A magnificent exploration of the poetic imagination.

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OUT OF WONDER

POEMS CELEBRATING POETS

Powerhouse poet Alexander, along with friends Colderley and Wentworth, offers a culturally rich collection of poetic tributes that extends the legacies of poets from around the globe.

With mixed-media illustrations by Caldecott honoree Holmes that are just as vibrant as the words and stories that accompany them, the anthology brings readers through a time- and world-traveling adventure of the poetic imagination. Eras, places, and cultures represented include ancient times, 20th-century, contemporary, Japan, Uganda, African-American, Native American, Latino, and white, too. This cross-cultural exploration embraces the timeless power of poetry, as Alexander’s preface makes clear, “to reach inside of you, to ignite something in you, and to change you in ways you never imagined.” The tributes to such legendary poets as Rumi, Emily Dickinson, and Maya Angelou both serve as homage, transparent in their honest gratitude for their inspiration and wisdom, and emulate their distinctive styles. “Snapshots,” Colderley’s poem celebrating Nikki Giovanni, reads in part, “poetry is…barbecue…cotton candy…purple skin beets from Daddy’s garden… / blues…the Birdland jazz club…Sunday morning gospel…chasing justice…freedom…,” capturing Giovanni’s subject matter and stylized punctuation use. This book is sure to be an educator’s lucky charm for a survey-of-poetry unit and is also a perfect entryway for families to wonder and explore together. Brief notes introduce the three sections, and thumbnail biographies of the poets celebrated are appended.

A magnificent exploration of the poetic imagination. (Picture book/poetry. 8-14)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8094-7

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers.

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BECOMING MUHAMMAD ALI

From the Becoming Ali series , Vol. 1

Two bestselling authors imagine the boyhood of the man who became the legendary boxing icon Muhammad Ali.

Cassius was a spirited child growing up in segregated Louisville, Kentucky. He had a loving home with his parents and younger brother, Rudy. Granddaddy Herman also was an important figure, imparting life lessons. His parents wanted him to succeed in school, but Cassius had difficulty reading and found more pleasure in playing and exploring outdoors. Early on, he and Rudy knew the restrictions of being African American, for example, encountering “Whites Only” signs at parks, but the brothers dreamed of fame like that enjoyed by Black boxer Joe Louis. Popular Cassius was especially close to Lucius “Lucky” Wakely; despite their academic differences, their deep connection remained after Lucky received a scholarship to a Catholic school. When Cassius wandered into the Columbia Boxing Gym, it seemed to be destiny, and he developed into a successful youth boxer. Told in two voices, with prose for the voice of Lucky and free verse for Cassius, the narrative provides readers with a multidimensional view of the early life of and influences on an important figure in sports and social change. Lucky’s observations give context while Cassius’ poetry encapsulates his drive, energy, and gift with words. Combined with dynamic illustrations by Anyabwile, the book captures the historical and social environment that produced Muhammad Ali.

A stellar collaboration that introduces an important and intriguing individual to today’s readers. (bibliography) (Biographical novel. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-49816-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson/HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

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  • Kirkus Reviews'
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  • New York Times Bestseller

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  • Newbery Honor Book

  • Coretta Scott King Book Award Winner

BROWN GIRL DREAMING

A multiaward–winning author recalls her childhood and the joy of becoming a writer.

Writing in free verse, Woodson starts with her 1963 birth in Ohio during the civil rights movement, when America is “a country caught / / between Black and White.” But while evoking names such as Malcolm, Martin, James, Rosa and Ruby, her story is also one of family: her father’s people in Ohio and her mother’s people in South Carolina. Moving south to live with her maternal grandmother, she is in a world of sweet peas and collards, getting her hair straightened and avoiding segregated stores with her grandmother. As the writer inside slowly grows, she listens to family stories and fills her days and evenings as a Jehovah’s Witness, activities that continue after a move to Brooklyn to reunite with her mother. The gift of a composition notebook, the experience of reading John Steptoe’s Stevie and Langston Hughes’ poetry, and seeing letters turn into words and words into thoughts all reinforce her conviction that “[W]ords are my brilliance.” Woodson cherishes her memories and shares them with a graceful lyricism; her lovingly wrought vignettes of country and city streets will linger long after the page is turned.

For every dreaming girl (and boy) with a pencil in hand (or keyboard) and a story to share. (Memoir/poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-399-25251-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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