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CARVER: A LIFE IN POEMS by Marilyn Nelson

Posted in reviewku: plunder, middle grade, reviewku: poetry (all)

44 POEMS – FROM THE HANDS OF THE MAN AND HIS FRIENDS

Runaway. Free slave.

Memories. Collection. Plants.

Inventions. Passion.

 

Nitty Gritty:

Middle grade / YA (age 11 and up)

First, second, third person shifting POV – variety of real people relating memories, commentaries, reflections

History / biography / poetry

Biography about African-American botanist / inventor George Washington Carver

Set in late 1800s

African american slaves and white slave owners

Themes — Running away from home, self-belief, self-reliance, self-confidence to try new things

Plot line – birth (1864), childhood (raised by white slave owners), later life (MA in agriculture), teacher (part of all black staff – Tuskegee Institute), research (uses for crops, solutions for landless black farmers)

Series of forty-four poems plus prose recaps and archival photographs

Shifting POV from a variety of people associated with Carver

Juxtaposition between lyrical poetry and references / footnotes

Character arc – tragedy, triumph, thoughtfulness, conflict

Passion for education

Perseverance

Unreachable goals attained

Lynching, smallpox, pain, suffering

History, path, passion, poetry

Classroom use – biographies, literature, but most of all, African American history