Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Out of Wonder:Poems Celebrating Poets

Out of Wonder:Poems Celebrating Poets

Spring 2017 Poetry
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Author: Kwame Alexander
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes
Publisher: Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763680947
Hardcover Price: $16.99

In his preface, Kwame Alexander notes that he took the title of his beautiful book from a quote by poet Lucille Clifton: "Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing." And what a heart-filled celebration this is—of poetry, and of the worlds of meaning that can be created by words placed just so. Using their own words, Alexander, Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth (all noted poets themselves), pay tribute to a well-chosen, diverse selection of poets of the past and present, reflecting the style and content of works by Langston Hughes, Rumi, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, e.e. cummings, Sandra Cisneros, and many more. Fine artist Ekua Holmes matches the mood and content of the poems with a visual feast of rich mixed media illustrations. A sampling: "The Music of the Earth," by Marjory Wentworth, captures the spirit of Pablo Naruda; Holmes renders Wentworth's "green silence of the Chilean forest" as a striking tableau of trees beside spiraling ocean waves. Wentworth's Mary Oliver-inspired "(Loving) the World and Everything in It," is accompanied by the profile of a woman in quiet contemplation "beneath a symphony of birdsong." Alexander's "Majestic," is a joyous celebration of Maya Angelou in words ("Rise/into the wonder/of daybreak") and glorious colors. The back of the book includes short but substantive biographies of each poet—where they came from, their own inspirations and influences—as well as a chronological listing of the poets sourced here, from ancient times to today.

Lynne Heffley   ©2017 Parents' Choice
A freelance writer and editor for the arts and non-profit organizations, Lynne is a former staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she established the paper's first weekly children's arts and entertainment beat.

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