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Dark Sons

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  320 ratings  ·  75 reviews
& nbsp; Sam can't believe it when his father leaves the family to marry another woman--and a white woman, at that. The betrayal cuts deep--Sam had been so close to his dad, & nbsp; he idolized him. Now& nbsp; who can he turn to, who can he trust? Even God seems to have ditched him. Ishmael is his father's first son, the heir, his favorite. But when his father i ...more
Hardcover, 216 pages
Published April 1st 2007 by Perfection Learning (first published September 15th 2005)
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I am really torn with how I feel about this book. On one hand the poetry is very authentic and feels quite real- more "real" overall than "Bronx Masquerade" (a book with amazing, outstanding poetry combined with prose that was a mixed bag). I also admire the execution of such a creative idea- telling two stories about boys disappointed by their fathers. One story is about a modern-day teenage boy named Sam, and the other is about the biblical figure Ishmael- yes, that Ishmael, son of Abraham and ...more
Maureen Shea
Dark Sons, by Nikki Grimes
Maureen Judith Shea
(2005). Dark Sons. (p. 216). New York: Hyperion Books for Children
Genre: Poetry
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book Best Books for Kids 2005
NCTE Notable Book in the Language Arts
New York Public Library's Books for the TeenAge

TAYSHAS High School Reading List 2006/07
YALSA Best Book for Young Adults

“Nikki Grimes – The Poetry Zone
Retrieved from

Format: print
Selection process: Reviewed in textbook Lit
Brianna Marie
Not much really happened in this book. The whole novel was told in verse, but it seemed to me that only served to take up space. The two stories were interesting, but I felt as though the comparisons were a little too easy. It was way too quick of a read and I felt like I didn't really get a chance to experience anything.

However, I did enjoy Sam's story, David definitely got to me, although the lack of substance was a major bother. The theme and mood of the whole thing was a little boring, and
What a beautiful novel! I come across this audiobook from the e-library recommendation list and I am happy the library recommended it to me.
This children's audiobook is written in verse. Yes a full story written in verse. Honestly, this is the first I have heard of this (not including nursery rhymes).
Sam's heartbreaking story starts off with his father moving out and leaving him as the man of the house. Sam's mother quickly falls into depression and is not there for Sam during this difficult ti
I was given this book to review by my Pennsylvania School Library Association book review committee and I was surprised to love it. The cover art on the paperback copy I was sent was nondescript and didn't stand out (different cover art than what appears with this review). When I flipped through, I saw that it was written in verse and would at least be quick to assess, so I brought it home.

Long story short, I find myself giving it five stars. This little book that appears basic is actually quit
I did not expect to get into or enjoy this book, yet once I picked it up I read it from cover to cover. The poetic style moved the story on smoothly and the alternating stories kept me reading as my curiosity grew. The two stories tell similar stories of young colored boys/young men who are both, in a way, abandoned by their fathers and how this effects their thoughts and lives. Intertwined into each boys' story is their belief and relationship in God.

In addition to using this book to look at p
Allison KM
The book Dark Sons, by Nikki Grimes, is a duo-story about two very different boys with very similar conflicts going on in their lives. The first boy, Sam, is a boy from New York. He’s dealing with his father leaving him and his mother for a new wife. Shortly after he moves in with the new woman, they have a baby boy. The other story in the book is about a boy named Ishmael. His father also has a new wife, and a new son, who of course gets all the attention. Ishmael starts to hate his father bec ...more

Dark sons

Who can he turn too who can he trust?

Have you ever been lost, betrayed or isolated?

In the book dark sons by, Nikki Grimes, Sam’s dad leaves the family to marry another women, it hurts Sam so much to see someone that he looks up to and puts first leave just like that. Ishmael is worried when he hears that Abraham’s wife Sarah will be giving birth to a son. One of the arguments in dark sons is that when the family is eating at dinner, and mom gets a phone call from dad no body wants to
Written in verse, this story alternates between the story of a boy from biblical times and one in modern times. Both are first sons who are then abandoned by their fathers when a second son comes along. Based on the story of Ishmael (Genesis 16) it’s an interesting contrast. The modern boy is emotionally shattered when his parents divorce and his father marries another woman and has a second son. I think that the reader is supposed to think that the modern boy gets strength from seeing the simil ...more
I was a bit skeptical when I picked up this book and almost sent it back to the library without even reading, but I'm so glad I didn't. You can't exactly call this a book of poetry, but it is a sort of story told in verse form. Two stories, actually.

One story is Ishmael's -- Abraham's other son, the one who also received a promise from God and then disappears from the pages of the Bible. The other story is Sam's -- a modern-day teen living in NYC whose father has just left him and his mother for
I got this book for a project I am working on for school and I wasn't sure about it, but I figured, hey it's a Coretta Scott King honor book so why not try it. It was a fantastic book and I really enjoyed reading it, plus it was quick read b/c it was in verse. The book started out talking about Ishmael and his mother Hagar, from the Bible, and how he was the golden child until Sarah was able to give birth to Isaac. Then he feels abandoned by both his father and God, sad and angry. The book then ...more
This book read really fast for me. It seemed like all of a sudden I had jumped into this weird book, and there wasn't much of a chance to stop. The book takes off, because of the poetry/verse kind of feel it has. Between the two stories, there are a lot of similarities. Most of these are pretty obvious, in fact the only way they could be more obvious was if the author flat out told you them. I don't mind this book that much, though its definitely not one if my favorites. It had potential, but di ...more
Mrs W
Sam’s father has left his family for another woman. What’s worse is that the other woman is white. Although he’s only moving across town, the betrayal Sam feels puts much more distance between them. Sam isn’t the only person to have felt this treachery. Genesis, the first book in the Bible, tells the story of Abraham, who fathered a son through a slave when his own wife could not conceive. When Abraham’s wife, Sarah, finally gives birth in her old age, Abraham sends this first son and his mother ...more
I've had this book on my shelf for a very long time--various people recommended it, several bought it for me, and I meant to read it, really I did ... but this past Sunday I picked it up, intending to read it between commercials of a show I was watching. I wound up reading the book straight through and have no idea what happened on TV.

This book is done in free verse, but it's far from intimidating to read. The words and rhythm are beautiful, and the poems are crafted in a way that makes you ting
Ajayia Perry
This realistic fiction novel, "Dark Sons" by Nikki Grimes, is the best poetry format book that I have ever read! There are several symbols throughout this read, but the one that caught my eye was "Three Tents". Three Tents was a metaphor used by the author to describe the separation between the two teenagers, Ishmael and Sam, about how they feel abandoned by their fathers. The text clearly stated that "His, hers, ours, goatskin fortresses separated by severed promises, cultural circumstances, an ...more
Dark Sons takes the complex issues of divorce and feelings of abandonment and shows how timeless they are. I enjoyed the parallel stories and I think that students will be able to use Sam's story to help them understand Ishmael's. Sam is our modern day protagonist and Ishmael is our historical one. If you know the biblical story of Abraham and Ishmael before you read the book then some of the foreshadowing becomes clearer but it isn't necessary to know the history to understand the events and em ...more
This book alternates between Ishmael and Sam. Ishmael, son of Abraham, who for many years has been his father's only son, and while Sarah, Abraham's wife, isn't fond of him or his mother, Hagar, Abraham's concubine. However, Sarah's pregnancy means Ishmael's entire world is changing. Sam, a contemporary African American teen, is facing family changes of his own: his father, who has always idolized, has run out on his mother and now intends to marry his white mistress. Both Sam and Ishmael have t ...more
Two stories with similar arcs of fathers who move on from their sons and second sons.

Two boys one from biblical times and one from modern time stories echo one another.

Its interesting. It didn't get much of emotional response from me (thus the 3 stars). It was a decent story. Maybe a more religious individual will get more out of it than I did.
The mirrored lives of two boys, separated by two thousand years and the New Testament, captivate the reader in the similarities of emotions rendered by shattered father-son bonds. Grimes’s prose is accessible, even as she suggests a more ancient voice for Ishmael and a contemporary urban voice for Sam. Her fully shaped characters quickly gain the reader’s sympathy, perhaps because they react honestly, lashing out and often hurting others with their anger. The reader can also identify with the ch ...more
Dark Sons is one unusual book I have ever read, which talks about two teenagers named Sam and Ishmael. Sam is a teenager from New York, and his situation in the story was that his father abandoned him and his mother. The father had went with a new wife instead. This also happened to another boy named Ishamel. The boys are living in a world with similar lives. In the story, it seemed like Ishmael's father showed more interest in his other boy, not Ishmael. The interesting part of this book was th ...more
Awesome! Wonderful! Powerful! Engaging!I did not for one moment want to fall asleep. This book makes me want to read even more of the author's titles. I would consider a study of this authorafter also reading some of her other titles---Something On My Mind, Meet Danitra Brown. I see why this book is and the author is award winning.

The book is perfectly fit for the reading of young black males without fathers in the homes as well as other youth and people in general who might enjoy some poetry/pr
Mariyamou Drammeh
Jan 20, 2011 Mariyamou Drammeh rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes books that compare two charcters in a good way
Dark sons is a good book. I picked this book by reading the small excerpt on the back of the book and it seemed interesting. I liked how this book has trwo differnt charcters from two diffrent places in the world, with two differnt backgrounds connect so good. They both face being abanded by their fathers. I dislike that the book was kind of short. I think since it was two main charcters with their own stories that it shoud've been longer by telling us more about the characters lives. The thing ...more
I really enjoyed this book. I think paralleling these two stories-- one about modern-day Sam, the other about Biblical Ishmael-- is genius, especially since it is so relatable to many youth today. Sam is religious and uses his relationship to God to help him through the abandonment he feels when his father leaves to start a new family, but I don't feel like the author ever gets too preachy, and Sam is really well-developed as a character that even cool kids can relate with him. It dealt with all ...more
This is a story of two boys, one from present day and another from the biblical chapters of Genesis, who face the same problem - neglect from their father. One story tells the tale of Ishmael, the son of Abraham, who must live knowing that he is not his father's favorite son. The other story tells the tale of Sam, whose father has recently left him and his mother and started a new family with a white woman. These stories reveal the bitterness caused by divorce from the child's perspective, but i ...more
This is a good book, and an interesting one. In verse, it juxtaposes the biblical Abraham (Ishmael, really) story with that of modern-day, Sam, exploring these first sons' relationships with their fathers, mothers, step-mothers, and half-brothers. The book jacket says it's for ages 10 - 14, but I think it would be more appreciated by slightly older readers (maybe 12 - 15 or 16). Some younger readers might not want to deal with ideas of physical abuse of wives, infertility, parental sex and infid ...more
Dark Sons tells a story of betrayel,love,and the real life world.Ishmael,a young Egytion boy loves his mother but hates his father.Whichis the same story for young Sam.His father leaves him,then remarries some otherwoman and has a child with her.Now as the 2 boys journey farther in life,they learn that they're not the only ones in the world who's life is not a good one.

The book Dark sons taught me that even thoughyou don't like a person,doesn't meanthat they're all that bad.It takes timeto get u
Anna Francesca
This book of poetry told in the voices of a modern adolescent boy in New York and the biblical Ishmael. It examines young men who feel abandoned by their fathers, though the modern dad tries to keep in touch over a distance. This book resounds with a sort of truth that makes me come back to it years after first reading it. The struggle to become a man is difficult when your role-model jumps ship, and though my life is quite different than the ones depicted here, I find a sympathy with these char ...more
I was surprised at how wonderful this book is. Because it's written in verse I was skeptical at first.

The book tells the story of two boys: one whose father just left him and his mother for another woman. The other is Ishamael (as in Old Testament). The book switches between the two boys veiw points, and both were beautiful to read.

The author is able to convey poignant emotions with relatively few words, and she made me think about Ishmael, and wonder a little at the family dynamics, and also
I really like that the two boys share the feeling of abandonment. That is bitter-sweet and beautiful.

Kimberley Ann Burns
Jason Kurtz
Grimes’s comparison of a modern character with a person from the bible was a stroke of pure genius. A TNI (Truly Nifty Idea) to the extreme. The story can almost write itself, and Grimes can spend a significant amount of time focusing on craft and language instead of plot. Choosing to tell this tale with poetry is such an intriguing choice, it opens up the ability and opportunity to play with language (“sunshine in jeans”) in a way that many fiction writers do not have. It is also refreshing to ...more
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