Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Non-Fiction Poetry

  Alyson Beecher welcomes bloggers to share their favorite non-fiction picture books every Wednesday on her blog, KidLit Frenzy. I hope you enjoy all the posts, and learn about the beautiful non-fiction available today.

     America at War, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Stephen Alcorn

               The world again is in more turmoil and I remembered this book, as Lee Bennett Hopkins says not “about” war, but about the poetry of war. The book is divided into eight sections, from the American Revolution to the Iraq war. And now it’s just been told on the news that we are again sending soldiers to that country. The book is a beautiful compilation of more than fifty poems, with illustrations in a folk art style, mostly symbolic. Here are some lines I loved.
     ~ of a boy sent to fight for freedom in our Revolution: “Until the boy went, rubbing dreams from his eyes”  Stanley Young
      ~a letter from a boy in the Civil War: “This war thins mothers’ sons to skeletons./But hold on Pa, read them survivors’ names./I aim to be amon ‘em.”  J. Patrick Lewis
      ~from World War I, a well-known poem, still heart-breaking: “In Flanders Field the poppies blow/Between the crosses row on row”  John McCrae
       ~from the women in World War II who knit for their loved ones: “Silent prayers/In woolen stitches.” Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

       Others respond to the Korean War, the Persian Gulf War, and the Iraq war—so many in our young country’s history.

       For students already touched in some ways by their families or friends, or for those who hear the news today and wonder, I imagine that this book can be used by those teaching that poetry can show the facts of war in different ways from textbooks, show the emotions of war, although based in truth.


  1. This is one I think I need to read, Linda. Thank you for sharing. Sounds like an important collection.

  2. Thank you for sharing this book with us Linda. Sounds like a powerful collection of poems.

  3. Sounds like an incredible collection. Also love how this could be used to show students the power and importance of poetry too.

  4. This sounds like a lovely collection, Linda - many perspectives and time frames are represented, it seems. Somehow, I wish this category of poems would someday soon cease to exist...but that seems further away from reality these days, doesn't it?

  5. Hi, Linda. I have a friend, a military doctor named Fred Foote, who is just out with a book of poems about serving on the USS Comfort. That book is for adults -- thanks for sharing this one for children. Poetry is a great way to get kids talking about war's role in history and in current events.

  6. This is such a hard and true book. Thank you for featuring it, Linda. Many of the lines I just have rattling around inside of me...

  7. Hi there Linda! We are now just concluding our reading theme on war, so sad to see that we missed out on this one. :(

    1. The books you shared in that theme were wonderful, though, Myra. Just add this title to your list for another time!

  8. I love nonfiction poetry--Lee and many others do it so beautifully!


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