Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Module 6: Dark Sons by Nikki Grimes

Grimes, Nikki. Dark Sons. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion for Children, 2005. Print. ISBN: 0786818883

"I scanned the story of Abraham,
and heard a voice
deep inside of me.
Slow doen, it said.
Take a closer look.
And there he was -- Ishmael,
someone a lot like me.
A guy whose father ripped his heart out too.
Me and you, Ishmael,
we're brothers,
two dark sons..."

In Dark Sons, Sam and Ishmael are from two different times, but are having the same problems. Their dads have left them to go have a new family, with a new son. As years pass, each older son must make peace with the father they have grown to not trust, and ask God to help them forgive.

What a beautifully depicted tale of two boys, from two different cultures and two different times, having to deal with a broken family. By taking a story like this and writing it in the form of poetry, the reader gets the raw emotion from each individual. Although at times Ishmael's voice is hard to understand, there is no mistaking the conflict he feels between his love of his baby brother and his hate over losing his place as his father's only son. Sam's voice is easy to recognize the anger that he is trying to deal with. He is trying to be strong for his mom, but inside all he wants to do is curl up and hope it goes away. Many readers will be able to with both points of view. Booklist says, "The simple words eloquently reveal what it's like to miss someone ("I've stopped expecting / his shadow in the hallway / his frame in the doorway"), but even more moving is the struggle to forgive and the affection each boy feels for the baby that displaces him. The elemental connections and the hope ("You made it / in the end / and so will I") will speak to a wide audience. Dark Sons is sure to make an impact with all readers.

For a book report activity, students will write 10 free verse poems, focusing on two different characters of the book. (Example: Harry Potter and Voldermort). Each poem much focus on the same event, just each one is from two different perspectives.

"Dark Sons." Booklist. Amazon. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. .

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