Friday, April 30, 2010

36. A Maze Me Poems For Girls

Nye, Naomi. A Maze Me. ISBN: 978-0-06-058189-3. Green Willow Books. First Edition, 2005.

Plot Summary
A Maze Me takes readers into the mind of a girl entering her teenage years through seventy two original poems by poet Naomi Shihab Nye. The subject matter of Nye's poetry in this collection ranges from family, neighborhood life, and boys, to more difficult issues of growing up, such as death, war, and loneliness. This unique female perspective of childhood and growing up in Nye's poetry is aimed at a female audience. Nye encourages her readers to keep a diary and to write down three lines in it everyday as a way to notice the world around you. A Maze Me is divided into five different sections, and each of these sections features bright and youthful artwork by artist Terre Maher. Nye recalls youth and the wonder and trepidation of becoming an adult with honesty, sincerity, and an untamed beauty with each flowing line.

Critical Evaluation
What is it like to be a 12 year old girl? For those who have forgotten the pressures, wonder, and fear of taking one step closer to adulthood, the pages and poetry of poet Naomi Nye's A Maze Me is here to help us all remember. Her poems float between living in a state of wonder at all of life's subtle complexities, to the inevitable pondering about complex issues of death, war, and loneliness. In this collection of seventy two original poems, Nye paints a portrait of transition that discusses boys, family life, childhood, and the kinds of observations unique to growing up. While coming from a female perspective, and marketing itself for young girls, Nye's collection can be enjoyed by a wider audience. Those interested in reading about childhood observation and imagination will adore the fanciful and whimsical tales that Nye weaves. This collection could be very successful with teenage boys who enjoy very real poetry with an imaginative edge, if only the "Poems For Girls" addition to the title were truncated. This collection leaves readers the idea that no matter how old we are, we are as young and imaginative as we want to be. Life can continue to amaze us, if we will only let it.

Reader's Annotation
Twelve years old is the beginning of the end. Becoming a teenager is a big step for a girl growing up, and leaving behind childhood and wonder is something that is discussed in beautiful detail in Poet Naomi Shihab Nye's A Maze Me Poems for Girls.

Author Information
Naomi Shihab Nye is an Arab-American author of poetry and short stories. Nye grew up in San Antonio, Texas as well as in Ramaliah, Jordan. Her unique upbringing and vivid imagination inspired her work as a poet. Her collection 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (2002), focuses on Arab-American experiences and life in the Middle East. This poetry collection, as well as You and Yours (2005), have both been honored with receiving the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award. Nye was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2010, and she currently lives and writes in her home in San Antonio, Texas.


Curriculum Ties

Book Talking Ideas
Discuss adulthood.
When do you think you truly become an adult, and why?
Why do we lose imagination as we age?

Reading Level
Grades 6+

Challenge Issues

Reason For Selection
I wanted to include some collections of poetry for women by women in my blog and this title was recommended to me by the young adult librarian at my local library. The collection of poetry in A Maze Me is a recollection of life as a young teenage female, and I as a future male librarian, I feel like this a perspective that I need to become more familiar with.

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