A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that How I Discovered Poetry, by Newbery Honor and National Book Award finalist Marilyn Nelson, is a memoir of her childhood growing up in a military family in the 1950s told though 50 free-verse poems. This book was named a 2015 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book. There's discussion of the Cold War, the Red Scare, and the civil rights movement, and two children break the arm of another child because she used the "N" word.
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What's the story?
Marilyn's dad is in the Air Force, and when he's called up for active duty, her family moves from base to base all across the United States and overseas. His career takes them on a varied, sometimes lonely and sometimes treacherous path around the world. Marilyn discovers that words, specifically poetry, serve as a good place to put her feelings when the good-byes become too much. Marilyn takes readers on a walk through history and self-discovery from age 4 to 14, as she lives through the Red Scare, the Cold War, the civil rights movement, and other historical and personal moments.
Is it any good?
Marilyn Nelson's HOW I DISCOVERED POETRY is a beautifully written and vulnerable look at her life growing up in a military family during some of the most challenging times of American history. Nelson takes readers on a journey of self-discovery with such humor and honesty that readers feel the impact of each good-bye and delight in each new discovery as if it were their own.
Readers will love seeing the growth in Nelson's recollections as she advances in age from the funny misunderstandings of a 5-year-old to the aspirations of a young teen. Illustrator Hadley Hooper does a wonderful job of adding just the right touches to accompany Nelson's verse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the sacrifices a military family makes. Would you like to relocate every year leaving behind friends and family?
Do you watch the news and talk about it as a family? Do you discuss significant media events at home?
How I Discovered Poetry shows how Marilyn discovers what she loves to do. If poetry or writing isn't your thing, which activities make you excited and seem like a good outlet for bottled-up feelings?
- Author: Marilyn Nelson
- Illustrator: Hadley Hooper
- Genre: Autobiography
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, History
- Book type: Non-Fiction
- Publisher: Dial Books
- Publication date: January 14, 2014
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 112
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Awards: ALA Best and Notable Books, Coretta Scott King Medal and Honors
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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