Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

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Bronx Masquerade was a great combination of short narratives and poems. It was an extremely quick read, and I would definitely recommend it to students and make it a part of my classroom. To me, the main message was that it is important to accept yourself for you who are and to accept others for who they are. In the story, a group of classmates learn so much about themselves and each other through writing, reading, and sharing poetry. They realize that although there are differences between them, there are also many similarities. They struggle with the same problems and all of them have a deeper side that no one else really noticed or realized before they shared their poetry. A boy named Tyrone comments on everyone’s poems and allows the reader to see how much he is learning about everyone and how much his thoughts/feelings change throughout the book. I think this book could be a great way to help students start to recognize the power of poetry and words and expressing themselves. I may even try to have some Open Mike Friday’s of my own when I become a teacher :).

Favorite poem from the book:

In case I forgot to tell you,
I’m allergic to boxes:
Black boxes, shoe boxes
New boxes, You boxes – 
Even cereal boxes
Boasting champions. 
(It’s all a lie.
I’ve peeked inside
And what I found
Were flakes.)
Make no mistake, 
I make no exceptions
For Cracker Jack
Or Christmas glitter. 
Haven’t you noticed?
I’m made of skeleton,
Muscle and skin. 
My body is the only box
I belong in. 
But you like your boxes
So keep them. 
Make them geek, wimp, bully. 
Mark them china doll, brainiac,
Or plain dumb jock. 
Choose whatever
Box you like, Mike.
Just don’t put me
In one, son.
Believe me,
I won’t fit. 

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One thought on “Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes

  1. That box poem would be a great theme for a classroom. It is such an important reminder not to be so quick to judge or limit each other to what we want to believe each other to be. Especially in middle school, where students often play with their identities at times, blowing up the box is the way to go.

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