A flawed but necessary history of a culture whose voices demand to be heard.

READ REVIEW

DREAMS FROM MANY RIVERS

A HISPANIC HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES TOLD IN POEMS

Engle merges streams of free-verse poetry into a Hispanic history lesson spanning centuries.

Beginning on the shores of pre-Colombian Borikén (Puerto Rico), Engle imagines the voices of the Taíno as well as those of the colonizers and many diverse mestizos from across the Hispanic Americas to craft a poetic picture of Hispanic history that begins with a trickle and ends in a torrent. The author does not hide her point of view. She paints an idealized picture of Taíno culture—the only explicitly Indigenous voices represented—in which people lived in harmony with the land before the arrival of the Spaniards, a choice that elides the complicated history of the pre-Columbian Americas. As the story continues into the modern day, the featured characters demonstrate the wide variety of ethnic roots included in the multicolored tapestry of Hispanic culture, but there is not so much diversity in thought, as it largely celebrates those stories that align with contemporary liberal ideology. The retrospective look back reveals many narratives that seem to play on a loop as similar struggles are faced by successive generations and continue to this day, begging readers to learn from the past lest it repeat yet again. Within the authorial bias, the poetry is fluid and thought-provoking, and Latinx readers will find many narrative threads that will seem teased from their own family looms.

A flawed but necessary history of a culture whose voices demand to be heard. (Poetry anthology. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62779-531-9

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Godwin Books/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An enticing entree to the glories of Shakespeare’s verse.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

From the Poetry for Kids series

In the fifth installment of the illuminating Poetry for Kids series, the spotlight shifts from U.S. luminaries—Dickinson, Whitman, Sandburg, Frost—across the Atlantic to perhaps the most famous writer of English.

Again pairing an accomplished academician with a gifted illustrator, the resulting collection features 31 poetic selections curated by Shakespearean scholar Tassi (English, Univ. Nebraska-Kearney) and accompanied by atmospheric artwork from Spanish illustrator López. Though the Shakespearean oeuvre contains 154 sonnets and some longer poems, speeches from his plays dominate Tassi’s carefully crafted portrait, highlighting many famous reflections on love and desire, calls to arms, and musings on power. Interestingly, one must look to the volume’s explanatory “What William Was Thinking” section to learn not only the dramatic context behind, for example, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears,” from Julius Caesar, but why Mark Antony’s observation that “The evil that men do lives after them; / The good is oft interred with their bones” carries such weight. More immediately, alongside Macbeth’s timeless “To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow” soliloquy, López’s eerie and evocative visualization wonderfully sketches the outline of the stages of life being alluded to in the smoky vapor of a snuffed-out candle. Shakespeare’s intricate syntax and Elizabethan vocabulary will warrant additional coaching for younger readers, facilitated by marginal notes.

An enticing entree to the glories of Shakespeare’s verse. (index) (Picture book/poetry. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-63322-504-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Moondance/Quarto

Review Posted Online: March 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable.

VOICE OF FREEDOM

FANNIE LOU HAMER: THE SPIRIT OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT

A welcome addition to civil rights literature for children.

Ask American children to recall a book on Martin Luther King Jr. or Rosa Parks, and most can. Fannie Lou Hamer? They will likely come up short. This expansive, richly illustrated biography about the “voice of the civil rights movement” recounts Hamer’s humble and poverty-stricken beginnings in 1917 as the 20th child of Mississippi sharecroppers through her struggle to fight for the rights of black people on local, regional, and national levels. Hamer’s quotes appear frequently in Weatherford’s free-verse poetry, giving readers a sense of how and what she spoke: “Black people work so hard, and we ain’t got nothin’ / to show for it.” The author also includes painful truths, describing the “night riders’ ” pursuit of Hamer after she attempted to register to vote and a brutal beating at the hands of police following her arrest, from which she suffered lifetime injuries. Hamer’s determination, perseverance, and unwavering resolve come through on every page. Holmes’ quiltlike collage illustrations emphasize the importance Hamer placed on community among African-Americans. Young readers who open this book with just a vague notion of who Fannie Lou Hamer was will wonder no more after absorbing this striking portrait of the singer and activist.

Bold, honest, informative, and unforgettable. (author’s note, timeline, source notes, bibliography) (Picture book/poetry/biography. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6531-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more