Words by Heart
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This is a very powerful story, beautifully told in precise, spare language. It opens with Lena, the eldest daughter of the Sills family, competing in and winning a Bible quotation competition. In doing that, she shows her skill but she reveals much more of herself, her emotions, her pride, her sense of her own worth and she learns, too, a black girl beating a white boy, about prejudice. Those quotations are more than words to her, her struggles and learning are measured against such words, words embodied in her father. There are hard things to be faced in the book which are painful for Lena and for the reader too. Her achievement seems to be torn out suffering. It's an exceptional book. Read it and let/help groups or whole classes explore it.