My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The life and creative work of the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize (May 1950) and the longtime Poet Laureate of Illinois (1968-2000), is gloriously celebrated in A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan. It is written in nine free verse poems with Gwendolyn’s poetry interspersed throughout.
This tribute follows the poet’s life from her youth when the first ember of a dream to write was sparked, and it highlights her growth as she learns to “labor for the love of words” – drafting, revising, and rewriting. All the while her parents encouraged her and made room for Gwendolyn’s gift to be fanned into a flame. Studying the work of other writers, honing her craft, and writing poems about life in Chicago.
I selected this book as one of my National Poetry Month reads but it can definitely be shared and enjoyed all year long. It includes an author’s note and timeline that provides more details about the life of Gwendolyn Brooks. This book is noted as being for kindergarten through 3rd grade but I can certainly see it as a nice addition to 4th through 6th grade classrooms and libraries too.
Make sure to check out Alice Faye Duncan’s website for valuable teacher resources, including lesson plans and a virtual book signing for A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks.
Alice Faye Duncan | https://alicefayeduncan.com/
Xia Gordan | https://xiagordon.com/
Sterling Children’s Books
The Poetry Foundation: Gwendolyn Brooks | https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/gwendolyn-brooks