Somebody Give This Heart a Pen

Publisher: Walker Books

Collections of poetry (as opposed to verse novels) aimed specifically at teens are relatively few and far between, so it’s a real pleasure to find this empathic and empowering contemporary collection by Sophia Thakur.

An internationally acclaimed performance poet and YouTube phenomenon, Thakur writes with passion and conviction about everyday life alongside wider social issues, reminding us that they are intricately linked: the personal is political, after all.

Though the tone of the book is mature, there isn’t any swearing or sexual references to worry parents of younger teens or teachers. Rather, Thakur is writing thoughtful poetry about being a young black woman in the world, whether it’s the damaging phenomenon of skin-lightening creams, the personal history of her mother and grandmother or, in Excerpt From A Letter To My Little Black Girl, empowering younger readers: 'Little black girl, my heart thrives in the stride of your halo / The moment you stop considering yourself a collection of cherry-picked stars/ my ribs bury themselves into my back and I fall flat against the / earth’s concrete that was built for YOU to fly from.'

A powerful and relatable read, this is a great book for secondary aged children.

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