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The Color of My Words

by Lynn Joseph

Published by Joanna Cotler Books/HarperCollins, 2000
138 pages
ISBN: 0-06-028232-0

Ages 10 - 14

Twelve-year-old Ana Rosa's desire to write is so strong that she is always stealing scraps of precious paper to write poems. She is a dreamer and a thinker who loves the beauty of her country, the Dominican Republic, and the rhythms of life with her family and community. But she also feels like an outsider. She knows people think she's strange for the hours she spends in her gri gri tree. Not even her beloved older brother Guario, who works two jobs to provide for his family, completely understands her. But Guario does know what it means to hope for a better future, and Ana Rosa knows he is her greatest supporter. After the government announces that their neighborhood is going to be torn down to build a tourist hotel, Guario becomes the leader of his community's resistance movement. He is killed while trying to protect Ana Rosa in a confrontation with the guardia and government bulldozers. In her grief and guilt, Ana Rosa vows to give up writing, until she realizes that with words she has the power to tell Guario's story, and with it her own. Lynn Joseph's evocative narrative speaks in Ana Rosa's lyrical first-person voice: "If you ever will be forgiven for something it is here at the beach under the sun, in the sea, beneath a wave, close to everything that makes you happy without even trying. . . . Words, solid like diamonds, plop themselves down in my head and they can't be blocked with rocks or guns or wishes or tears." CCBC categories: Fiction for Children; Issues in Today's World.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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