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|Song for Gwendolyn Brooks|
Author: Duncan, Alice Faye
Through her own beautiful poetry, tells the story of Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize.
People Who Shaped Our World
Kirkus Reviews (11/01/18)
School Library Journal (+) (04/01/19)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/12/18)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 12/15/2018 In her smoke-filled neighborhood in Chicago’s South Side, eight-year-old Gwendolyn Brooks wonders if the pink flowers outside her home can grow without sunlight. The flower metaphor continues in this picture-book biography of the award-winning poet. Duncan’s own blues-style free verse recounts young Gwendolyn beginning to write snappy rhymes in dime-store journals. Even as a teacher accuses her of plagiarism and she doubts herself, her parents believe in her gift for poetry. When Gwendolyn gains confidence, she studies influential poets, “paints poems with paintbrush words,” and eventually becomes the first black American to win the Pulitzer Prize. Cared for by her family, Gwendolyn found her light, and like “a furious flower,” she grew. Loosely drawn, digitally enhanced artwork, rendered in pinks, mauves, and oranges, reinforces the flower imagery. Samples of Brooks’ poems throughout give children a true sense of the poet’s rhythm and appeal, while an author’s note provides more details about her life. This book makes a terrific companion to Brooks’ body of work, especially her much-loved Bronzeville Boys and Girls (2007). - Copyright 2018 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 04/01/2019 K-Gr 3—Poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks's talent with words was evident from a very early age, as this lyrical biography reveals. Against the thrumming backdrop of Chicago in the 1920s and 1930s, with its pulse of trains and blues, Brooks's story is that of a child whose parents believed in her. It is also the story of a gifted girl who learned to believe in herself despite the teasing of neighborhood bullies and despite the doubts of her teachers. When her teacher did not believe that eight-year-old Brooks wrote something as sophisticated as the work she submitted, Mrs. Brooks marched to the school to fight for her daughter's innocence. Gwen crafted a poem right on demand, proving her prodigious ability to her teacher and most importantly, to herself. "Gwen steps high on her walk home./Gwen smiles brightly./Gwen BELIEVES." Brooks went on to become the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize. Duncan presents the facts of Brooks's life through concise, powerful biographical poems arranged under Roman numeral headings, distinguishing her own poetry from interspersed poetry by Brooks. Gordon's spare but affecting illustrations flush the pages with warm rose gold tones, plums, browns, and lavender. Strength and exultation come through with each expressive scene. An author's note, timeline, suggested readings and bibliography all add to the informative nature and usefulness of this text. VERDICT A stirring, accessible introduction to Gwendolyn Brooks and a must-have for all elementary collections.-Melissa Williams, Berwick Academy, ME - Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.