Danitra Brown Leaves Town
Remember childhood summers? Remember how important friends were
and how a best friend going off on vacation could make life feel drab
and empty? That's the situation Nikki Grimes explores masterfully in
Danitra Brown Leaves Home.
Zuri is upset that her chum, Danitra, is going off to her aunt's
rural home. When Danitra wants her to come see her off, after talking
about her trip all week, that's the last straw for Zuri. She says she
has "better things to do."
When she receives a letter from Danitra Zuni's heart is melted
by six words: "I wish that you were here." For the rest of the book
they exchange letters sharing their experiences. Danitra describes
skies full of stars, tree climbing, gardening, and a family reunion.
Zuni talks about a block party, softball, and fourth of July fireworks.
This delightful book, told in eloquent free verse, is perfect to
share with a child who will be missing a friend or having a not so
good summer for any reason.
On a personal note, for about six months I have been greatly enjoying
having a real pen pal. My heart leaps in anticipation when I see a
letter addressed in her distinct handwriting nestled among the
ubiquitous bills and ads. Ann and I are connected through her son and
my daughter. She lives in the big city of Portland while I'm in the
relative boonies of Penobscot County. With our kids and creative
pursuits (She's an artist and I'm a writer) in common we always have
plenty to write about. I save all her letters in a special box. I'm
going to meet her in person this summer.
A great big shout out goes out to Ann and to all those who take the
time to write real letters to friends and family.
Sent from my iPod