Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt (Booktalk)

Boys don't keep journals? Kevin does. He's 12, almost 13, in the 7th grade. He's the youngest of five boys, and his parents - both doctors - are never at home. His brother Petey (the next oldest) often beats Kevin up. His journal is his way of blowing off steam. It's in poem form. Let's take a look here.

Kevin's real (private) diary is on the left. 
[Read the poem on page 6 and show both pages 6-7 to your readers.] He's taking pages from an old book and circling words and phrases on that page to make a poem within a page - a found poem. This one is very Kevin: it says, "We will die. / The smell is killing us. / TEACHER SMELL is deadly. / Barf." Okay, so it got your attention but it's obnoxious and it's not a good poem. But the poem in his journal which he wrote to himself is pretty good. He talked about words jumping out at him "like tickly little fleas / needing a good scratching. / So I scratched them." He has a great imaginative mind and a flair for words.

So basically he's living two lives: the life of his private journal which shows a really good poet and the life of a found poem graffiti artist whose sole objective is to tick off authority figures at his school.

Why do you think he is doing this? [Entertain theories.] Some of you may be right. What would you think if I told you that Petey, his brother, threw his real journal out the car window and someone found it? Will Kevin be able to keep up his poetry?

Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt. 2014: Chronicle Books. 169 pages. Booktalk to grades 4-9.