Pemba's Song

A Ghost Story

By Marilyn Nelson; Tonya C. Hegamin
(Scholastic Press, Hardcover, 9780545020763, 112pp.)

Publication Date: September 2008

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Description

Pemba knows she's not crazy. But who is that looking out at her through her mirror's eye? And why is the apparition calling her "friend"? Her real friends are back home in Brooklyn, not in the old colonial house in Colchester, Connecticut, where none of this would have happened if Daddy were still alive. But now all Pemba has is Mom and that strange old man, Abraham. Maybe he's the crazy one.

Thank goodness for Pemba's Playlist and the journal she keeps. There are so many answers deep inside that music. So much is revealed in Pemba's poetry -- the bops she writes and those coming through her iPod. Phyllis, an 18th-century slave girl, has answers too. But Phyllis's reality billows out from her visits to Pemba, visits that transform both girls in ways neither expected.

In this supernatural tale, the voices of these two characters entwine to put a new spin on a paranormal story. As a mystery unfolds, many truths are revealed -- about honesty, freedom, redemption, and friendship.

Excerpt:

Miles of highway and nothin

but trees. Mom's movin me to Nowhere,

CT when I used to live in the center of the universe:

Brooklyn, NY. This must be some kind of evil curse. . . .

I'm journalin like my hand's on fire, ear buds blarin:

~Pemba

The truth everywhere evident:

my days are numbered in our happy home.

The only home I know.

Both in here and out there, I am invisible. . .

~Phyllis




About the Author

Noted poet Marilyn Nelson is the author of several highly acclaimed and award-winning books for young readers. CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS received a Newbery Honor medal, a Boston Globe/Horn Book Award, and a Coretta Scott King Honor citation. A WREATH FOR EMMETT TILL, also a book told in poetry, won a Printz Honor Award, a Coretta Scott King Honor, and a Boston Globe/Horn Book citation. Ms. Nelson is a multiple National Book Award finalist. Her forthcoming novel, PEMBA'S SONG, will be published in 2008, and her picture book, BEAUTIFUL BALLERINA, will publish in 2009 (both with Scholastic).

Tonya C. Hegamin is the author of MOST LOVED IN ALL THE WORLD and M+O 4EVR, both forthcoming from Houghton Mifflin Company. She received a B.A. in Poetry from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA from The New School University. Tonya has worked as a social worker and teacher for teens in crises and has also taught poetry workshops to at-risk and incarcerated women. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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