Cover image for Isn't my name magical? : sister and brother poems
Isn't my name magical? : sister and brother poems
Berry, James, 1924-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
31 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
A collection of poems depict the family relationships, friendships, and favorite activities of an African American sister and brother.
Reading Level:
660 Lexile.
Program Information:
Reading Counts RC K-2 3.3 2 Quiz: 31474 Guided reading level: L.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3552.E7473 I7 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Oversize

On Order



A collection of poems depict the family relationships, friendships, and favorite activities of an African American sister and brother.

Author Notes

James Berry was born in coastal Jamaica on September 28, 1924. He worked for four years as a contract laborer on farms and in factories in the United States before moving to the United Kingdom. He joined the Post Office and spent 20 years as a telecommunications operator.

His first collection of poetry, Fractured Circles, was published in 1979. His other collections of poetry included Lucy's Letters and Loving, Chain of Days, Hot Cold Earth, Windrush Songs, and A Story I Am In. He won several awards including the National Poetry prize for Fantasy of an African Boy in 1981, the Smarties prize for A Thief in the Village and Other Stories in 1987, the Signal poetry award in 1989, and the Coretta Scott King book award in 1989. He was appointed OBE in 1990. He died on June 20, 2017 at the age of 92.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 5^-8. Poet Berry, whose books include Everywhere Faces Everywhere (1997), offers a collection of 12 poems about an African American brother and sister. The nine poems from Dreena's point of view and the three from Delroy's reflect their very different personalities. Dreena's poems are introspective and thoughtful: Delroy's show his love for action, especially on his skateboard. Although the poems, with occasional awkward phrases, are not Berry's finest work, some of them do capture the essence of an experience, as when Dreena talks about the games she plays with her baby sister. Hehenberger's intensely glowing pastel-and-colored-pencil drawings overwhelm the poetry, but they will probably make the book more likely to attract parents, teachers, and children. --Susan Dove Lempke

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Two siblings reveal their thoughts and feelings about family, friends, and themselves in this series of poems. Dreena is a dreamer who is enchanted by the magic of her name and fascinated by the relationships that form the crux of her life. Delroy is an adventurer who plays ball, skateboards, and imagines himself to be a deep-sea explorer. Together, the children give a clear picture of the faces and activities that shape their world, their zest for life, and their love for the people who surround them. Berry's poems are energetic and vary in style. Dreena's nine selections are generally free-verse narratives, while Delroy's three use more predictable rhyme schemes, a variation that underscores the differences in their personalities. Hehenberger's vibrant, full-page pastel and colored-pencil illustrations are richly colored expressions of Jamaican-American culture. Bleeding into the borders, the realistic portraits of the youngsters blend with the simple yet carefully chosen background details to give a clear picture of each scene. Geared for a younger audience than Arnold Adoff's I Am the Darker Brother (S & S, 1997) or Lori Carlson's Cool Salsa (Holt, 1994), this will be a good choice for encouraging youngsters to write poetry about the people and activities that form the basis of their own lives.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.