DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD by Irene Latham

DICTIONARY FOR A BETTER WORLD

Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes From A to Z
Age Range: 8 - 14
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Instead of an ordinary dictionary, poets Latham and Waters have alphabetized their vision of “a better world.”

This compilation of alphabetized words offers readers opportunities to reflect upon vocabulary that uplifts and acts to improve human connection and community. Each word is introduced with a poem and a quote, often from children’s literature, that provide a deeper expression of the chosen word. These are followed by an anecdote that offers personalized context. “Compassion,” for instance, presents an aubade about siblings who care for their sick mother before walking together to the bus stop. In Amini’s textured collage, two young black children “steep Mama / in hugs and blankets,” their love and concern glowing from the page. A quote from Julius Lester instructs readers that “there is nothing we need to understand to be compassionate with each other,” and Latham offers her musing on what compassion means to her. Finally, under the rubric “Try It!” are prompts that elicit engagement to amplify the word as action. Unlike many alphabet books, there is not always just one word per letter; some letters gather several words together. This collection is best summed up in the last poem, “The Etymology of Progress”: “What makes the world / a zinger / is remembering / we’re all in this… / together.”

A creative and inspirational resource suitable for a broad range of ages and uses. (authors’ note, bibliography, further reading, resources, index, thanks) (Poetry. 8-14)

Pub Date: Feb. 4th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5415-5775-8
Page count: 120pp
Publisher: Carolrhoda
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2019




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