Award Winner · Biography · History · Julia P · Name in Title · Non-Fiction · Poetry

Carver: A Life in Poems | by Marilyn Nelson

Carver: A Life in Poems

Carver: A Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson
(Front Street, 2001, 112 pages)

The Nelson kick continues…

I loved this George Washington Carver biography told through poems. I feel like he’s a figure people think they know but he’s done so much more than many realize. I had no idea what his backstory was or all the things that he did. His story is inspiring – this quiet, religious, nature-loving intellectual was dedicated to doing what he could to help improve the lives of farmers through his research. He was also committed to the students at Tuskegee University and worked diligently to see them succeed.

This is a beautiful portrayal of his life that will only encourage you to learn more about him. Not to mention it will inspire you to continue reading the fabulous work of Marilyn Nelson 🙂

4/5 stars

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Autobiography · Award Winner · History · Julia P · Memoir · Non-Fiction · Poetry · Race

How I Discovered Poetry | by Marilyn Nelson

How I Discovered Poetry

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson
(Dial Books, 2014, 112 pages)

I grabbed How I Discovered Poetry after reading A Wreath for Emmett Till. I was hoping to get more insight into Nelson as a poet and this book seemed like it would offer that. The book is slim and is comprised of 50 poems. We see Nelson progress to young adulthood as the United States is gradually progressing toward racial “equality.”

Born in the 1950s Nelson was the daughter of a military man and her family moved often so not only did she see a lot of the United States, she was regularly the new girl and often one of very few black faces in her classrooms. This memoir in poetry was well done but I came to it expecting a little more depth and detail about her life. I’d eagerly read a prose memoir if she ever chose to write one. I think it’s clear I think she has a way with words 🙂

3.5/5 stars

Award Winner · Fiction · In the Library · Julia P · Quick Read! · Race · SCC Book Club · Young Adult

The Hate U Give | by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
(Balzer + Bray, 2017, 444 pages)

The Hate U Give was this semester’s first selection for our Between the Covers Book Club and the timing of it was… well, we’ll just say that it was a timely read. You might be familiar with the title because it has gotten a lot of praise and publicity. It’s a young adult novel that follows a young woman named Starr whose best friend was the victim of a police shooting. And she was the only witness.

The reader experiences what Starr is going through as she copes with the loss of her friend and tries to deal with the fact that it’s her word against forces so much larger than herself: the officer involved and the media seeking to spin the narrative. This was a book that forces you to reflect back on the many police shootings we’ve seen covered over the years. I found myself writing in the margins when a detail reminded me of Tamir Rice, Eric Garner, Michael Brown… it was unsettling but powerful.

This book lends itself to good discussions about hard topics a lot of people tend to shy away from. I’m still reflecting on the book and what an amazing job Thomas did with it. A great read, and don’t let the YA label keep you from picking it up.

4/5 stars