I picked this up to read with my kids for National Poetry Month, and am so glad I did It is beautifully written and illustrateda moving biography of one of the greatest American writers of all time, this book inspires you to celebrate our country and its people exactly as Whitman s poetry and life experiences have for centuries I love that it is kid friendly, yet still something an adult can learn fromand the inclusion of Whitman s poetry throughout is a true gift Bonus the section at the end with author and illustrator notes also includes some of Whitman s extended poems a nice touch My son, who is 8, says this It is inspiring, because right after we finished the book, I jumped up and wrote a poem All the poetry in the book made me feel like I had to make my own poem right after reading it Reading the poems was interesting, and there were so many poems, there was this feeling like I had to follow along and make my own poem I think this book is really just inspiring Yes, it really is Inspired me to want to pick up his poems and re read them. The Pioneering Team That Brought You The Caldecott Honor Winning THE DINOSAURS OF WATERHOUSE HAWKINS Focuses Their Remarkable Skills And Vision On Walt Whitman Poet, American, Civil War HeroDid You Know That Poet Walt Whitman Was Also A Civil War Nurse Devastated By His Country Dividing And Compelled To Service By His Brother S War Injury, Walt Nursed All Soldiers Union Confederate, Black White By Getting To Know Them Through Many Intense And Affecting Experiences, He Began To See A Greater Life Purpose His Writing Could Give These Men A Voice, In Turn, Achieve His Greatest Aspiration To Capture The True Spirit Of America Dramatic, Powerful, Deeply Moving, This Consummate Portrait Of Whitman Will Inspire Readers To Pick Up Their Pens Open Their Hearts To Humanity It took me several weeks to finally read this book I kept wondering, could one write a picture book biography of The Good Gray Poet in a way that could even slightly convey the heart and soul that sings through his own poetry Well, the team of Kerley and Selznick manage to capture a miracle within the pages of their book I was deeply moved by this lovingly crafted biography, as much an ode to Whitman as it is to the men and women of America for whom he wrote his own poems.The story begins, Walt Whitman loved words It describes his early attraction to the written word, especially in his newspaper work, first as an apprentice at age twelve, then starting his own paper, with the help of his younger brother George, at nineteen There is brief mention of how much he enjoyed reading, people watching, and exploring the natural world.The majority of the book deals with Whitman s experiences during the Civil War Aged forty one when the war broke out, Whitman regretted that he was too old to enlist He proudly watched his brother George march off to fight for the Union Whitman began visiting army hospitals, longing for something to do to help the war efforts and the brave men who fought for the cause he held so dear Often, he would help dress wounds, try to entertain the men, even write down their small desires David S Giles Company F 28th New Jersey Volunteers wants an apple and make sure to deliver Perhaps most touching is when he would stay all night beside a hospital bed, so that a young soldier would not have to die alone He even took it upon himself to write letters home to the families of these men, offering condolences and some small comfort that their beloved husband brother son had someone to see them through to the end Whitman s deep pride in the soldiers, his wish to honor them, and his belief that, in them, he found the best expression of American character , prompted him to write his collection entitled Drum Taps about the soldiers experiences On his way to the army hospitals, Whitman often passed President Lincoln in Washington DC and came to have a great deal of respect and even personal affection for him The book shares his desire to honor the president and help the nation deal with its grief with the penning of O, Captain, My Captain My only negative for the book is that I wish it had included of his life, but I think that the focus on the Civil War aspect was a wise choice in terms of creating a cohesive and touching story.This book left me feeling raw My heart was broken over the tragic experiences of the soldiers, and deeply warmed by Whitman s dedication to them Scattered throughout Kerley s own words are excerpts from some of Whitman s poems, with complete versions in the back of the book Selznick s illustrations are marvelous, deeply human and wonderfully artistic and detailed The author s and illustrator s notes at the back of the book are excellent I even learned why we call letters uppercase and lowercase the trays of type for printing newspaper were organized such that the capital letters were placed on the upper shelf, the others on the lower shelf To conclude his note, Selznick writes There is one statement Walt made that haunted me, and it comes from a poem also in Leaves of Grass , called So Long It says, Camerado, this is no book, Who touches this touches a man I hope you will feel the same way about the book you are now holding in your hands Thank you, Mr Selznick and Ms Kerley, I certainly do I love Walt Whitman s poetry and spirit so it pains me to think of people ignoring his work as a whole because of certain poems they may find unsavory Please note that this book is appropriate for children and the excerpts are clean I would still recommend this book for older children, though, as it is haunting and also complex in subject matter and length Please note there is a very tasteful illustration of a teenage Walt running naked along the beach, at one with nature you see just enough of his bottom to know he is not wearing any clothes of course, I found this beautiful and I assume those who will take offense with it will not be reading anything having to do with Walt Whitman in the first place Ah, what they are missing This book is a good read for children who are older in age and have been reading on their own for awhile It s a great introductory story of Walt Whitman and his life If a child is interested in American Literature then this would be an awesome book for them to learn a bit of history from I, myself, learned things about Walt Whitman that I didn t know prior to reading this, so I was pleased by the large amount of information that the author packed into a small book I could see a young child becoming antsy before this book was over due to its length, which is why I recommend it for a child of eight years or older Robert F Siburt Award Walt Whitman Words for America by Barbara Kerley is a biography that would be great to use in grades 3 through 6 I would use this as a read aloud for grade 3 and maybe 4 then as an independent read for grades 5 and 6 This book would be accessible for all students because there are no emotionally hard topics that they would need to explore Also, this book covers a majority of Whitman s life starting at age 12, so students really get to see how his writing and life progressed In a classroom I would have students use this book during social studies time to learn about history, specifically Walt Whitman and the Civil War If students were given a project to research any historical figure this would be a great book to use Students would be able to learn so much about how Whitman first came to love words They would get to read about his involvement in the Civil War and how he helped soldiers along the way Another way to use this book in the classroom would be to analyze the poems that Whitman wrote about the Civil War and America in general Students would have to break down the poems and find the meaning behind the words, so they can understand what Walt is referring to when writing It would be fun for students to translate the poems that Whitman wrote into their own words This was a WOW book for me because I got to learn about a historical figure I have never really heard of I really liked how the book followed Whitman s life I also got to learn about the Civil War through the eyes of someone not actually fighting in the war One of my favorite parts of the books was the illustrations because of the amount of detail put into them and they really played a big part in the story I would definitely recommend this book to anyone wanting to learn about someone new Barbara Kerley did an exceptional job at turning the story of a famous poet s life into that of a hero s Her description of Whitman s life took readers back in time This short biographically styled story gives young readers the opportunity to find meaning in some of Whitman s deepest poems While reading about this time in American history students find out why Whitman wrote the poems he did, his time and important role on the sidelines of the Civil War, and who he was really speaking for through his poetry Adults as well as, students can enjoy learning about one of America s most well respected and renowned poet s humble beginnings, honorable life, his poor health and greatly mourned death This text is a WOW book because I feel that it can get students interested in American history and literature through of a story telling perspective It s shortened description of a man s life gave a real and exciting account about important components in American history that students might never get the chance to study in context with Walt Whitman I remember not knowing who he was until high school and never getting to study any about him than his work and I found it so intriguing that this book gives elementary aged students the opportunity to do so I would use this book in upper elementary grades or early middle school to show examples of American literature and how poets really helped shape the views and culture in America about societal issues of their time This would be a great text to use to integrate social studies and language arts standards There could be a unit on writing and developing poetry about the injustices students see in their society Having students write for an individual that doesn t have the ability to do so for themselves like Whitman did for so many soldiers Then within social studies researching how Whitman s actions and writings affected the soldiers and his community I think there are many possibilities in units across social students, writing, and reading for Kerley s book to be a great source. This is a wonderful picture book for older readers Walt Whitman was a selfless Civil War nurse The illustrations are just beautiful The pages are over sized with an old fashioned design Poetry is incorporated into the pages Walt hoped to be the voice of America one day When the war starts, Kerley makes a large painting of soldiers in their uniforms As the war continues, Kerley shows the relationship between Whitman and his embattled president who he would see on the streets of the capital Whitman is forced to return home because of his health He hears the news about the war being over and a few days later about Lincoln s death Whitman turns to poetry to help himself during this time He wants to turn toward peace and rebuilding This is a wonderful picture book for older readers to become exposed to This story is just wonderful I was hooked from the moment I looked at the first illustration in the story The fourth graders do a unit in my school where they study certain people in history and do a report on it I know that the teachers struggle to find good picture books for older readers I am definitely going to recommend this story to them because it was just captivating Learning about Walt Whitman was just incredible and I loved the poetry that was added to the pages This is a must read This is a classy book, and it s beautifully put together, from the cover with a cut out section and all the way through, the telling of the story and the illustrations work together beautifully.Much of Walt Whitman s poetry is included, including complete poems from Leaves of Grass added in at the end of the book It makes me want to pull out my copy of that book I suspect I d have to add my edition to the Goodreads database as it s so old I haven t read anything from it since my teens This is an excellent biography of Whitman, going from birth to death, focusing especially on the Civil War years, when he was in his 40s, and on his actual poems The author and illustrator both have notes at the end of the book, and they do tell how this book came to be, and give some details about Walt and his times.This is a book for older children, perhaps ages 9 13 It does discuss the horrors of war I felt quite disturbed reading all the details , not so much of slavery, but some of other of life s difficulties, and it also shows how Walt s giving nature persists throughout his life.I can t quite give the book 5 stars some of the illustrations didn t appeal to me, and the book seemed long in parts, parts I wanted longer and dragged a little at times.As a diligent and conscientious Goodreads librarian I checked what must be an error This is a biography and history book so it can t have possibly won the Bristish Fantasy Award 2004 as it indicates in the book s literary awards field I couldn t find it listed anywhere but here so off it went If some other GR librarian discovers I made an error, by all means add that award back. This isn t a very inspiring biography of Walt Whitman Being that it is for children I shouldn t find this too surprising, but after reading some of the other children non fiction books I was expecting a little I m sure Brian Selznick worked hard on the illustrations, but they seemed pretty weak Not that his drawing style in his other books is great, but in the Cabinet of Hugo whatever the title is, and the Harry Houdini book they added something wondrous to the story, here they seemed to cheapen the story Why three stars I don t know It s not a bad book, and since I m not the intended audience of the book, and I m not reading it on my own free will I think I shouldn t be too harsh While no mention of Whitman s sexuality is mentioned, there is an almost Victorian nod to it in the author notes in the back, and one of the pictures does have a homo sensual it s not erotic, does this term work feel to it.
Barbara Kerley was born in Washington, D.C and has lived in many places, including Nepal and the tropical island of Guam She has written about almost everything 19th C iguanodons, Teddy Roosevelt, world peace, Mark Twain s donkey, and the pleasure of following your curiosity.
- 56 pages
- Walt Whitman: Words For America
- Barbara Kerley
- 13 July 2017 Barbara Kerley