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A Maze Me: Poems for Girls

by Naomi Shihab Nye

Published by Greenwillow Books / HarperCollins, 2005
128 pages
ISBN: 0-06-058189-1

Ages 11-15

My mind / is always / open. / I don’t think / there’s even / a door.” Naomi Shihab Nye’s original poetry and anthologies published for children and teens always offer a fresh, original, affirming view of life and the world in which they--and we-- all live. At the same time, her collections strike a deep and resonant chord we all long to hear—one that hums with the purposefulness and meaning of even the smallest acts and actions, and that trembles with the realization that in those acts and actions our humanity is revealed. In A Maze Me, Nye acknowledges another deep-seated desire: to be singular, but not alone. It’s an idea that is both comfort and contradiction. For many girls on the brink or in the midst of adolescence, it may seem an impossibility to achieve, perhaps even too scary to contemplate. This volume can serve as poems of encouragement to girls for cultivating their own way of being in the world, and as poems of discovery for seeing how many truths they share with others. Nye writes in her introduction that people always ask: “What do you want to be? . . . They don’t ask who or how you want to be. . . I wanted to be curious, interested, interesting, hopeful—and a little bit odd was okay too. . . If you have a voice and aren’t afraid to spend it . . . if you will ask the questions pressing against your forehead from the inside . . . you’ll be okay.” The 72 original, accessible poems she presents here are on a wide range of topics, from a first crush to babysitting to the sadness of leaving childhood behind. There are many moments of revelation, connection and contemplation prompted by observations of the everyday and the extraordinary, whether it’s a pink ribbon found on a hiking trail or waiting expectantly in the hopes tht a meteor will blaze across the sky. “We want the stars to surprise us / We want to be / amazed.” (MS) ©2005 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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