One Poem

Hey Readers,

If you could capture Between Shades of Gray in one poem starting with “People say Hope is Gone,” what would it be? This is our final prompt. Be free to share your poetry and thoughts on ours.

Julia: But We Still Live

People say hope is gone,

Home so far away,

Father is taken,

And Life as we knew it is gone.


But we still live,

If torture is considered living,

Slaving away,

Night and day.


But we still live,

Barely scraping by,

Seeing people die,

Day after day.


But yet we still live,

One movement ending our life,

But yet the Soviets refrain.

They’d rather see us tortured then dead.


But yet we still live,

So hope must be alive.

While we live,

Hope lives,



People say hope is gone

There is no light

Darkness surrounds 

Shadows threaten to strangle us

Its like the sun has forgotten to shine

Has forgotten about us

But as long as my hand clutches my pencil

I feel hope

~Julia and Margaret

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Between Shades of Gray

Hi readers,

Our final book we are reading is called Between Shades of Gray.  It follows the path of Lina as she is taken from her home and sent to Siberia by the Soviet secret police. Now, her almost perfect-picture life has flipped upside-down. Lina’s father is sent away from the rest of her family, and her brother, mother, Lina, and the rest of her new friends are working in order to stay alive.  It gives a new angle to the Holocaust, as the horrors that Stalin committed in the U.S.S.R. Filled with sadness, but also the hope of one girl as she battles to stay alive. But is hope really enough?

Hope you enjoy our last book

~Julia and Margaret


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How is hope important to Arnold and to life in general? Where are some instances where Arnold has hope?

Julia: I think that without hope, we get nowhere in life. Without hope, there is nothing worthwhile. This is also true in Arnold’s life. When Arnold’s teacher comes and tells him to go to the other school and that he is the only one on this reservation with hope, Arnold is feeling hopeless. Feeling hopeless is completely different from hopelessness. Even though Arnold is feeling scared, there is a bit of hope for a better life fueling him towards going to that scary school off the reservation. Like the teacher said,”You’re going to find more and more hope the farther and farther you walk away from this sad, sad reservation.” While Arnold may not have the most hope, he has hope as he walks away from the reservation everyday in hope for a better life then his fellow Indians on the reservation.

Margaret: Junior (whose real name is Arnold) is a little ray of hope shining through on his reservation, but not one that is accepted. On the reservation he is made fun of and beaten up, yet he has motivation that keeps him going. It is that one day he will have a better life, and he will have made something great out of himself. Growing up this is never something I have had to worry about. I am very fortunate to have people that support me  and help me to be my best. Junior is really without this advice, he doesn’t have a support system. Even his parents aren’t always there. But Junior goes his own way, he doesn’t wait for hope to come find him, he goes and gets it himself.

What are you thoughts?

~Julia and Margaret

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Fighting Against Stereotypes

Junior lives to different lives. He has to be the perfect, stereotypical Indian for his parents and the rest of the Indians on the reservation. Junior has to be the perfect little student during school for his friends. Even so, he is still judged for being an Indian or going to a “white” kid school. Here are some original poems that explain how we would feel in that situation.


Just Me

Torn between two lives,
Mine and everyone else’s expectations.
They tell me who to be,
How to dress,
What to do.
But I am me,
Just regular old me.
Not a perfect Indian,
Not a perfect school boy,
Maybe somewhere in between,
But I’m no where near perfect,
So stop expecting
Me to be perfect.
I am me
Not you,
Not perfect,
Just me



what I am supposed to be
what I am
I want to be accepted
but instead I am mocked
and taunted
my eyes never leave the ground
and I end up hating myself
filling to the brim with wishes
about a better me
can’t change the face that the mirror shows
it’s mine

How do you think Junior would feel?

Any original poetry, or other poetry that fits the theme would be fantastic.

~Julia and Margaret

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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Hey guys,

Our next book we are going to read is called The Absolutely true Diary of a Part-Time Indian. This book is about when a hopeful young Indian, Arnold (Junior), decides to attend a public school rather then any of the schools on the reservation. This flips is life upside-down. His best friend for almost his whole life is ignoring him unless he is beating Arnold up. The other Indians on the reservation call him a traitor. He is discriminated against by his new classmates, and is not treated fairly or with respect, but yet, he remains hopeful for a better life.

Hope you enjoy.

~Julia and Margaret

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Here are our thoughts on 19 Varieties of Gazelles. Be free to share your thoughts as well.


                                                                                       I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars because some of the poetry was absolutely beautiful along with the imagery and attention to small detail. I also thought the reason for her writing this book was quite touching. However, at a certain point, my mind began to wander while reading this. While the poems themselves were beautiful, I would constantly lose my focus or get bored while reading many in a row. It was hard to engage myself in this book, but I enjoyed the poems immensely. 


Naomi Shihab Nye is a really wonderful poet, but sometimes the storyline of the book confused me, or I got lost. But the quality and meaning that is every single poem in this book, really made up for that. While it might seem like a quick read, I promise you it will touch you and give you a fresh perspective.

We hope you will give this amazing poetry book and poet a try!

~Julia and Margaret

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What Does This Mean To You?


Today we are picking out favorite poems from 19 Varieties of Gazelles and explaining what they mean to us. What is your favorite poem from this book? What did it mean to you?


The Clean Rinse by Naomi Shibab Nye

Each time you go through this                                                                                                      you loose a little less color

the water is less                                                                                                                               pink, blue, or gray

this is what I try to say:                                                                                                                 don’t let them wring it out of you

because they like a scratch,                                                                                                                      don’t let that apply to your neck

you are real, 100% cotton,                                                                                                             you can wrinkle, accept that as a gift

and accept these rinses,                                                                                                                        they are tedious

they will come                                                                                                                                         again and again

after awhile, you will have                                                                                                                    nothing more they can take.

To me, this poem is talking about staying true to yourself. If someone tries to change you, then each time you will become a little less of yourself until you aren’t yourself at all.  It is saying that you should say true to yourself, and even if you stumble or wrinkle sometimes, you are yourself and things will get better.


A Single Slice Reveals Them

An apple on the table

hides its seeds

so neatly under seamless skin.

But we talk and talk and talk

to let somebody 


This poem to me is aboutthe difficulties opening up yourself to the world, and how it is very easily to hide who you are and your stories within you. Yet all it takes is someone who cares about you, and suddenly you can share who you really are, and to let them in to your life. 

~Julia and Margaret

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