We Are the Scribes

Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2022. 304p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250820310.
Gr 9 Up–Ruth is a writer. She writes about everything she sees or does or feels as a Black girl, a daughter, a sister. All this changes after her sister’s murder during a demonstration and her politician mother’s nomination as vice president, which keeps her away from home for long periods. Ruth can no longer write and feels lost and alone. In the midst of her grief, she receives a scroll with a letter from someone named Harriett who tells Ruth about life as an enslaved woman and as a scribe. Through these letters, Ruth begins to overcome her sadness and finds strength she didn’t know she had. This beautifully written book touches on so many issues, both political and familial, as Ruth struggles to find her place in unfamiliar situations. Pink has once again created a relatable character who overcomes obstacles not of her own making. The characters are well-developed and realistic. The situations related to Ruth’s mother’s role in the campaign, her father’s reaction to the nomination, and the underlying grief all show resiliency. Harriet writes to Ruth in a cursive font that is difficult to read and which many readers have not been taught. This could be detrimental to the book being enjoyed.
VERDICT If YA patrons can read cursive writing, this book is highly recommended for all collections.

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