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Book Review: “Simon Says,” by Theresa Davis

“Simon Says” is the fifth self-published book by world-renowned poet and spoken word artist, Theresa Davis. In this book of poetry and prose, Davis gives the readers a peek into her world as an educator and mother of school-aged children, covering issues such as bullying, reluctant students, and latchkey kids who were too soon made to be independent.

“Simon Says” encourages and shows readers how to connect with children and young adults. It is evident in her writing that as a teacher, she pushes her students think for themselves, she respects them, speaking to them and not at them. As a result, the reader gets the idea that Davis’ students feel comfortable going to her with their problems, even when they think they have nothing to say.

“The Belt: an owner’s manual,” a poem about sagging, goes beyond the outdated “prison fashion” mythology and “saggin is n-word spelled backwards” trope. She begins the conversation with basic fashion history, using wit to call upon her students to tap into their sense of style respectability. The piece then takes a very interesting and unsuspecting turn, conjuring images of the African Holocaust and Middle Passage, linking slavery and obstacles to freedom to one of the worst fashion faux paus in the Black community.

As a mother, being a teacher is second-nature. They are jobs that are interconnected.  Davis is pulling double duty in her piece “The Truth About Jaguars,” in which she is helping her son with his latest school assignment. She is deeply moved by her son’s eagerness to learn about jaguars, and through her writing, the reader feels her sense of apprehension and vulnerability when he calls into question her superhuman Mom abilities.

“Simon Says” is a quick but powerful read that should be read by every parent, educator, middle schooler, and anyone who cares about children. Theresa is on fire for educating the future. Her passion for teaching and reaching children jumps off the pages. “Simon Says” is about more than bullying. It is about more than teaching. It is about hope, communication, connecting with the youth, and remembering that we were all once who they are now. In remembering, we should act accordingly.

To purchase your copy of Simon Says, please contact Theresa Davis at rockstarpoet@gmail.com

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