In this collection of stories and poetry all told from the perspective of teenage boys, Flake presents the sometimes hilarious but reflective voices that are not always heard in classrooms. Some stories deal with very serious topics such as teenage pregnancy and marriage and some are light-hearted takes on girls and how to impress them.
Flake, S. G. (2010). You don’t even know me. New York, NY: Jump at the Sun.
You don’t even know me. Sharon G. Flake. Jump at the Sun, 2010. $16.99. 978-1-4231-0014-0. Grades 8-11. Realistic, sometimes gritty, short stories and some poetry convey life for black, mostly urban, teenage boys. With different formats and themes, the narratives touch on teen pregnancy, AIDS, and violence but also convey a sense of hope and the richness of life.
While reading this collection I most appreciated the diversity of the voices represented. Urban male teens tend to be pigeon-holed into one stereotype in pop culture–the hardened thug. Flake, however, shows us the hopes, zeal for life, and the importance of relationships to urban boys.
During National Poetry Month in April, the library can host an open-mic event for students to read from their favorite poets or read their own works. Leading up to the event, create a display of poetry students might find engaging. You Don’t Even Know Me can be part of a display geared towards boys finding their voices through poetry alongside The Rose That Grew From Concrete by Tupac Shakur and many other collections of poetries by urban and male voices. Flake’s poems or stories would make excellent podcasts, recorded with photographs depicting some of the images and scens in the poems.