A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Along with names familiar to most readers (Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, Bruce Springsteen, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Edison), the poems introduce many authors, activists, artists they'll probably be unfamiliar with -- e.g., poets Galway Kinnell and Mary Oliver, rancher historian Hallie Stillwell, artist Rosa Bonheur, and blues singer Robert Johnson.
Never underestimate the power of poetry.
Positive Role Models
For readers who think poets live solitary and uneventful lives, Nye's poems prove exactly the opposite. She travels widely, delights in quirky encounters, and is passionate about righting the injustice she sees in the world.
Violence & Scariness
Violence is a backdrop in several poems but never described in detail. A poem is entitled "Little Brother Shot Playing with Pistol." A verse asks, "Who predicted people torture, murder, people disappeared?" and another speaks about "a ruined house bombed out of being."
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that National Book Award Finalist Naomi Shihab Nye's Voices in the Air: Poems for Listeners is a collection of 95 free-verse poems. They're populated with writers, artists, musicians, and lots of ordinary people and set in places that range from a Texas airport and the streets of Gaza to a small town in California and a beach in Nansha, China. Nye's poems are thought provoking and sometimes humorous, and often tackle big issues like refugees and racial prejudice, but her easy and accessible style is sure to captivate even the most reluctant readers of poetry.
Is It Any Good?
These poems will inspire readers to slow down, turn off their digital devices, and find a quiet place to lose themselves in an unforgettable collection of free verse. For readers who may be intimidated by the unfamiliar names of artists and writers in Voices in the Air, there's a section of biographical notes with a few lines about each person. An index of first lines makes it easy to locate a favorite poem or be intrigued enough by a line ("Up late watching TV commercials while waiting" or "Fifty years before you did your homework") to try a poem they haven't yet read.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.