Monday, January 24, 2011

Sneak Preview: Carmen by Walter Dean Myers

This urban retelling of the tale of a beautiful and sensuous woman who has a strong loyalty to her people and a deep need to be free will resonate, thematically, with readers who have felt the pull of loyalty vs. the law. Myers dusts off the classic Carmen, often found these days in opera houses and ballet performances, and brings it to life in East Harlem, with a cast of over 20 characters-- perfect for a classroom reading. The play, which is broken up into two acts with two scenes per act, promises to lend itself to a week long unit in an ELA class at just over 100 pages.

I was lucky enough to pick up a free advanced uncorrected proof of this title at the ALA mid-winter meeting in San Diego earlier this month. Because that means that none of our students have read the book yet, I can’t tell you with any accuracy how they’ll respond. I can just say, without giving away too much, that readers who found themselves hooked on the form of Monster and Riot have something to look forward to on April 26th, 2011 (publication date) or whenever it makes its way into their libraries. In the meantime: has anyone seen the Spanish film by the same name starring Paz Vega? I’d love to hear if there are any clips that would pair well for a class. This would be a nice read to contrast with Street Love by the same author.

Myers, Walter Dean. Carmen. New York: Egmont, 2011.

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