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WE THE PEOPLE by Bobbi Katz Kirkus Star

WE THE PEOPLE

Poems

By Bobbi Katz (Author) , Nina Crews (Illustrator)

Age Range: 9 & up

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2000
ISBN: 0-688-16531-1
Publisher: Greenwillow/HarperCollins

Katz has experimented with writing poems in the voices of Americans of the past, utilizing this approach with original poems in American History Poems (1998). In this new collection, 28 of the 30 poems from that volume are reprinted, along with 37 new poems written for this one. Her impeccable research is reflected in both the panoramic scope and exacting details of this project, with an amazing variety of poems in voices representing every age group and many cultures and perspectives. Each indicates its “author,” the date, and the place of composition. At the bottom of each page, important dates and quotations are printed in light blue, helping ground each poem in historical context, and providing a time line throughout the book. Some of the poems are in the voices of famous leaders, explorers, or inventors who were actual historical figures; others are by average men or women of the author’s invention; and many of the poems are in the fictional voices of children and young adults. The poems are presented in chronological order, divided into sections for each century. Crews (Ghost Story, 2000) provides a photographic montage to introduce each section, with a different typeface used for the poems of each century, moving gradually toward a more modern look. The poetic forms also progress through the centuries, from structured poems in formal language to more casual and humorous poems to modern formats such as rap, shape poems, and even a collection of e-mails. An author’s note, bibliography, and source notes on the art are also included. Creative teachers will like the possibilities inherent in this collection: for choral readings, a “poetry through the centuries” performance, or as a spark for poetry-writing assignments. A chorus of lively, informative voices waiting to be discovered by those who make the effort to listen. (Poetry. 9+)