William Carlos Williams, poet
b. September 17, 1883
d. March 4, 1963
A RIVER OF WORDS: THE STORY OF WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS (Eerdmans, 2008)
by Jen Bryant
illustrated by Melissa Sweet
When he wrote poems, he felt as free as the Passaic River as it rushed
to the falls. Willie’s notebooks filled up, one after another. Willie’s
words gave him freedom and peace, but he also knew he needed to earn a
living. So he went off to medical school and became a doctor — one of
the busiest men in town! Yet he never stopped writing poetry. In this
picture book biography of William Carlos Williams, Jen Bryant’s engaging
prose and Melissa Sweet’s stunning mixed-media illustrations celebrate
the amazing man who found a way to earn a living and to honor his
calling to be a poet.
Katharine Lee Bates, author of words to America the Beautiful
Aug. 12, 1859-Mar. 28, 1929
Purple Mountain Majesties: The Story of Katharine Lee Bates and “America the Beautiful” by Barbara Younger, illustrated by Stacey Schuett (Turtleback Books, 2002)
Where do ideas come from? In this case, from majestic scenery. Inspired by view from Pikes Peak, Katharine Lee Bates began to write a poem that would become a national treasure.
View images from Pikes Peak Web Cam operated by the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado, for a sense of Bates’ wonder.
Woody Guthrie, musician
July 14, 1912-October 3, 1967
Woody Guthrie: Poet of the People by Bonnie Christensen (Knopf, 2001)
This is a celebration of folk singer Guthrie’s life—through the good times and the bad.
The Official Woody Guthrie Website contains lyrics, photos, a biography and more.
Pablo Neruda, poet, diplomat, politician
July 12, 1904
September 23, 1973
PABLO NERUDA: POET OF THE PEOPLE
(Henry Holt, 2011)
by Monica Brown
illusrated by Julie Paschris
was a little boy named Neftalí who loved wild things wildly and quiet
things quietly. From the moment he could talk, he surrounded himself
with words. Neftalí discovered the magic between the pages of books.
When he was sixteen, he began publishing his poems as Pablo Neruda.
Pablo wrote poems about the
things he loved—things made by his friends in the café, things found at
the marketplace, and things he saw in nature. He wrote about the people
of Chile and their stories of struggle. Because above all things and
above all words, Pablo Neruda loved people.
Henry David Thoreau, writer, naturalist, poet
b. July 12, 1817
d. May 6, 1862
IF YOU SPENT A DAY WITH THOREAU AT WALDEN POND (Henry Holt, 2012)
by Robert Burleigh
illustrated by Wendell Minor
In 1845 in
Concord, Massachusetts, Henry David Thoreau began a radical experiment:
he built a cabin in the woods and lived there, alone, examining the
world around him. He spent his days walking the shores of Walden Pond,
growing beans, observing plants and animals, and recording his
reflections in his notebook. These reflections eventually became his
seminal work Walden.
In this lovely picture book,
Robert Burleigh and Wendell Minor imagine a special day spent with the
celebrated writer and naturalist through the eyes of a child.
Together Thoreau and the young boy watch small but significant wonders
such as swimming fish, fighting ants, and clouds in the sky. It is a day
full of splendor and appreciation of the outdoor world.