Monday, July 27, 2009

Normal Day

Normal day,
let me be aware of the treasure you are.
Let me learn from you,
love you,
bless you before you depart.
Let me not pass you by
in quest of some rare and perfect tomorrow.
Let me hold you while I may, for it may not always be so.

by Mary Jean Iron

Monday, July 20, 2009

A Salute to Phillis Wheatley

Phillis’s Big Test by Catherine Clinton, illustrated by Sean Qualls. Houghton Mifflin, $16.00, Ages 6-9

Set during the infancy of the United States, Phillis Wheatley’s biography is another example of a woman who learned early the power of words to change her life as a slave from Africa. Her poetry was the first published by an African American.
But before her book was sold, she was required to prove she had actually written the poems by submitting to an examination by eighteen educated and powerful men from Massachusetts. This Boston slave girl’s experiences were shaped by the kindness of her owners, and the education they provided, as well as Phillis’s own eagerness to learn. Later, freed by these same owners, she wrote patriotic poems, and at his invitation, visited George Washington.
Author and historian Catherine Clinton once again demonstrates the importance of a well-told story to capture the interest of young readers. Her literary skill echoes that of her subject, and is accompanied by mixed media illustrations from artist Sean Qualls, featuring the blues and reds of the colonial era. An Epilogue concludes the book.