Monday, March 11, 2019

A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS: A Review and Picture Book Giveaway

Congratulations to Danielle H. who for a second week in a row won a book from my blog. The Wizard's Daughter is on its way to her!


Back in November I promised you a review of another book by Alice Faye Duncan. Several blog posts later and in anticipation of National Poetry Month in April, I'm making good on that promise. 

Before today you may not have heard of Gwendolyn Brooks. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1950 making her the first African American to win a Pulitzer.  Fittingly, Ms. Duncan chose to celebrate Ms. Brooks work by writing her biography in verse and interspersing it with Brooks' own poetry.

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.
As a young girl, Gwendolyn translates her observations and thoughts into poetry.

Her parents encourage her writing but a teacher accuses her of plagiarizing her poems. Her teacher retracts her charge, but Gwendolyn is angry and pens a poem which ends up being prophetic:

If others neglect you,  
Forget, do not sigh. 
For, after all, they'll select you 
In times by and by. 
If their taunts cut and hurt you, 
They are sure to regret 
And if in time, they desert you 
Be sure to forgive and forget.  (Gwendolyn Brooks, 1928)
Her parents recognize her talent and give her time to develop her talent; her poems are published in The Chicago Defender

Gwendolyn writes, revises, studies, and wins prizes for her poetry. She marries Henry, has a son they name Junior, and writes.

SING a song for Gwendolyn Brooks 
She whittles her sonnets with perfect grace. 
Like Edna St. Vincent Millay and Robert Frost.
Gwen paints poems with paintbrush words 
And Gwen takes home a Pulitzer Prize.



This book would be an excellent curriculum resource. Educators, feel free to use this lesson plan.

You'll find some of Gwendolyn's poems here

I'm giving away a copy of A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS (a part of Sterling Children's Books "People who Shaped Our World" series) in conjunction with the March issue of Talking Story on WOW Women in History. Leave one comment here and I'll enter your name once. Leave a comment through Talking Story and you'll earn a second chance to win. Giveaway ends April 1. Please leave your email address if you are new to my blog. 


Sandra Warren said...

Sounds like a wonderful book! Thanks for the great review.

Danielle H. said...

Thank you so much for letting your readers know about resources like this. Since I have been a very lucky follower of yours, please don't count this as my entry--you can make someone else feel blessed too.

Carol Baldwin said...

Thanks Sandra and Danielle. Appreciate your comments and support!

Linda Phillips said...

Looks like a lovely book, and a perfect fit for Poetry month!

Carol Baldwin said...

Thaknks, Linda. You would enjoy this book.

Keturah Lamb said...

Oh, this book sounds so good! Definitely, want to be entered :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Sounds like an important book to tell us about a poet we don't hear about enough.

Linda A. said...

What a great poetry book. I volunteer as a tutor for Myrtle Beach Elementary School. It is a Title 1 school and I think the library would be blessed by a copy of this book. I would appreciate being part of the drawing. Thanks!

Gretchen said...

I remember studying her in my Kid-Lit class and then reading her poems with my fourth graders.

Carol Baldwin said...

Looks like this giveaway is a popular one! Gretchen, LInda, Theresa, and Keturah--you're all in!

Rosi said...

This looks like a terrific book and a wonderful homage to Ms. Brooks poetry. Thanks for telling me about it and for a chance to win a copy.

Carol Baldwin said...

You're in, Rosi. Another book for your granddaughter's school!

Cat Michaels said...

Guess I live under a rock, Carol, as this is the first time I’ve read the poet’s work. What a beautiful combo of storytelling with poetry and illustrations!

Carol Baldwin said...

Me too, Cat. I'd never heard of her either. Your name is in the hat!

Ashley B Greene said...

Wow! I have not heard of Gwendolyn Brooks. I am going to do some more research! Thanks for showcasing!

Carol Baldwin said...

Great, Ashley. Hope you enjoy the book. And I'll add your name to this giveaway!

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