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DARK SONS by Nikki Grimes

Posted in reviewku: plunder, middle grade, reviewku: poetry (all)


Free verse Bible, free

boy now. Two voices, two dads.

Two journeys. God. Faith.


Nitty Gritty:

Middle grade/YA (grades 5 and up)

Verse novel

Alternating POV – two voices – one biblical, one modern

All poetry = free verse

Parallel stories – one set in modern times, one in biblical

Bother stories in first person

Two journeys – physical and emotional

Two main characters – teenage boys – modern-day Sam and biblical Ishmael

Parallel family lines — newly absent and seemingly disinterested fathers

New families sired by fickle fathers

New babies that feel like betrayals

Feelings of being replaced

Fears of being forgotten

Surprising bursts of brotherly love

Books One and Three = Ishmael

Emotional arc – doubts and fears expressed in Biblical terms

Historically accurate voice

Familiar biblical stories (Sodom and Gomorrah, Sarah’s conception in her very advanced years) used as framework for Ishmael’s fictional story

Coming of age in biblical times

Books Two and Four = Sam

Emotional arc – angst and doubt, anger and rage

Questioning God and faith

Voice – teenage slang

Modern stories form framework for Sam’s troubled tale

Epilogue – pulls the two parallel tales together – alternating viewpoints pick up speed – summaries of what has been learned and how

Recap of journey / path through abandonment and family adjustment, shifting control and structure, living with realities of shifting alliances and deepening faith through questioning everything and more

Classroom application — philosophy, Biblical history?