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These Are Not the Words

Groundwood Books 2022

I’m Miranda Billie Taylor.

I make sense of the world with words.

Miranda is called Missy for short, and she lives in the most exciting city in the world. She goes to a great school where she learns about poetry, music and plays. She has a best friend she has known forever, and two cats named Stan and Ollie.

Most of all, Missy has cool parents. Her mother goes to art school, and her father is a drummer who works in advertising and takes Missy on secret midnight excursions to Harlem and the Village so she can share his love of jazz. Missy and her father write poems for each other — poems that gradually become an exchange of apologies as his alcohol and drug addiction takes over their lives.

Based on the events and people of Amanda West Lewis’s own childhood, this poignant and poetic story is set against the thrum and grit of New York City’s legendary jazz scene in the 1960s.

New York City in the 1960s is the humming backdrop for this poignant, gritty story about a girl who sees her parents as flawed human beings for the first time, and finds the courage to make a fresh start. American League of Poets

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