Friday, August 22, 2008

Pemba's Song Tonya Hegamin Marilyn Nelson


Pemba's Song: A Ghost Story by Hegamin, Tonya , Nelson, Marilyn Pemba's Song is a slim book (107 pages) and beautifully done. The size of the book doesn't allow for excess which is a plus for me. I enjoy staccato style , where author must hit each word right and hard. The book opens with 14 yr old Pemba writing in her journal. Pemba and her mother moving from Brookyln, NY to Colchester, CT. Pemba is not happy about the move, but luckliy she has her journal to comfort her. The first person they befriend in Colchester is Abraham, an older gentleman who researches the towns slave history. In the house they move into Phyllys, a dead girl reaches out to Pemba. Pemba and her mother are the first black people to live in the house. Phyllys lived and died as a slave there, and waited a long time to tell her story. To avoid the house Pemba starts helping Abraham at the library. Pemba is lukewarm about it but soon begins looking forward to the library trips. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story, as Pemba learns facts about slavery the reader does as well.

Pemba's Song was very well written but it was Pemba's journal entries and Phyllys's letters that I loved. The journal entries are beyond perfect.

I thought about not sharing because this book is slim. I would hate to ruin the surprise but I can't resist.


An excerpt from Pemba's journal


Chaos used to be just a vocabulary word

but now its how I'm livin a condition

of total disorder or confusion a vast abyss

Now how do I get out?

Wishin my daddy was here won't help

Not even the name he gave me keeps me sane


Many girls will be able to relate to Pemba, she is just an around the way girl who -likes to dance with her friends, misses her dad, not speaking with her mom and can communicate with ghost. I highly recommend Pemba's Song especially to reluctant readers.


1 comment:

MissAttitude said...

I would have liked to see a more interesting ghost story I suppose.
I did really like the poems, but I didn't love (or really relate to) any of the characters.