June 2, 2011

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

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.


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.


  1. 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!!!! :D

  2. What a lovely way to introduce poetry to young readers!

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

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

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


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