Dark Sons

Written by Nikki Grimes
Review by Carol Anne Germain

This book is written in tender poetic narratives through the voices of two emotionally charged young men. Ishmael, the son of the Biblical Abraham, is faced with the emotions of encountering a new young half-sibling. Sam, the modern-day dark son, is also confronting the arrival of a new half-brother. Both boys feel betrayed and abandoned by their respective fathers and wrestle with their feelings of love, hate, and faith. In the end, it is the faith of each of these youngsters that enables them to come to terms with their family and cultural conflicts. The juxtaposition between the past and the present demonstrates the reality that people throughout history have had to grapple with personal struggles.

Even though this was written for a young adult audience, readers of all ages will appreciate these thoughtfully crafted poems and the stories they unweave. Sam’s “One Week Old” and the “Thank You Card” are especially moving and are sure to open your heart. Ms. Grimes does an excellent job with providing an insightful coming of age story. There is an appropriate amount of religious content throughout the text. Ages 9 and up.