Happy Perfect Picture Book Friday, Folks!
If you live in the northeast, I hope you’re all prepared for the white stuff that’s coming!
Today I have such an amazing book to share with you that we must just jump right in! With Martin Luther King Day, Black History Month, and Women’s History Month all on the near horizon, this really is a Perfect Picture Book!
Title: A Song For Gwendolyn Brooks
Written By:Alice Faye Duncan
Illustrated By: Xia Gordon
Sterling Children’s Books, January 2019, nonfiction
Suitable For Ages: 5+ (I think maybe a little more on the + side – the basic story is accessible to age 5, but there’s a fair amount of vocabulary)
Themes/Topics: writers/authors/poets, working hard to reach your goals, girl power, creativity, believing in yourself
Opening: “SING a song for Gwendolyn Brooks.
Sing it loud – a Chicago Blues.
Skip to the beat of elevated trains.
They grumble, rumble, and roll real fast.
The year is 1925.
Gwendolyn Brooks is eight years old.
Gray bursts of smoke hide the yellow sun.
Can flowers grow without sunlight?
Gwendolyn leans on the front yard gate.
Gwendolyn is unsure.”
Brief Synopsis: Gwendolyn Brooks grew up on the South Side of Chicago in the 1920s. She wrote her first poem at age 7, and was nurtured and encouraged by her parents to cultivate her talent. She ultimately published twenty collections of poetry, two autobiographies, and a novel. She gave voice to the urban black experience and became the first Black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize.
Links To Resources: this book is a resource in itself, using some of Gwendolyn Brooks’s own poems, including an information-filled author’s note, a timeline of Gwendolyn Brooks’s life and accomplishments, suggested further reading, and a useful bibliography; encourage your students or children to write their own free verse poems about moments and/or details of their own experience.
Why I Like This Book: I just love the way this book is written – a mixture of Gwendolyn Brooks’s poetry and Alice Faye Duncan’s. The text is so lyrical – wonderful to read aloud – and expresses so much in so relatively few words. Anyone who has ever had doubts – writers in particular – will connect with this story. My favorite part is:
“But sometimes – Gwendolyn doubts her radiance,
When jarring, crashing, discordant words,
Splotch and splatter her notebook paper.
And when RIGHT words don’t crystallize,
Gwendolyn grabs her mother’s garden trowel.
She digs beneath the snowball bush,
And buries her poems in a backyard grave.”
Doesn’t that sum up the creative experience well?! The art is mostly warm hues of brown and pink that perfectly suit the mood of the writing. This lovely book gives us a glimpse into the life and creativity of an incredibly talented writer – a beautiful and interesting read!
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂
For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.
PPBF folks, please add your titles and post-specific links (and any other info you feel like filling out 🙂 ) to the form below so we can all come see what fabulous picture books you’ve chosen to share this week!
Have a wonderful weekend, everyone – stay warm and safe!!! 🙂