Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z
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About the Author
Irene Latham is the author of many books for children, including novels, poetry, and picture books. Winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, she writes poetry inspired by nature, art, and the experience of being human. Together with Charles Waters, she's written Dictionary for a Better World and Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship, which was named a Charlotte Huck Honor book and a Kirkus Best Book of 2018. Irene lives on a lake in Alabama where she does her best to "live her poem" every single day by laughing, playing the cello, and birdwatching.
"'Awash in attempts to help cool our fevered world, we/ Begin simply with words.' Each term in this unconventional dictionary receives a four-part exploration alongside Amini's eclectically illustrated spreads: a poem, an inspirational quote, a first-person anecdote from the authors, and suggested 'Try It!' actions. Latham and Waters rifle the storehouse of poetic forms, using structure to clarify meaning, for example through a senryu, 'Service': 'helping hands fill plates/ with meat-and-potato peaks/ hope is gravy.' Forms range from the aubade to the villanelle, each explained in a brief caption. Latham and Waters's personal stories are plainspoken and relatable (Latham: 'One of the quickest ways to get myself out of a funk is to . . . get busy serving others'), and the suggested actions, accessible: 'Look into service opportunities in your area.' The approach creates multiple pathways for engagement. Extensive supplementary materials include an index of poetic forms."--starred, Publishers Weekly-- (12/2/2019 12:00:00 AM)
"This poetry collection is devoted to life-affirming qualities. Two-page spreads, organized in alphabetical order from acceptance to zest, address positive attributes, aspects of mindfulness and gratitude, acts of kindness and encouragement, and exhortations for inclusion, empathy, and respect. The coauthors take turns providing a personal anecdote for each term, a 'Try It!' scenario (stop and think how another person might feel, problem solve in a different way, investigate a new idea, etc.), and an original poem. These 50 poems take various formats, running from the readily recognizable (acrostic, ode) to the more obscure (villanelle, tricube). Inspirational quotes pop up on every other page, and vivid graphics, featuring torn-paper collage, photographs, and acrylic digital paintings, complement the various fonts that wind across the busy pages. The anticipated audience is children in the upper-elementary grades and middle school. However, any reader who is preparing a presentation or leading a discussion on social behavior, character education, self-actualization, or making a difference will find a trove of accessible and appealing material within these colorful, cheerful pages."--Booklist-- (3/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)
"This collaborative effort from the team behind Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship utilizes poetry to explore identity, diversity, empathy, social justice, community, and change. Each entry seeks to examine, rather than define, a central concept (such as acceptance, equality, or kindness) and consists of a quotation, poem, personal anecdote, and a 'Try it!' prompt to encourage readers to take action. A color-coded table of contents indicates the author of each poem, and the anecdotes shared by each poet contextualize both the poems and the selected terms. The featured quotes come from a variety of sources representing diverse perspectives and identities. Amini's rich illustrations, rendered in acrylic, digital painting, collage, and photography, thoughtfully complement each entry. Each poem includes a note about the form used, adding to the collection's potential as a mentor text for young poets. Back matter includes an authors' note, references for the selected quotations, additional recommended reading, poetry resources, and an index of poetic forms. VERDICT While some poems and entries are more successful than others, this inclusive, thought-provoking anthology offers a number of entry points for exploring concepts and issues related to identity, social justice, and making a difference. Recommended."--School Library Journal-- (2/1/2020 12:00:00 AM)