Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Red Pencil

Amira's life in Sudan is one of hard work, but she is happy.  Her father, Dando, is her favorite person, and he encourages her creativity calling her Amira Bright and finding perfect drawing sticks for her sand drawing.

When her best friend moves away to go to school, a desire to learn is kindled in her heart.  Everything changes when the Janjaweed arrives.  They are a local militia bringing death and destruction in their wake.  When they are gone, the village is destroyed, and many people are dead.

The survivors flee and end up in Kalma, a refugee camp.  Life is now filled with trash and strangers and hopelessness.  It is the gift of a red pencil and a pad of paper from a stranger that begins to wake Amira from her grief.

Amira's dream of going to school comes alive again, and now she will do anything to learn.

Andrea Davis Pinkney's new verse novel is beautiful and heartbreaking story about pain, violence, and the will to succeed.  Be sure to read the author's note at the end for a brief explanation of the true events in Darfur that inspired this story.

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