This morning, we had the pleasure of bringing Coretta Scott King Award-winning author Andrea Davis Pinkney to Hill Elementary School to share with students her book, The Red Pencil. Told in verse and illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Shane W. Evans, this powerful novel tells the story of Amira, a twelve year old girl forced to flee her Sudanese village when it’s besieged by attackers. After a harrowing journey that takes her through difficult days in a refugee camp, Amira is given a single red pencil and, with this simple gift, the possibility of hope.
Part of her presentation this morning included leading students in a moving freedom song:
The Red Pencil has received multiple starred reviews, including this from School Library Journal:
“Amira’s thoughts and drawings are vividly brought to life through Pinkney’s lyrical verse and Evans’s lucid line illustrations, which infuse the narrative with emotional intensity. An engaging author note provides background on the political situation in Sudan and explains the powerful motivations for telling this story. An essential purchase that pairs well with Sylvia Whitman’s The Milk of Birds.”
Our Children’s Book Buyer, Meghan Goel, highly recommends this book:
“The Red Pencil is an incredibly powerful story told in spare, poignant verse that tells a tough story with grace and beauty. It deserves to be read by all of us, children and adults alike.”
We bring many authors to Austin schools throughout the year with books about a wide variety of subjects, written by voices that reflect diverse backgrounds and experiences. The opportunity to introduce Austin’s students to a story as urgent and powerful as Amira’s is one of the most important and necessary ways we work with our community.
We’re grateful to be able to coordinate events like this one and even more grateful to Andrea Davis Pinkney, Little Brown Book for Young Readers, and the librarians at Hill Elementary for working with us to make this special visit happen for the students of Hill Elementary.