Thursday, September 1, 2016

Name That Genre #16

TITLE: Secret
GENRE: MG Secret

At dawn, Ibrahima cleansed his forearms, face, and feet with fresh water from a stream near his cabin. His calloused hands still hurt from picking cotton yesterday from sunrise to sunset. Before everything was stolen away, his fingers had ached from writing lessons for hours on a slate board. He had once loved to study more than anything. In school, he had read and memorized passages from the Qur’an.

Near Natchez, Ibrahima was forced to settle for very little. There were no mosques or books written in Arabic anywhere in Mississippi. Years ago, he prayed with his brothers and father five times a day in a large, circular shaped mosque in Timbo. He now tried to clear his mind of sadness and distracting thoughts; an impossible task. He longed for a place where he and his friend, Samba, could freely study, recite Arabic phrases, and worship in peace.


  1. Historical (maybe alternate history, but I don't know much about that time period)

    washing in a stream, picking cotton

  2. Historical. The cotton-picking and slate board at school make me think this. This looks like an interesting book, too!

  3. Historical
    and something I haven't known about until now, so cool

  4. Historical

    Picking cotton, slate, sounds pre Civil War.

  5. Historical!

    Washing in a stream, picking cotton, living in a cabin, slate boards. I agree with Barbara that it looks pre-Civil War

  6. Historical. Bathing in a stream, living in a cabin, picking cotton.

  7. Possibly historical, but could it be more modern?

    Also, this is a beautiful opening "hook." Love.

  8. Historical, coming of age, picking cotton by hand so I would say 1700-1800's. Mentions his family and a friend so I'm guessing their relationships are important to the story

  9. Realistic/Modern

    It reads true to reality but I think there is too much info for a beginning. Like you're forcing their beliefs on us repetively. Do you need to mention they pray "5 times a day"? And "recite Arabic phrases"? We get the point at Qur'an, you don't need to overdo it

  10. I can't tell.

    I feel like this could be my unfamiliarity with the US. I'd guess historical from the mention of cotton. Other than that it could be contemporary? I suppose there are mosques in Mississippi nowadays though? But I'm pretty torn between those two.

  11. Historical because they are picking cotton in Mississippi.

  12. Genre: Historical, middle grade. Author: Sherry Smith (aka anonymous Sherry)
    FYI: Not contemporary/modern because it’s primarily set in Africa and the U.S. from the late 1700’s to 1829, more than thirty years before the Civil War. I have enough research completed for the story to be narrative nonfiction.
    Thanks for your guesses and comments.