Kirkus Reviews QR Code
HOUR OF FREEDOM by Milton Meltzer


American History in Poetry

edited by Milton Meltzer

Age Range: 10 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 2003
ISBN: 1-59078-021-3
Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

A striking and unusual approach to American history, with strong black-and-white illustrations, borders, and fleurons. Meltzer introduces each suite of poems with a page or two of historical background, from the Colonial era to independence to slavery to wars to immigration. He uses the work of famous and familiar poets—Carl Sandburg, Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes—with liberal choices from Anonymous (some of these are songs) and from people born after 1950. The choice of poems like “Old Ironsides,” “Bread and Roses,” and “O Captain! My Captain!” will allow a new generation to feel the intense rhythms and the dramatic stanzas of this type of narrative. Even the later poems, like Aileen Fisher’s “Martin Luther King” or Charlotte Zolotow’s “Enemies,” one in rhyme, one in free verse, have a powerful verbal thrum to them. This begs to be read aloud, and will engender much discussion about war and freedom and what this country stood for and stands for. A noble effort. (Poetry. 10+)