students expose about themselves what lies underneath their own exteriors.

Bronx Masquerade models to readers how to express yourself through writing, such as poetry. The chapter book also tackles an important lesson of identity of self and of others without regards of exterior, which is a commonly misinterpreted in the reading age group. ( )
  acahil3 | Nov 2, 2014 |
4Q 4P

For the teenagers in the project housing of section of the Bronx, there is no hope, no future, and no individuality, and everyone is forced to masquerade as something else. High school teacher Mr. Ward offers them a chance to express who they really are in a weekly poetry reading called Open Mike Friday. One by one, each student is forced to realize their own masquerade, and recognize the depth of their classmates' lives.

Beautifully written poetry and an honest look at the seemingly hopeless experience that is contemporary life in poverty-stricken New York. The fact that ethnic groups other than African Americans are represented makes this an effective book. I also liked that multiracial characters were able to read their poetry, since YA literature tends to place characters into one ethnic group without any room for diversity.

The only thing that kept this book from being 5Q 5P is that there are so many characters with non-mainstream names that they're hard to keep in track. Also, the student named Tyrone seemed to get more speaking time than anyone else, but not enough development to be the protagonist of the story. ( )
  NigeltheKid | Jun 8, 2014 |
Coretta Scott King Award YALSA's Best Books for Young Adults 2002. RGG: A combination of "fictional" memoir and poetry; "inner-city" high school students reveal themselves through poetry.
  rgruberexcel | Oct 25, 2013 |
Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes is a spectacular book that tells of a group of high school students enjoying a lesson of poetry. Each student has a certain talent and a story to tell. These students find poetry as an outlet to express themselves and reveal who they really are. Bronx Masquerade is a wonderful book about a group of high schoolers being themselves and expressing who they really are.
I would recommend this book to any teacher who is unsure of how to approach poetry with his or her students. This book really encourages students to look to poetry as a way to express oneself and also to reveal much detail of a certain event. It also is great for helping young students to feel less awkward about being themselves. This story shows a great deal of how much poetry can affect a person's life. Bronx Masquerade is perfect for any classroom.
I really enjoyed this book. Bronx Masquerade gave a great interpretation of how life is in high school. The poetry also in the book was very beautiful and made the book very diverse. This story was so eloquently put and goes above and beyond when discussing poetry and other talents found in students. Bronx Masquerade was a wonderful book that I would highly recommend to anyone.
  Emily_Maddox | Apr 15, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142501891, Mass Market Paperback)

Open Mike Friday is everyone's favorite day in Mr. Ward's English class. On Fridays, his 18 high-school students dare to relax long enough to let slip the poets, painters, readers, and dreamers that exist within each of them. Raul Ramirez, the self-described "next Diego Rivera," longs "to show the beauty of our people, that we are not all banditos like they show on TV, munching cuchfritos and sipping beer through chipped teeth." And while angry Tyrone Bittings finds dubious comfort in denying hope: "Life is cold. Future?...wish there was some future to talk about. I could use me some future," overweight Janelle Battle hopes to be seen for what she really is: "for I am coconut / and the heart of me / is sweeter / than you know" They are all here: the tall girl, the tough-talking rapper, the jock, the beauty queen, the teenage mom, the artist, and many more. While it may sound like another Breakfast Club rehash, Grimes uses both poetry and revealing first-person prose to give each character a distinct voice. By book's end, all the voices have blended seamlessly into a multicultural chorus laden with a message that is probably summed up best by pretty girl Tanisha Scott's comment, "I am not a skin color or a hank of wavy hair. I am a person, and if they don't get that, it's their problem, not mine." But no teen reader will have a problem with this lyrical mix of many-hued views. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:24 -0400)

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While studying the Harlem Renaissance, students at a Bronx high school read aloud poems they've written, revealing their innermost thoughts and fears to their formerly clueless classmates.

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