"Students have told me that if not for Myers's book, they would not read."
-Jessica Fenster-Sparber, Library Coordinator, Passages Academy (from book cover)
I have read several of Walter Dean Myers books and I am always impressed by his ability to write about situations and settings so different than where I live. He definitely understands students living in poverty and in dangerous situations. As a black man he speaks boldly and confidently to his readers about racial situations, not mincing or sugar-coating his words.
In Darius and Twig Walter Dean Myers introduces us to two friends. Both boys have dreams and goals which will allow them to move out of their community, a place that seems to want to hold them back with all the gangs, drugs, and bullies.
Darius has dreams of being a writer and he seems to be talented. But can he bring himself to revise his draft in enough time to be eligible for a scholarship?
Twig is a runner and hopes that his legs will be his ticket out. But his family thinks he should give up running and go into the family business. His culture honors family connections. Can he disappoint them to go for his goals?
Each boy has a dream but the fulfillment of that dream will move them apart from each other as well. Myers says that the book, "Darius and Twig is about needing to live your own dream."
Here is a favorite line from the book where Twig gives Darius feedback on the revisions on his essay:
"But the story is clearer because the kid is looking for something inside of himself, and that's what it's all about. And you know what else I like about the story? I like the fact that at the end, he still has a bad leg and stuff isn't just wonderful. He's still got all the problems in his life and he's still got to deal with them. Shit doesn't go away easy."That is for sure--shit doesn't go away easy for these boys. It doesn't go away easy for many of us.
I think that there is an audience at my school who will appreciate this short gem of a story.
30 books this Summer Reading Challenge
32 / 30 books. 106% done!