CAST AWAY by Naomi Shihab Nye
Kirkus Star


Poems of Our Time
Age Range: 8 - 12
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Nye explores what we throw away, literally (she’s a litter picker-upper) and metaphorically.

In 80-plus poems, Nye writes conversationally, injecting humor, outrage, and reminiscence. Unambiguously championing the environment, she marvels at how casually humans toss trash. “What about these energy bottles pitched by someone / who didn’t have energy to find a bin? / Fun Finger Food wrappers dropped by someone / not so fun?” An archaeologist of urban detritus, she ponders her discoveries, championing children throughout. “Blocks around elementary schools / are surprisingly free of litter. / Good custodians?” Nye locates the profound in the mundane: “A single silver star / on a curb by Bonham Elementary / Good work! / Glimmering / like a treasure / stronger at this moment than all 50 / drooping on the flagpole.” She mourns the current othering of the homeless and refugees: “A few hundred miles from here / thousands of traumatized kids / huddle in cages / … / Who can believe this? / Land of the Free!” She keenly knits place into poems: her city, San Antonio; the Ferguson, Missouri, of her childhood; Maui; Hong Kong. She castigates Trump, who “talks uglier than the bully in grade school,” and Prince Charles, who dithers ineffectually about plastic waste. She generously praises poets and writers: W.S. Merwin, who drafted poems on junk mail; David Ignatow, for a poetic image that Nye has found compelling since high school; Kevin Henkes, for his book Egg.

Nye at her engaging, insightful best. (Poetry. 8-12)

Pub Date: Feb. 11th, 2020
ISBN: 978-0-06-290769-1
Page count: 176pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2019


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by Naomi Shihab Nye
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