Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Free Verse by Sarah Dooley

As it is with many of the stories that I read involving a teacher who has made a difference in the lives of their students, Free Verse will leave an impressionable mark on readers both young and old. Finding your own voice, and your own strength is ultimately the message in this book written for children ages 10 and up. After Sasha finds herself in foster care after her brother dies in a fire, Sasha ends up in the care of an older woman who just happens to be the neighbor of her cousin. Since Sasha has known her fair share of sorrow having grown up with a father who died when she was five, and a mother who ran out on both her and her brother, this girl has had to learn to be a fighter. This is why her and her cousin Mikey seem to get along so well. They know sadness. Growing up in a small little town called Caboose in West Virginia is not for the faint of heart. Coal mining is a tough business, and people die. Families are torn apart, and children lose parents. The socioeconomic of this place are such that success is not easy to come by. It is a small coal mining town, and it seems that everyone is related on this little block that Sasha calls home. Writing poetry is just about the only thing that sets Sasha free. This book is heartwarming, and a quick read for middle grade students. Those budding writers in your class are sure to love Free Verse. 

When her brother dies in a fire, Sasha Harless has no one left, and nowhere to turn. After her father died in the mines and her mother ran off, he was her last caretaker. They’d always dreamed of leaving Caboose, West Virginia together someday, but instead she’s in foster care, feeling more stuck and broken than ever.
But then Sasha discovers family she didn’t know she had, and she finally has something to hold onto, especially sweet little Mikey, who’s just as broken as she is. Sasha even makes her first friend at school, and is slowly learning to cope with her brother’s death through writing poetry, finding a new way to express herself when spoken words just won’t do. But when tragedy strikes the mine her cousin works in, Sasha fears the worst and takes Mikey and runs, with no plans to return. In this sensitive and poignant portrayal, Sarah Dooley shows us that life, like poetry, doesn’t always take the form you intend. 


Sarah Dooley has lived in an assortment of small West Virginia towns, each of which she grew to love. Winner of the 2012 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, she has written two previous novels for middle-grade readers. Sarah is a former special education teacher who now provides treatment to children with autism. She lives in Huntington, West Virginia, where she inadvertently collects cats. She’s a 2006 graduate of Marshall University.
Happy Reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment