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Williams, Vera B.
AMBER WAS BRAVE, ESSIE WAS
SMART : THE STORY OF AMBER AND ESSIE TOLD HERE IN POEMS AND PICTURES
New York : Greenwillow, 2001
IL 3-6, RL 5.4
this poignant prose poem of two very young girls living in poverty, Vera
B. Williams takes young readers to places they may not have been before:
into a poverty-stricken urban apartment where sisters Essie and Amber must
feed and entertain themselves in the absence of their working mother.
Williamsís illustrations, however, temper some of the sadness that the
story expresses. The black and white sketches interspersed throughout
the chapters, as well as the colorful portraits of the girls and their
family at the beginning and end of the book help to lighten the mood.
The honesty of Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart will leave readers pondering
long after they close its pages.
I recently read Amber
Was Brave, Essie Was Smart with a five-year old British child who is very
well loved and cared for. Naomi couldn't imagine her parents ever
leaving her alone and said that if her mother hadn't enough money for a
baby-sitter, she would very nicely ask a neighbor to keep her and her brothers
until she could come home. Although the idea of being too poor to
afford a baby-sitter was almost beyond this child's imagination, I was
glad that Williamsís written portraits of these two little girls were able
to reach into Naomiís world just enough to make her realize that many children
are not as blessed or as wealthy as she is and that many poor children's
parents have many fewer options than hers. Williams deserves praise
for her gentle but realistic portrayal of the lives of two sisters who
have little more than one another.
Prepared by: Dr. Michelle
Martin for South
Carolina Children's Book Award
Sisters -- Poetry.
Permission is granted for the
noncommercial duplication and use of this resource, provided it is substantially
unchanged from its present form and appropriate credit is given.