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The Red Pencil cover art

The Red Pencil

Written by: Andrea Davis Pinkney,Shane W. Evans - Illustrator
Narrated by: Andrea Davis Pinkney
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Publisher's Summary

"Amira, look at me," Muma insists. She collects both my hands in hers. "The Janjaweed attack without warning. If ever they come - run."

Finally, Amira is 12. Old enough to wear a toob, old enough for new responsibilities. And maybe old enough to go to school in Nyala - Amira's one true dream.

But life in her peaceful Sudanese village is shattered when the Janjaweed arrive. The terrifying attackers ravage the town and unleash unspeakable horrors. After she loses nearly everything, Amira needs to dig deep within herself to find the strength to make the long journey - on foot - to safety at a refugee camp. Her days are tough at the camp, until the gift of a simple red pencil opens her mind - and all kinds of possibilities.

New York Times best-selling and Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney's powerful verse tells an inspiring tale of one girl's triumph against all odds.

©2014 Andrea Davis Pinkney (P)2014 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

A Today show Al's Book Club for Kids pick!
"The artfully orchestrated novel is related with grace, restraint and a wealth of historical detail." ( Kirkus Reviews)
Bird in a Box will break, heal, and then fill your heart, all in one reading." (Grace Lin, Newbery Honor author of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon)
"The author's collaged nocturnal paintings shimmer with an arresting luminescence.... When the travelers at last lift a newborn baby to the rising sun, readers celebrate along with the protagonists." (School Library Journal)

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  • chaba6team
  • 18-11-17

Poetic and Educational

This is well done and artistic. Hard to catch the full attention of a 10 yo boy and husband but they were glad to learn from it. Having spent time in Africa, we appreciated the beautiful imagery and culturally accurate writing.

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  • KevCon
  • 19-12-16

Well-told story that grabs the reader

A must-read short story for young readers, told, through kid-friendly poetry, about a girl's struggle through war. Practical, visionary, and sweepingly beautiful, the author paints, with vivid brushstrokes, a world that is changing, and amidst it, a story about how to find hope.

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  • SERA Bluefalcon
  • 07-01-18

heartbreaking but inspirations gift.

Reading in the form of a prose poem was different. The narrative is excellent. this book is a great way to open a discussion with western Girls about the value of their education and how lucky our hidden privilege makes us.