KEESHA'S HOUSE (Young Adult: 12 and up)
Farrar, Straus & Giroux / Frances Foster Books

"If I'd known there were books like this, I would have started reading a long time ago."

10th grade student at South High School, Worcester, MA

(Note to young readers: There are LOTS of books you will love--talk to a librarian!)

2004 Printz Honor Book


Keesha's House Booktrailer by Christine Kalcso-Aten

and another by Jennifer Curnow.

Both book trailers were created in Sylvia Vardell's classes.


Keesha's House is now available on audio, in large print, in paperback, and in a downloadable Kindle format.

At Joe's house, Keesha has found a safe place to live, and soon it becomes known as Keesha's House. Other kids gravitate to Keesha, finding safety in the rooms of the house and friendship and support among one another.

Written as a sequence of dramatic monologues in traditional poetic forms, this novel for young adults weaves together the stories of seven teenagers as they struggle to hold their lives together and overcome their difficulties.


If you are interested in performing Keesha's House see: Keesha's House on stage.


If you want to try writing a sestina like the ones you've read in Keesha's House, here are some worksheets for the sestina form, as well as other forms.


June 17, 2006

Steve Coulter and Dee Wagner have been awarded the prestigious Southeastern Media Award at the Atlanta film Festival for their screenplay of Keesha's House.

For more information, see What's New.


Scroll down to find:

Awards and Honors for Keesha's House

Quotes from Reviews of Keesha's House



Michael L. Printz Award - Honor

White Ravens Award (2004)

American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults

Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

Books for the Teen Age, New York Public Library

Recorded Books Audiotape--finalist for an Audie Award

Nominations for State Book Awards:

The Gateway Book Award (Missouri)

Blue Hen Book Award (Delaware)

Eliot Rosewater Award (Indiana)

Sequoyah Award (Oklahoma)

South Carolina Young Adult Book Award

2010-2011--One School, One Book selection: Greensboro, North Carolina (Guilford County)


Book Links, American Library Association

Booklist, American Library Association

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal, Starred Review

VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates), 5Q5P



Richie's Picks Review of Keesha's House

Lyre Review, by Ashley Commings, grade 12

Calyx: Journal of Art and LIterature by Women: Frost's skill at using poetic forms is unobtrusive and deft, her storytelling skillis of the highest order, and the dramatic monologues which advance the plot are told in various voices that ring absolutely true....To "get right" the voices of seven very different teenagers, plus thirteen adults, and to do so in strict poetic forms, is an astonishing achievment. Ingrid Wendt

VOYA (5Q*5P): Compelling first-person accounts. . .grip the reader. . . succeeds beyond this English teacher's imagination. . .Sentences wrapping from one stanza into the next draw readers through stories that embrace all the uncertainty and fear of teen life when adults' failures force the teens into early marutity. . . these teenagers. . .find ways to reach out and help others in need. . . .Spare, eloquent, and elegantly concise, Frost's novel will reach reluctant readers as well as [other teen readers]. . .Public, private, and correctional educators ad librarians should put this must-read on their shelves. Cynthia Winfield

To view an article about VOYA's "Perfect Tens" go to:

School Library Journal (*): Revealing heartbreak and hope, these poems could stand alone, but work best as a story collection. Teens may read this engaging novel without even realizing they are reading poetry. Angela J. Reynolds, Washington County Cooperative Library Services, Hillsboro, OR

Booklist:. . .this moving first novel tells the story in a series of dramatic monologues that are personal, poetic, and immediate. . . characters, drawn with aching realism. . .speak poetry in ordinary words and make connections. Hazel Rochman Copyright American Library Association.

Children's Literature: . . .sestinas and sonnets. . .prove an . . .effective format for this poignant contemporary book. . ..Each [character] grows and learns. In the final chapter each is hopeful for the future....[Frost] is a published poet and has written many nonfiction books. This is her first novel. I hope it won't be her last. Janet Crane Barley

KLIATT: Recommended for junior and senior high school students. Michele Winship, Asst. Prof., Capital University, Columbus, OH

Kirkus Reviews: . . . in Frost's multi-voiced story of teens struggling to find their way in the world. . . Frost underplays her virtuosity to let readers focus on the characters and their plight. . . .In a surprisingly rigid format, the poems manage to seem spontaneous and still carry the plot easily. With a number of threads to follow, no one character is at the center, but there is great satisfaction in seeing the narratives gradually mesh as the isolation recedes and support is given. Impressive. (Fiction. YA)

Publisher's Weekly: . . .artfully revealed. . . Frost makes her characters and their daily lives seem relevant and authentic...Making the most of the poetic forms, the author breathes life into these teens and their stories, resulting in a thoughtfully composed and ultimately touching book.

Book Links: . . . the characters are drawn with immediacy and realism.

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books:. . . the final section is a crown of sonnets narrated by the teens, poignantly suggesting that the development of their own adult voices depends on the interconnectedness of their lives. . .the voices are authentic and complex; there is much potential hee for sophisticated analysis of both form and content. KC


If you, or someone you know, have run away from home, or are thinking about running, here is a place you can find help:
National Runaway Switchboard

More about Keesha's House at:

FSG Books for Young Readers

Keesha's House at IndieBound