Parents' Guide to

The Red Pencil

By Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Moving verse tale of girl's experience in Darfur genocide.

The Red Pencil Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 11+

Based on 2 parent reviews

age 12+


This book was one of the worst books I have ever read. It was very boring, and I was always losing my interest in the book. In my opinion, the book was too slow and not worth reading. The form of poetry was different, but to some people, it was dumb. There was no need to use poetry for a book that wasn't even good. Some people don't like poetry and especially when the book is really boring. I recommended this book who like poetry and like a slow start.
age 10+

The inner me

I thought this was a really good book also this could really give information about what’s going on now in Sudan darfur you should really take an interest in reading this

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (2 ):
Kids say (4 ):

The free-verse style of THE RED PENCIL will help readers move through it quickly, but the novel is quite moving. At one point, a relief worker hands Amira a red pencil and a tablet of paper and Amira says, "A happy quick-beat drums in me." By telling the story of one 12-year-old girl, author Andrea Davis Pinkney helps young readers learn about the Darfur genocide and understand the devastating impact it had on families like Amira's.

Illustrator Shane W. Evans provides pencil drawings of Amira's world, drawing that could come from her own hand, adding more humanity to her story; one particularly powerful image, shown after the attack on her home, shows a delicate young girl with her hand on her heart, framed by a border of harsh scribbles.

Book Details

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