A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS by Alice Faye Duncan

A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS

From the "People Who Shaped Our World" series
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 7 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

This brief biography of the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet features a handful of Brooks’ own poems interspersed with original verse about the woman and her writing.

The warm pink undertones of Brooks’ glowing brown face on the book’s cover fade to a muted brown and beige palette inside the book’s pages. Simple scenes and images use thick blurred lines and blocks of color as a background to the text as it recounts her life chronologically, from age 8 in 1925 to her winning the Pulitzer Prize in 1950. The poems about Brooks are headed by Roman numerals, I through IX. At first, she is “unsure,” watching and listening to the sounds and behaviors of the people in her neighborhood, writing poems in her journal and burying those that disappoint her. When her teacher accuses her of plagiarism, her mother has her write a poem in front of the teacher to prove her brilliance (the poem is included). Her parents believe in her and leave her “free to sit and think.” Her process is lovingly described: “She learns to labor for the love of words” through draft after draft. She befriends other poets and studies older poets. “She found her light. // And— / A furious flower / GREW!” The combination of biography and Brooks’ own poems makes for a strong, useful, and beautiful text; readers might wish, however, that Duncan’s words and Brooks’ were set in markedly different typefaces to better distinguish them.

A solid introduction to a brilliant writer. (author’s note, timeline, suggested reading, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-4549-3088-4
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Sterling
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2018




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