Saturday, May 20, 2017

Poetry Friday - Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics

Head over to Keisha's blog, 
Whispers from the Ridgefor this week's
round-up of poetic goodness.  
Thanks, Keisha, for hosting this week!

I've missed posting the last couple of weeks as I'm adjusting to my new schedule that includes watching grandson Jack for three days a week. The book that I'm sharing today is one that I read to Jack this past week.  It's one that's had many posts written about it already, but it deserves my love since I totally fell in love with this book.  
I loved all the poems and especially that I met Hispanics that were new to me through the poems of Margarita Engle.  I have four favorite poems.  And each of them is about literacy in some form.  

The poem "The Magic of Words" about the Cuban poet, Jose Marti  includes these lines: 
"I say that each day is a poem.
Some hours are green and peaceful.
Others are red, like festivals or storms."

Pure Belpre was a familiar name (because of the award named after her).  She was a children's librarian in the New York Public Library system.  The poem, "Two Languages at the Library", has this conclusion which warms every educator's heart:
"Nothing makes me feel more satisfied
than a smile on the face of a child who holds
an open book."

Julie De Burgos, a poet from Puerto Rico, had a difficult family life (six of her twelve brothers and sisters died of hunger).  Yet "River of Dreams" pays homage to her mother with these words:
" . . . but my gentle mother
took me for long walks
beside a river 
of beautiful dreams."  

"Courageous Poetry" tells the story of Tomas Rivera, noted Mexican poet, novelist, and educator whose family were farmworkers in Texas:
"... I find poetry in tomato fields,
and stories in the faces
of weary workers." 
When I read the dedication page, I discovered a connection between the author and Tomas Rivera:  "In memory of Dr. Tomas Rivera, my creative writing professor."

I can't talk about this book without singing the praises of illustrator Rafael Lopez.  When I opened the book, I was captivated by the young girl reading on the first page.  And as I closed the book, there's a young boy reading.  Take a peek behind the dust jacket and those two illustrations are on the front and back covers of the book.  The striking illustrations of each amazing Hispanic brings these individuals to life. When I read the information about Lopez on the back flap, I discovered that he did the artwork for the 2012 National Book Festival's poster.  I attended that festival, lugged my poster from DC to Washington state on the plane, laminated it for my classroom, and now it proudly hangs in my home.  I love the whimsical animals that grace the poster.  

If you haven't explored this book yet, you're in for a special treat!


  1. Thanks for the review! I need to get my hands on this book.

  2. It's on my list, but still have not read this. You've written an enticing review, Ramona! Hope all has been lots of fun staying with Jack. You are now a busy grandmother!

  3. What a jewel! Looks like one to celebrate and treasure.

  4. I've been reading a few poems each day to my students!