professornana (professornana) wrote,

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a note or two about picture books

While YA is my life, I also teach children's literature at SHSU. That means trying to keep up with the picture book end of the spectrum as well. I have run across a few gems recently that I think will also work well with YA readers. (As a matter of fact, I talk about dozens of children's books in my YA seminars and inservices). Two of the picture books are by fellow Texans so, of course, they are terrific. Kathi Appelt's newest offering for younger readers is a biography of Lady Bird Johnson and her dedication to beautifying America particularly through her flowers. It is a loving slice-of-life autobiography. I love when I read a book about someone I think I know well and discover something new I had not known before. This is one of those books. Blues and greens abound in the illustrations, something much needed here in the gloomy days that come before our marvelous spring. Anne Bustard's new book is a biography as well. BUDDY; THE STORY OF BUDDY HOLLY talks about another famous Texan whose too short life changed the face of rock and roll. A WREATH FOR EMMETT TILL by Marilyn Nelson is INCREDIBLE!!! It is an heroic crown of sonnets about the life of Emmett Till (see MISSISSIPPI TRIAL, 1955 and GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER by Chris Crowe for more about this young man whose senseless murder marks the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement). An heroic crown os sonnets is 15 Petrarchan sonnets each succeeding one beginning with the last line of the previous sonnet. The final sonnet is comprised of the first lines of the 14 other sonnets. Wow, talk about setting a difficult task for yourself as a writer. But we all know Marilyn Nelson is up to the task if we have read her CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS, Newbery and Coretta Scott King medal honor book from a few years ago. These three are must reads!
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