A celebration of diversity in the United States in pictures, poetry, and prose.
Mediocre but accessible five-line poems and explanatory text could serve a variety of audiences, as both a poetry read-aloud and a nonfiction text that might spur kids to do more research, if only there were some sources listed. The quality of the paintings and drawings by “nationally acclaimed” artists really varies, from Doug Bowles’ sensitive portrait in pastels of Emma Lazarus with an abstract Statue of Liberty crown, on the “P is for Poem” page, to Laura Knorr’s old-fashioned stereotypical international children on the “C is for Cultures” and the “D is for Diversity” double-page spread. Middle graders will start to understand some important issues surrounding immigrants (both documented and undocumented) and refugees, but without a chronological framework, young people will have a difficult time grasping the real historical significance of diversity in the U.S. In this “Celebration of America’s Diversity” the author has barely scratched the surface of anti-immigrant feeling in the U.S., with one paragraph on the “E is for Ellis Island” page mentioning anti-Asian laws and the detainment policies that kept some people on Angel Island for years.
In today’s political climate, a book on this topic can be very important, but this one misses the mark in spite of some of the interesting facts it contains. (Informational picture book/poetry. 7-11)