Blue Lipstick Concrete Poems

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Blue Lipstick (paperback)

by John Grandits

AR Level 3.5, 1 point

When it comes to literature I choose, it is usually a Newbery winner, a favorite author, a recommendation from a student or a friend, etc.  However, I never thought I’d really enjoy an assigned Common Core exemplar text.  I decided to look into Engage New York to teach language arts next year, and I’m struggling to find ways to get class sets of novels.  I decided to focus on a unit/module, so I chose the unit with poetry since April is poetry month.  This is the first book I read, and I really enjoyed it!

Normally when I’ve read books of poetry, they’re books of separate poems by the same author on various subjects, or poems on the same subject by different authors.  Blue Lipstick is a book of poetry, all from the point of view of same character.  Jessie is a high school student who has normal thoughts and feelings.  She doesn’t get along with her younger brother, her parents underestimate her maturity, she hates her English teacher, and she hates cheerleaders.  Each poem lets us into Jessie’s world by showing how she feels about something new, and everything is totally relatable… as a teenager.  It’s been awhile since I fit that category, but if memory serves…

What I liked about this book was the way all of the poems were written with the same voice but had a different layout.  It is a book of concrete poems.  There is a poem about volleyball, and the layout of the words looks like the invisible path of a volleyball going over a net.  The poem about the highs and lows of her day is in the shape of a graph, and the poem ends with her saying she had to make a graph for math, which made it even more ironic.  It is a very fun (and very quick) book to read!

What I didn’t like about this book was that I got kind of a headache from moving the book up and down and turning it to read the pages.  It isn’t a traditional left-to-right, top-to-bottom kind of read.  Or maybe I’m just getting old.  But if that’s my only complaint, then you know you should go and pick up your own copy!

Book 42 of 52

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