A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams

Book review by
Dawn Friedman, Common Sense Media
A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams Book Poster Image
A beautiful introduction to a stellar poet.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this gorgeously illustrated book will appeal to any child interested in words. While the target age for the book is older elementary school, younger kids may be fascinated by the pictures and poetry, too.

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What's the story?

William Carlos Williams is a poet who also had a day job that kids can understand. While he stayed committed to his love of words and poetry, Williams knew he had to make a living, and so he studied medicine to become a small town pediatrician and obstetrician. He continued to write even as house calls and infant arrivals ate into his creative time.

Is it any good?

Beautifully illustrated, the book uses Williams' own poetry throughout to help kids get a sense of the way he constructed his poetry and incorporated his creative life into his day-to-day work. The many details and careful construction of the pictures will keep kids coming back long after they've read the story, and may even inspire them to take their own pen to paper.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about other poets and other poems. They can also look up other poems by William Carlos Williams. Kids can also write their own poems, perhaps modeled on Williams's style and then get out their art supplies to create a collage like the ones featured in the book.

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