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Aga Maksimowska on Wonderful Kid Narrators

By 49thShelf
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It’s not only because I’m a teacher of adolescents and an author of a coming-of-age novel that I am drawn to books with kid narrators. Young people and children have a way of seeing the world that adults are missing. Our days are short, mundane, expected, frazzled, whereas children experience things for the first time much more often than we do. They are surprised, shocked, amazed, scared, bewildered, overwhelmed, and stumped infinitely more often than we are. All of this newness produces wonderfully weird and often outrageous commentary on everything from the ordinary to the extraordinary that life throws their way. Who better to learn from about the world anew than someone who is old enough to know that that over there is a bad guy, but also notice that the bad guy is vulnerable and lost himself. Aga Maksimowska’s short stories and creative non-fiction pieces have appeared in print and online in Australia and Canada, most notably in Kurungabaa, Soliloquies Anthology, The National Post and The Globe and Mail. Her debut novel, Giant, a story of an odd girl’s coming-of-age during the fall of Communism in Poland, was released by Pedlar Press in May. She teaches English and Creative Writing at a Toronto high school.
Room

Room

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook Paperback
tagged : literary
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Why it's on the list ...
Five-year-old Jack is the youngest kid on this list. The reader has a steep learning curve while negotiating Jack’s syntax and diction, adeptly crafted by his writer-mama, Emma Donoghue. Donoghue does not shy away from humour, as in Jack’s many recurring Silly Penis references, “Silly penis is always standing up in the morning, I push him down,” and other astute life observations.
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Truth And Bright Water
Why it's on the list ...
Fifteen-year-old Tecumseh narrates this strange yet magical journey penned by Thomas King. This is a story of friendship, family, community, identity, and adventure, as only a teenager with his two best friends by his side—a dog and a cousin—can tell it.
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Mouthing The Words

Mouthing The Words

edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
tagged : literary
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Why it's on the list ...
Camilla Gibb’s narrator begins the story at age six and ends it as an adult. In a narrative as dark as Mouthing the Words, it is the original and quirky voice of Thelma that captures and nourishes the reader. Thelma can also be a riot, even in such a disturbing story.
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Funny Boy
Why it's on the list ...
Arjie is seven at the start of this excellent coming-of-age novel, and a teenager at its conclusion. His story is as compelling as it is memorable, due in great part to Arjie’s gentle and wise voice.
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Natasha And Other Stories
Why it's on the list ...
In the title story of David Bezmozgis’s debut collection, his narrator, Mark, is an introverted 16-year-old who smokes drugs in his parents basement and is awkward with girls. Bezmozgis creates exceptionally layered and believable adolescents with his dialogue
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East of Berlin
Why it's on the list ...
The writing in this play is so crisp, so clean, that if you’re not fortunate enough to see East of Berlin on stage, you can read it in one sitting, like a captivating short story. Our narrator, Rudi, is seventeen when he learns of his father’s role in the Holocaust. During the play’s flashbacks, he reveals himself as a quiet yet volatile adolescent, a likeable young man who does some unlikeable things.
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Lives of the Saints
Why it's on the list ...
Seven-year-old Vittorio Innocente is an aptly named narrator. He vacillates between being shy and innocent to moments of impressive chutzpah and even glory. He can also be funny without knowing it, which of course is the best kind of funny.
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