Friday, May 4, 2012

Sing it: We Are America

We Are America by Walter Dean MyersThe last Cybils Poetry finalist did not really work for me. Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers put together a beautiful book, We Are America: A Tribute From the Heart, that combined Walt Whitman-like verses with painterly art depicting scenes from American history, concentrating on the common people who built this country.

Cybils2011-Web-ButtonBGUnfortunately, and this says a lot more about me than about the book, I couldn't really connect. I always felt like I was reading in a cathedral or a museum, with constant reminders to be quiet and reverent. Strong immigrants stood proudly next to victims of prejudice or oppression, and the need to be educated interfered with my ability to appreciate the words or the art. I also couldn't keep my fifth grader interested; I believe he also sensed an attempt to force learning on him and he squirmed away with more than his usual distaste for poetry. So it's undoubtedly a beautiful book, but shallow me could not appreciate it.

I'll go back to Lear nonsense or something.

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