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The Way a Door Closes Hardcover – May 1, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-8-In 34 compelling poems, readers are drawn into the thoughts and feelings of a 13-year-old African American as he tries to understand and cope with a parent's departure from the family. The first 12 poems describe the contentment C. J. feels about being a part of a close-knit family. With the 13th poem, "The Way a Door Closes," his father abruptly leaves home. "-And when he went out the door/he held on to the knob./The door closed with a/click./I felt all the air leave the room/and we were vacuum-sealed inside./-I can tell a lot by/the way a door closes." In carefully chosen, straightforward language, Smith conveys the boy's roller-coaster emotions with pinpoint accuracy. The results are poems that are heartbreaking, angry, and tender. Done in warm shades of mostly brown, blue, and gold, Evans's color spot and full-page paintings have a realistic, slightly sculptural appearance and are a perfect complement to the poems. Good poetry touches the heart, and this offering does just that.
Mary N. Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 5-8. In the voice of a 13-year-old boy, a series of clear, lovely poems tells a contemporary family story, and Evans' strong, realistic paintings show the deep feelings and connections in an African American home. For a long time everything is blissfully happy. A family portrait shows Daddy, proud and strong ("He stands behind us / towering over us all. / One hand rests on my shoulder, / the other caresses my mother's"). Then Daddy loses his job, and one day he leaves and doesn't come back. The plain words and beautifully individualized pictures express the family anguish ("Brother's acting like a stranger / Eyes and words are full of anger"). In the poem "Prodigal Son," Daddy finally returns, and he can't find enough words to say how sorry he is. The first part is just too idyllic, with everything absolutely perfect; but after the shocking grief of abandonment, Daddy's return seems both hopeful and realistic. Readers will be deeply moved by the portrait of a rooted, extended family that makes it through hard times. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1st edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 52 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 080506477X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0805064773
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8 - 12 years
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ NP
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 3 - 7
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 13.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.4 x 0.46 x 10.67 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 15 ratings

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