Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Grades: 5+
Genre: Novel in Verse

Set during the tragic genocide in Darfur, Sudan, 12 year old Amira witnesses the brutal storming of her village and death of her beloved father.  Amira tells her story in symbolic verse, as she journeys to hope in the Kamal refugee camp and dreams of an education beyond the expectations of a girl.

Author website: none.


  1. If you read There and Back Again by Thanhha Lai, you might be familiar with the story of a refugee who endures a lot of pain fleeing from Vietnam to the U.S. Well, this is similar but different. The story of Amira is told in first person free verse poetry, but that’s where the similarity ends. Amira lives with her family in very rural Sudan. Her simple life tending to her family’s animals is shattered when political enemies called the Jajweed invade her village and slaughter most of the inhabitants. Amira and the few survivors must escape the murdering Jajweed and try to reach a refugee camp. Unfortunately, the refugee camp is a stark and punishing place, barely better than the ruins of their village. Amira has one dream: to go to school, to become something more than a girl to be married after the age of 12. But she has been so traumatized by the ordeal of the genocide of her village… can she ever recover? This book is based on truth, actual interviews with survivors, and the meticulous fact finding of the author.

    Mrs. Rose
    Chester Barrows School

  2. I liked this book because I learned about the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. I like learning about World History. I think that's sad when Amira and her family had to move to a refugee camp.
    Leah, Grace School