Myself and I by Earl Sewell

Kimani Tru’s "Myself and I" by Earl Sewell is the fifth book in the popular Keysha's Drama Series. I enjoy reading Sewell's books because they describe the ‘drama’ that tweens/teens today experience in a humorous, non-preaching manner. You may recall, I reviewed the first book in the series, ‘Keysha’s Drama’ on a previous post last year. 

The protagonist Keysha has boy trouble. After surviving a humiliating experience at her prom, she realizes her fake boyfriend Antonio is no good and breaks up with him. Her ex-Wesley also re-appears in her life and tries to pursue her with no luck. Swearing off of boys, Keysha decides to work on herself and earn her lifeguard certification during the summer. When she and her friend Maya decide to get lifeguard jobs at the local park district swimming pool, things begin to heat up. 

Her new neighbor Jerry has the three ‘C’s” cute, cocky and has a cool car. He's an excellent diver, attracts the attention of all of the girls and heats up the summer at the local pool. Keysha finds herself attracted to this new heartthrob on the block. Playing hard to get, Keysha enjoys the attention and slowly begins to put down her guard. Things come to a head when Jerry throws a rowdy party at his parent’s home and attracts the police. Keysha's, who's worked hard at controlling her temper and staying out of trouble finds herself deep in drama again. To her dismay, she is charged with criminal mischief and once again disappoints her parents. Later she learns two of her rivals, Lori and Priscilla, are behind all of the lies and accusations. Eventually it is Priscilla that confesses and Keysha’s name is finally cleared of all charges. 

I can always count on Sewell to deliver a story that kids can relate to. His books spark lively discussions with tweens/teens about drugs, alcohol, sex and peer pressure in a non-graphic manner.
Author Earl Sewell
I especially like how Sewell describes the loving exchanges between Keysha and Grandma Katie. These exchanges represent how many young people are loved and guided by elders in their family. It’s Grandma Katie that educates Keysha about the rich swimming history of African-Americans that dates back to pre-slavery days. Students will also receive a brief history lesson about Tice Davids, a slave whose daring act helped create the name, "Underground Railroad." (1) This is history moment can be used as a classroom lesson for students along with the handy readers guide questions Sewell provides at the end of the book. 

Kimani TRU was launched in 2007 to fill the void in African-American fiction for young adults. The stories focus on the triumphs, issues and concerns of tweens/teens with candor, wit and realism. The stories, sometimes edgy and address serious subjects, entertain and satisfy even the most reluctant reader. (2) Sewell’s books tackle issues that kids deal with in a sensitive, informative and humorous manner. I just hope Keysha never grows up because the stories are so engaging and well written.

If you live in Illinois or neighboring states, you have the opportunity to meet Earl Sewell at the Illinois School Library Media Association Conference in St. Charles.  He will be presenting one session for Librarians and he has just been added to the Author's Showcase.  Check out the book trailer below for the book and see for yourself. “Myself and I,” is a book that should be read tweens/teens this fall.

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3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I read his last book Decision Time and really enjoyed it. Thanks for the heads up KC.

    Cheryl Broughton

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  2. Great review! Earl Sewell speaks in the language of our children.

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  3. Thanks Faye, he certainly does and the kids really enjoy his books.

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