I read a lot of novels in verse. My favorites are character-driven stories with a lot of emotion like the one I just finished reading, THE COLORS OF THE RAIN by R.L.Toalson. It is everything I hoped it would be, heartbreaking, hopeful, and unforgettable. I didn’t want the story to end because I felt so connected to the main character's authentic and powerful voice. I don’t want to give too much of the story away, so I’ll just share just a bit of the blurb inside the book jacket.
Ten-year-old Paulie Sanders hates his name because it also belonged to his daddy, who killed a man and crashed a car. With Mama unable to cope, Paulie and his sister, Charlie, move in with Aunt Bee and try to make a fresh start. But it's 1972 and their new school puts them right in the middle of the Houston School District's war on desegregation.
Here is an excerpt from the first poem:
I sleep just fine
because most nights
it doesn't rain.
The last time it rained like this
we drove past that curve
Gran always called dangerous
and saw lights flashing red and blue
and people walking around
and a body covered
with a white sheet
that glowed in the dark.
Mama didn't slow down long enough
to look at the twisted car.
It was too dark to see, anyhow.
We didn't know who was
under the sheet, but Mama said
a prayer for their family
as we drove on by.
Doesn't that just grab your heart and make you want to know more? You can read a few more poems from the beginning of the book here.
Go here to read an interview with R.L.Toalson, and be sure to watch this inspiring video where the author shares her writing process.
I'm already looking forward to reading more from this very talented writer. I really hope she writes a sequel to THE COLORS OF THE RAIN because I want to know more about the next chapter in Paulie's life.
A special thank you to Kat for hosting this week's Poetry Friday on her blog Kathryn Apel.