Weekend Pick for January 27, 2023
Meet the Author: Nikki Grimes
Nikki Grimes is a New York Times bestselling author and recipient of several literary awards, including the recipient of the 2022 Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award, the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the 2017 Children's Literature Legacy Award, the 2016 Virginia Hamilton Literary Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children.
Today, I want you to consider reading her novel A Girl Named Mister (2010).
"This novel in poetry looks clearly at both teen pregnancy and struggles with faith... The language is intimate and immediate," according to Kirkus Reviews.
Mister faces a personal crisis of faith when she succumbs to sweet words and sexual pressures from her boyfriend Trey. She finds herself facing increasing guilt and distance in all of her relationships and must come to terms with the reality of her pregnancy.
Throughout the novel, readers witness Mister’s struggles. How will she break the news to her mother? How will she face people for whom stigma is a guiding post? What happens with faith and how is it possible to faithful and sinful at the same time?
Mister learns how to accept forgiveness and support as she finds comfort in the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and eventually opens up to her friends and family.
It is a fast-read that pulls the reader into the immediacy of Mister’s thoughts and emotions.
Outside theme of teen pregnancy, it deals with many relatable teen struggles.
- Teen Pregnancy
- Social Isolation
- New Historicism
- Reader Response
- Social Class
Some Possibilities for Teaching:
- Poetry and its forms
- Multiple Plot Lines
- Character Development
Censorship concerns might be raised:
- Sexual content is vague, but present.
- Violence: One scene that could be considered graphic describes the stoning of a Jewish woman that had committed adultery.
- Controversial issues: Faith can be a sensitive topic to approach in the classroom. There is also a line that alludes to abortion issue, which may spark questions or disapproval.