I met Meg Kearney briefly at last fall's National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) conference, where I was part of a panel on blogging. Publishers took over a vast exhibition hall at NYC's Jacob Javits Center, and I had stopped by the booth of Persea Books, which published Kearney's young-adult novel-in-verse, The Secret of Me (2005; paperback edition, 2007).
Lizzie McLane, a teenager and the book's central character, knows she wants to be a poet, loves her parents, and wants to find out more about the circumstances of her adoption. She would especially like some information on her biological mother. But in Lizzie's family, which includes an older brother and sister who were also adopted, discussions about birth parents are brief, at best, and Lizzie has internalized the idea that there's something shameful about being adopted. In the course of the novel she moves away from that idea, toward a healthier sense of self; she's helped out by her friends and her Irish-ballad-loving dad, in particular.
I found The Secret of Me quite touching and hope there's a sequel in the works. Kirkus Reviews said about the book, "Not only will adolescents feel expertly sensitized to issues of adoption, they will get a good dose of real poetry with unique and inspiring language so often sacrificed for story in this genre."
At the end of the book a reader will find an autobiographical essay as an afterword and sources for more reading on both adoption and poetry. At her web site, Meg Kearney provides a teacher's guide for the novel, which focuses on reading and writing poetry. She also links to two of her poems (for adults) that Garrison Keillor read on his "Writer's Almanac" radio program.
To see what other bloggers are thinking about on this snowy Poetry Friday, read the roundup of entries at Big A, little a.