Books by Marilyn Nelson

HOW I DISCOVERED POETRY by Marilyn Nelson
Released: Jan. 14, 2014

"With sophisticated wordplay and poignantly spare description, this lyric bildungsroman creates as effective a portrait of race relations in 20th-century America as of formative moments in Nelson's youth. (author's note) (Memoir/poetry. 10 & up)"
Multiaward-winning poet Nelson (A Wreath for Emmett Till, illustrated by Philippe Lardy, 2005, etc.) tells how growing up as a daughter of one of the first African-American career officers in the Air Force influenced her artistic development. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 2012

"Eye-catching and lyrical. (Picture book. 4-8)"
When does an ostrich come into his own? Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Aug. 1, 2011

"Children of all ages will be charmed by this collection that demonstrates that poet-translators often make the best ambassadors. (Picture book/poetry. 3-7)"
A charming collection of poems finds an American audience in a splendid translation. Read full book review >
SNOOK ALONE by Marilyn Nelson
ANIMALS
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

"Ever eschewing manipulation, it nevertheless could wring tears from stone. (Picture book. 5-10)"
"Abba Jacob was a monk who lived in a hermitage on the island in a faraway sea," reads the opening line of Nelson and Ering's remarkable collaboration, but readers soon discover that the monk does not lead an entirely solitary existence. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2009

"The illustrator is at his best in the wordless full-bleed doublespreads interspersed throughout the book, which set a contemplative pace that invites flipping back and forth through the pages documenting the Sweethearts' travels, triumphs and travails. (Picture book/poetry. 10-14)"
Nelson brings her signature poetic treatment of history to this outstanding collaboration with illustrator Pinkney about a racially integrated "all-girl swing band" that toured the United States during World War II. Read full book review >
BEAUTIFUL BALLERINA by Marilyn Nelson
Released: Sept. 1, 2009

"The former is best suited to a young audience, the latter to older readers. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Four female Dance Theatre of Harlem students ranging from a little one in a community program to three in its Pre-Professional program pose and dance, photographed by Kuklin against solidly colored backgrounds. Read full book review >
THE FREEDOM BUSINESS by Marilyn Nelson
POETRY
Released: Oct. 1, 2008

"Tragic, important, breathtaking. (author's, artist's notes) (Poetry. 13 & up)"
An astonishing, heartbreaking cycle of poems is set in counterpoint against the slave narrative that inspired them. Read full book review >
PEMBA’S SONG by Marilyn Nelson
FAMILY AND GROWING UP
Released: Sept. 1, 2008

"However, there is a persistent rushing of the narrative, with details emerging unnaturally fast, that detracts from the overall appeal of this novella. (Fiction. 12 & up)"
A beautifully written, richly historical but too-quickly paced tale unfolds in two voices in this suspenseful ghost story. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Sept. 1, 2007

"A foreword provides a brief prose history of the school; a concluding authors' note explains their collaborative process. (Poetry. 10+)"
Two years after Suzanne Jurmain's nonfiction chronicle, Forbidden Schoolhouse (2005), comes a glorious poetic celebration of the teacher and students at a Connecticut school that defied mid-19th-century convention to educate African-American girls. Read full book review >
A WREATH FOR EMMETT TILL by Marilyn Nelson
FRIENDS AND SCHOOL
Released: April 4, 2005

"The latter two are rather unfortunate additions, as the words, purified in the crucible of the form, speak eloquently enough on their own. (Poetry. 12+)"
Only Marilyn Nelson can take one of the most hideous events of the 20th century and make of it something glorious: An intricate cycle of 15 sonnets—an Heroic Crown, in which the last sonnet is made up of the first lines of the previous 14. Read full book review >
POETRY
Released: Oct. 31, 2004

"While at times these can distract, they cannot dim the incandescence of the poetry, or the keen-eyed glimpse into one small moment in the American 'Peculiar Institution' it provides. (bibliography) (Poetry. 12+)"
In 1798, Fortune, a slave owned by Dr. Preserved Porter, a bonesetter, died; rather than bury him, Dr. Porter rendered his corpse and preserved his bones for anatomical study. Read full book review >