Cover image for My man Blue : poems
My man Blue : poems
Grimes, Nikki.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, [1999]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 23 x 28 cm
A collection of poems describes a young boy's life with his working mother as he establishes his own identity and develops a close relationship with his mother's friend, Blue.
Reading Level:
NP Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 3.9 0.5 42384.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 3.9 2 Quiz: 21974 Guided reading level: NR.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3557.R489982 M96 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3557.R489982 M96 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3557.R489982 M96 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3557.R489982 M96 1999 Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Damon & Blue
Just us two
Cruising up the avenue.
With his night-and-day shades and a frame like a "heavyweight boxing machine," it might seem like this guy would be someone to steer clear of....But that's not the way it is. Blue is the best friend a kid could ever have. Blue, who lost one boy to the streets-and is determined that this time will be different. And Damon, whose laugh reminds him of that child, and who, even though he's the "man of the house," knows there's room for a guy like Blue in his life. To shoot hoops with, bounce thoughts off of, to share a laugh and a hot dog with all the works. And to know that at the end of the day there's someone standing steadfast in his corner. Someone Blue.

Drawing on those friendships that have inspired her own extraordinary life, Nikki Grimes creates a poetically realistic tale of that joyous, complicated bond that draws us, one to another. To this Jerome Lagarrigue , in a truly wondrous picture book debut, adds powerful and sensitive paintings that capture the rich moods and atmospheres of the story's Harlem setting.

Author Notes

Nikki Grimes was born and raised in New York City. She began writing poetry at age six and is well-known for writing award-winning books primarily for children and young adults. Bronx Masquerade and Talkin' About Bessie both won Coretta Scott King Awards, and her poetry collections featuring Danitra Brown are very popular. Grimes received the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 2006.

She has written articles for magazines including Essence and Today's Christian Woman, as well as hosted radio programs in New York and Sweden. She has lectured and read her poetry at schools in Russia, China, Sweden, and Tanzania. Grimes is also a prolific artist, creating works of fiber art, beaded jewelry, peyote beading, handmade cards, and photography.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2^-5. In a simple, lyrical series of poems, Grimes speaks in the voice of Damon, a child in Harlem, whose "missing daddy's left a hole" and who finds a mentor in Blue, who lost a son to the streets. It's a scary place ("A boy got shot / At school last month"). Lagarrigue's strong realistic acrylic paintings show the poignant connection between the needy child and the gentle, heavily built man in the dangerous neighborhood, where wedges of blue sky are sandwiched in between the roofs. Blue is a dream-perfect father figure, and some metaphors are obvious, as when Blue urges Damon to climb ("You know I'll be right here / In case you fall"), but the words and paintings show the hard place and the child's yearning for safety and strength. Damon and Blue spar every day, and the expressive pictures show their punches are almost an embrace. In the most beautiful poem, Damon's feeling about Blue is in the action and the visual detail: Blue's hands, calloused and tender, are strong stories, and "He tells them / sometimes when / I let him hold mine." A great picture book for older readers. --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

"In 14 knowing, heartfelt poems, the author invites readers to witness the friendship that blossoms between a fatherless African-American boy and a tough-looking man who has lost his son to the streets. Though each of these accomplished poems could easily stand alone, together they form an enticing story," said PW in a starred review, praising the artist's "remarkable color sense." Ages 4-8. (Dec.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-5-A child's suspicion of the new man in his mother's life grows into admiration and love in this set of linked poems. "When We First Met," young Damon recalls, "I circle, look him up and down and let/Him know his grin's not winning points with me," but all resistance melts in the face of Blue's respect, his quiet strength, his willingness to teach and to listen, and to look out for Damon's safety. By the end, Damon is hoping, one day, to be "Like Blue"; "Not fierce/In black leather/Or built like/A heavyweight/Boxing machine/But like that/Other Blue I've seen/The one who/Says he cares/And shows it." Lagarrigue debuts with a set of twilit, impressionistic, sparsely populated street scenes in which Blue, with his shaven head and heavy frame, leans hugely but attentively toward his diminutive companion. Damon mentions his mother several times, but because she appears in the illustrations only once, she remains a background presence as man and boy bond.-John Peters, New York Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.