Non-fiction Picture Books

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

June 2, 2011

I feel particular love for A River of Words because it was my nomination when we did mock-Caldecotts in my grad school picture book seminar and then, just a month later, it did indeed pick up a Caldecott Honor. You can imagine I feel compelled to mention this fact to anyone I tell about this book.

A River of Words is a picture book biography of poet William Carlos Williams and it brilliantly combines the narrative of his life with his poetry (I am a huge fan of his poetry to begin with and this book is a lovely introduction to it). I can’t imagine a more lovely book for elementary-age children as far as poetry and poets go.

The text isn’t too wordy and the poems themselves are woven into the images. I think William Carlos Williams’ poetry is so accessible to children anyway, so this book can really appeal to its target audience.

I love Melissa Sweet’s illustrations, especially. They are so vibrant and colorful. This one is done in collage and it just gorgeous.

This is one of those picture books I want to own. I love knowing about the life of famous poets and also being introduced to their most famous works and this does both.

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BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

In non-picture book reading news, my review of the thoroughly delightful A Discovery of Witches went up today at the BlogHer bookclub. It’s a really fun way to kick off your summer reading.

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5 Comments

  • Reply Abby June 2, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    Janssen, this was MY pick for our staff mock-Caldecott and nobody else wanted it and I fought for it and it made our mock-Caldecott list! And then it was a Caldecott Honor!!!! 😀

  • Reply smalldog June 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    What a lovely way to introduce poetry to young readers!

  • Reply Amy Sorensen June 2, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I love, love love this book. So much that I bought my own copy!

  • Reply lifeofadoctorswife June 2, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I love love love WCW and I really want to read this book!

  • Reply Peaceful Reader June 3, 2011 at 2:59 am

    I love this poetry/biography book! Melissa Sweet's illustrations surround the words in a beautiful way.

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