Today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday pick is…
Written by: Alice Faye Duncan
Illustrated by: Xia Gordon
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books (January 2019)
Suitable for ages: 5-8
Themes/Topics: biography, poetry, African-American life
A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks is about the African-American poet and author Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) who wrote about the urban African-American experience.
The book is part of the “People Who Shaped Our World” series. Alice Faye Duncan captured the life and work of Brooks, beginning in 1925 at age eight, ending in 1950, the year she became the first African-American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry.
Why I like this book:
Duncan writes in lyrical text and shows observations informed the poet’s writing, even from an early age.
The author also gives examples of the kinds of struggles Brooks faced as a young, gifted writer as well as the support she received from her family. Brooks struggled with her confidence and her words. A teacher once accused Brooks of plagiarism so her mother had the young poet write a poem in front of her. As a teen when others were looking for work, Gwendolyn’s parents supported her dream and allowed her to “sit and think”. And from all her years of hard work, an adult Brooks realizes her dream and became a professional writer.
Back matter includes an author’s note, timeline, suggested readings by Gwendolyn Brooks and bibliography to learn more about one of America’s most influential writers.
I read the ARC for this review; the book release date is January 1, 2019. This book would be a great addition to the home, school, and library.
For more about poetry for kids, see the Poetry4kids website.
A lesson plan about Gwendolyn Brooks (grades 3-12).
A lesson plan for Gwendolyn Brooks (grades 5-6).
To read lots more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews visit author Susanna Hill’s blog.
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