Sunday, July 6, 2008

A River of Words


The American Library Association’s exhibit hall is packed with the best new books for all ages. But, I’d like to tell you about one of my favorite finds: A RIVER OF WORDS: THE STORY OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS, written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008). It is fabulous and I have to confess I went a bit nuts at the booth when I saw it.

I have always liked his poem, “This is Just to Say.” It’s one of my all-time favorites—so simple and clearly expressed.

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.

I remember reading a lot of work by William Carlos Williams when I was in college, but it never was presented in such an attractive way.

The book is a picture book biography of Williams. Sweet’s illustrations are fascinating collage. There is an Author’s Note and and Illustrator’s Note and three parallel timelines present the life of Williams, his poems, and what was happening in the world at the time. Teachers will love the timelines—they fit so nicely into the California Standards.

A fabulous new read and a wonderful way to share poetry with your students.

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