The Red Pencil

The Red Pencil - Andrea Davis Pinkney, Shane Evans

Amira lived a quiet life in South Darfur with her parents and her sister who was born a frail child.   Around the age of twelve, with the prospect of better opportunities, her best friend and her parents left for the big city. Amira knew Halima was bound to Gad Primary School, a school which would offer her the three R’s that Amira deeply desired. A crushed Amira was dealing with her mother who was a true traditionalist, someone who believed a woman’s place was in the home, thus destroying Amira’s dream of educating herself. Amira character is determined and outspoken and although her mother dismisses her dreams that does not stop her. It was a brutal attack from the Janjaweed, they must leave their village and relocate. The displacement camp is not ideal but it will be home for many for now. Everyone is desperate, looking for something but not knowing what. You can feel the desperation in the words the author scripts across the page, these survivors existing… for what, a better life but still wondering what lies beyond tomorrow. When a relief worker arrives with her bags, she touches the life of many children including Amira.   Old Anwar, Amira’s father’s friend helps the family rebuild and comes through for Amira, giving her the push she needs. It’s not an emotional story but I enjoyed the different ways the prose changes during the story to show the tone of the novel. There were parts of the story that the words really became a prominent part of the story and the author did a wonderful job emphasizing them. As I read, there were parts that I wished it had more detail. The story was enjoyable but I just had a few questions as I read and I wanted more.