My Soul Evaporated (826NYC)
A scheme to steal cookies at lunchtime. A girl who cannot forgive herself for watching as a boy on a bike is attacked in her neighborhood. Barking dogs chasing after two young cousins. A daughter fasting for the first time and realizing the depth of care and worry her father feels for her. Going from being a bystander on the basketball court to making the winning shot, with just four seconds left on the clock. Watching Usain Bolt run and feeling so much pride for your home country. A troublemaking cousin starting a fire at a farm, and everyone coming together to extinguish it. The lasting pride of knowing you faced your fears: ran for class president, stood in front of an auditorium of students, and delivered a speech to your classmates.
These are just a few of the stories the tenth graders at Benjamin Banneker Academy tell with honesty, bravery, and beautiful language: “She looked at me for a few minutes, as if committing me to memory,” one author describes the moment she and her mother knew they were being separated. Another vividly evokes a neighborhood: “Hushed and the moon was the only thing out.” A memory of hearing gunshots while playing basketball: “Boom, boom, boom! Everyone turned into a track star at that moment.” Sisterhood is captured with elegance: “We grew up closer than flowers in a garden.” And a new uncle describes watching his nephew grow: “There is no change greater than the changes a child goes through.”
In My Soul Evaporated, the writers at Benjamin Banneker Academy return to the moments in their lives when those great changes occurred, and with wisdom and thoughtful care, they discover what those moments mean to them.