A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Friday, February 6, 2015

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson

Title: How I Discovered Poetry
Author: Marilyn Nelson
Pages: 112
Publisher: Dial
ISBN: 9780803733046
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
AR Levels: Book Level - 5.2, Interest Level - 4th to 8th grades, Points: 1.0
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18079805-how-i-discovered-poetry

In a nutshell: Join young Marilyn Nelson's journey from air base to air base as she and her African-American family experience the blessings of home, family, friendship, and art and the struggles of being a family on the move in a country that wasn't always welcoming. This memoir told in verse recently won the Coretta Scott King Author Honor.

I'd recommend it to grades: 4th to 8th

I'd recommend it to: fans of historical fiction, poetry, and biography and teachers and students looking for an excellent Black History Month read

What I liked most about this book: As an African-American woman who grew up in the 1950's on various Air Force bases across the country, Marilyn Nelson has a unique perspective on what it was like to be an African American during that hostile era. This memoir written entirely in verse is told in a child's voice that is equally full of wonder, innocence, wisdom, and fear. Kids, teens, and adults alike will connect with this heartfelt book of poetry. It's a great read for Black History Month.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Early on in the book, Marilyn attends church and mishears a sermon on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, thinking that Lot and his wife have a pet "flea" instead of how they had to "flee." Her imagination then runs away with ideas of giant pet fleas big enough to ride. It sets the tone for a character who's funny and charming and sure to steal your heart as poetry helps her find her voice.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars

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