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Speak to Me: (And I Will Listen between the Lines)
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Speak to Me: (And I Will Listen between the Lines)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  58 ratings  ·  19 reviews
Six voices from an inner-city classroom

In a series of candid free-form poems, Karen English presents the thoughts of six third-grade children in one day and one classroom at an inner-city public school. Malcolm is the central observer, but also a dreamer. Rica has turned eight today, and her real father will be picking her up later. Brianna is upset because Rica has given
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published August 13th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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 ·  58 ratings  ·  19 reviews

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Jan 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is told in poems of alternating voices for six diverse students. The commonality is that throughout the day all minds wander regardless of who we are. Each student has a different outlook and different thoughts, but their words speak volumes about their life situations.
Libby Erwood
Feb 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The book Speak to Me (And I Will Listen Between the Lines) by Karen English and pictures by Amy June Bates is a compilation of short poems following a group of children throughout a day of school. Personally, I really enjoyed this book and found it interesting and captivating throughout the duration. The story was following six different children, all of African American culture, and they all have their own voice and personality shown through, which added unique perspectives to the read. I enjoy ...more
Haley Hardwick
Feb 25, 2015 rated it liked it
Personal Reaction: I personally really enjoyed this book. It is a collection of free verse poems written by third graders, and the watercolor illustrations bring life into each of their stories. I also really enjoyed it because the reader is supposed to read between the lines to really understand what the child is going through and their emotions at the time.

Purposes: Read aloud to 2-4th grade children for several purposes. 1) enrichment/enjoyment 2) introducing free verse poems that have a per
Mary Ledom
Feb 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Speak to Me is an inspirational poetry book about six inner-city third graders and what they do during their school days. I was extremely interested in these poems and the words they used. Students have different emotions and feel different about different things and I think it is important for students to see the difference in things. I really enjoyed hearing about what certain students thought of certain things and it put a new understanding of things into my head. The illustrations were enjoy ...more
This book features a combination of poems written in the voices of six children going to public school in the inner city. The children are from diverse backgrounds and each get two to three poems that describe their characters. Throughout the book each poem is written by a different child and informs the reader of how that child is behaving, feeling, and thinking on that day of school. Although the children are very different they all share the commonalty that their minds wonder throughout the d ...more
Abbie Shawano
Personal Reaction:

-I thought that "Speak to Me (And I Will Listen Between the Lines)" was a great poetry book. It has multiple forms of poetry and depicts several different personalities of children. Each poem is a different short story of a child and defines how they are feeling or acting such as sad, mad, or happy.


-I would let students read this book independently for second or third graders. I think that students would be able to relate to these poems and enjoy reading them.
-This boo
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Mommy says: Best book of poems for kids I have read to myself or aloud in a long time. Each poem is from a different child's perspective, taking you through the long school day. You can understand a lot about each child by reading between the lines. And the author is able to present even the sullen child in a sympathetic view.

Perhaps what I like best, however, is that this classroom is filled with mostly African American kids, and all the kids are relatable. The author is not trying to get acros
Johna Brown
Nov 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rhyming, imagery
I read this story to my third grade students. It was a book with a variety of poems written by third grade students. At the time, we were talking about poetry and I wanted to share with them something that could give them confidence in their writing. As as teacher, I would use the poems in this story to teach imagery. I will have the students to close their eyes and visualize the poem as I am reading it aloud. We will discuss the imagery as a class.
Apr 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ed-310
A poetry book expressed from different students in an inner city school. The poems are very heart felt and creative. I would recommend this book of the setting is true to you; for students who are older aged elementary aged students.
Apr 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Powerful poetry to see each of the young people in the class. Their voices in the poems remind us all to "listen between the lines."
Aug 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: verse-poetry
Multiple voices tell their elementary school stories in verse. The illustrations are just as powerful and beautiful as the poetry.
Feb 18, 2010 rated it really liked it
Reading strategy--inferring
A picture book, novel in verse. Authentic kids in an urban setting.
Miriam Garcia
Apr 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: culture, poems
A book of poems about real kids in urban schools. It can teach you to read between the lines and feel what the poems are saying.
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: need-to-buy
LOVE this book...definitely tells the truth.
Aug 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Poetry from 6 distinct voices, all urban school children. Lovely, poignant writing - the children feel real. Written by a school teacher, sweet illustrations.
Kerri Harshaw
A great book of poems for children! The literacy content within each poem is very strong and obvious. The poems almost enter a sing-song voice of a child when reading the poems.
Malcolm Hafner
rated it really liked it
Sep 12, 2018
Melanie Smith
rated it liked it
Aug 14, 2015
Tatum Edwards
Apr 10, 2018 added it
Shelves: poetry
I love the perspective the various poems in this book gives. Students would be able to read this and relate the characters back to themselves and see their peers in a different light as well.
Allison Volz
rated it it was amazing
Feb 29, 2020
Lindsay Haffner
rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2018
Paige Kramer
rated it it was amazing
Feb 21, 2017
rated it liked it
Nov 14, 2016
M. Gaffney
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Mar 13, 2018
Amelia Wilson-Kurr
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Apr 10, 2018
Sonia Allison
rated it it was amazing
Mar 01, 2016
Mallory Vickers
rated it really liked it
Apr 02, 2018
Allison Willier
Plot: This book is a collection of poems written by several kids in a class. Each students writes several poems about their daily life and what is going on around them. These poems discuss simple things, such as artwork in class, to more meaningful things, such as someone moving away.

Literary Merit: I chose theme for this collection. The entire book is based on children writing their own poems about what is going on around them. Some of them have to do with being unfair and how things need to be
Tha Lee
rated it did not like it
Dec 16, 2015
Maggie Mattmiller
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Sep 16, 2018
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Karen English is a Coretta Scott King Honor Award-winner and the author of the Nikki and Deja and The Carver Chronicles series. Her novels have been praised for their accessible writing, authentic characters, and satisfying storylines. She is a former elementary school teacher and lives in Los Angeles, California.

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