Monday, February 18, 2008
Nonfiction Monday: Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman: Words for America
by Barbara Kerley
illustrated by Brian Selznick
Scholastic Press, 2004
This picture book biography take the best of two things: Kerley's poetic prose that describes Walt Whitman and Selznick's illustrations that illuminate the time period and people.
Walt Whitman wasn't just a famous poet we know about today, but a kind, giving man who loved words and people. He worked for a newspaper and even began his own paper. He loved American, but was heartbroken when the Civil War broke out and tore apart the nation. He spend years with the dying and injured soldiers, trying to give them some last comfort. He cared less about himself and more about the boys who had given so much for their country.
But Walt also loved America, and his poetry reflected that love of his country. This book tells who Walt Whitman was as a person, not just as a poet. But the background that Kerley gives paints a picture of how Whitman's love of country so influenced his poetry.
The back of the book includes an author's note, illustrator's note, information about Walt Whitman and Abraham Lincoln, and reprints several of his Whitman's poems.