Body Drama
Nancy Amanda Redd
ISBN 978-1-592-403-26-4
Publisher, Copyright date
Grade 6 and up
Genre Non-Fiction/Body Issues

Real girls, real questions – what is up with your body?

Summary:

Nancy Redd explores common questions about girls’ bodies in an honest and empathetic manner (she’s been there!). Covering the female body from top to bottom (dandruff to foot fungus) and everything in between (inverted nipples, bacne, labia shape, overall body image, tanning), Redd tastefully explains that there are problems that can develop with one’s body. Many of these issues are easily remedied, and if not, you are not alone.

Critique:

This is a fun and informative book about the female body. Redd’s tone is excellent, she lets the reader know that they are not unique in their problems by providing photos and stories from her own adolescence. Definitions and illustrative photos (rather than drawings), along with a cast of teen girls of varying sizes and ethnicities, are key to the importance of this book.

Curriculum Ties:

Body Drama could be successfully integrated into a sex education unit. When I was in high school I took a “Social Living” type of class, where we examined personal and societal issues, this would be a great read in a similar unit or class.

Controversy:

Nudity, including photos of breasts, butts, and vulvas. Discussion of STIs. Discussion of Birth Control.

Although many might find the nudity objectionable, it really shows the variations in the female form. There really is no other way to get the point across that your body is natural, normal, and beautiful. Girls will find themselves in the photos Redd provides. These are not photos sexualizing or even glamorizing younger girls, additionally, all of the girls pictured are over the age of eighteen. Refer challengers to reviews.

The inclusion of information on birth control may be objectionable to those who advocate an abstinence only program. However, Redd is not advocating pre-marital sex or selling The Pill.

Selection Rationale:

A great contribution to the body issues shelf due to the inclusion of real girl and a frank answer to practically any question one could have about their body and their body issues.

“I believe BODY DRAMA is a revolutionary stride forward for females everywhere; I dare any girl to take a peek inside and not keep on reading . . .for hours.” – YABooksCentral.com

ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers, 2009

Quick Pick for Detainees, 2009 – School Library Journal

Booktalking:

What are the problems that Redd addresses in this book?

About the Author:

Nancy Redd is a Harvard graduate and Miss America swimsuit competition winner. She is a wellness author for many publications including FITNESS and AOL.

Additional information:

Nancy Redd’s and the Body Drama website: http://www.nancyredd.com

Bronx Masquerade
Nikki Grimes
ISBN 0-14-250189-1
Puffin, 2002
Grade 9 and up
Urban Fiction

What happens when eighteen students decide to give up the masquerade?

Summary:

Mr. Ward, a high school teacher in the Bronx develops open mic days in his classroom. The opportunity for self-expression and exploration is empowering for many students. Some students were already poets, some write for the first time. Through their poetry, the students break down barriers and destroy stereotypes. They explore self-esteem, body image, abuse, ethnicity, stereotypes, friendship, and art. These are teens who are daily participating in the Bronx masquerade and ready to break out of the box. Their experience culminates in a newspaper article, (finally, one that focuses on teens in a positive light), and a school assembly where the students read their poems.

Critique:

The format of this book is interesting and will appeal to readers. Grimes is an excellent writer, successfully developing eighteen distinct voices in Bronx Masquerade. Many readers will find themselves inspired by this positive story.

Curriculum Ties:

Incorporate Bronx Masquerade into classroom units on poetry or drama; excellent read aloud option; would be great for a drama class.

Controversy:

Addresses issues of sexuality and abuse in a non-explicit manner.

Refer challengers to reviews and awards won by Bronx Masquerade, as well as Nikki Grimes’ reputation as a young adult author.

Selection Rationale:

This nontraditional format will interest readers and provide lots of fodder for discussion. The story has a positive tone and really shows the importance of portraying teens in a positive manner.

ALA Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2007

ALA Quick Picks for Young Adult Readers, 2003

“This inventive literary format encourages expression and just might have students begging for an open mike in their own classrooms.” – School Library Journal

Booktalking:

Select any of the poems written by Mr. Ward’s students to read aloud.


About the Author:

Nikki Grimes grew up in New York and has been writing since the age of six. She is a poet and novelist, although she claims the title “poet” more readily. She has written many award winning books, including three novels for young adults.