Monday, June 13, 2011
Keesha's House by Helen Frost
Imagine living in a safe place where you would have a chance to dream and then have the freedom to act in order to acheive these dreams. Many of us take this kind of place for granted. Keesha's House opened my eyes to the real hardships that many teens face in their lives. For many, it is a game of survival. A fight for the impact of doing the right thing and confusion on what that is.
Helen Frost did an amazing job in writing this book completely in sestina and sonnet poetic form. Her characters came through vividly as well as details surrounding Keesha's house where she stayed & many who knew this house as hers. Yet it was Joe's house, he, who had bought it to survive himself and then had a golden heart to help teens that were as misfortunate as he had once been. Doing what he thought best by giving them an address and a way out of their unfortunate circumstances. It's hard to believe how something as simple as an address and a comfortable place to stay can mean the whole world opening up to one misunderstood teen. This book doesn't glorify teen misbehavior but realistically shows, through unforgettable poetry, how life isn't fair for all teens and how many times judgement comes out of reactions instead of communication and interactions with teens to understand their needs.
I had picked up this book because I am interested in writing like this. I read through the poems many times in order to remember and feel how Frost had depicted everything. She is definitely a master in her craft. I would enjoy reading another selection from her in the future. She is definitely an author to watch for. I appreciated her down to earth yet classic style in writing. As well as the fact that this book, the stories of these teens and their parents, have stayed with my thoughts which means it has found a place within my heart.
My Rating: 4 stars
Hardcover: 128 pages
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR); 1st edition (April 2, 2003)
*Michael L. Printz Honor Book (Awards)
Other insightful reviews:
Lisa the Nerd
Poetry for Children (has a video clip of Frost sharing one of her poetic works)
The Infinite Booklist
Helen Frost web page (take a look at the book trailers)
In essence this book reminded me of this famous quote:
Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.
Martin Luther King, Jr.