One Last Word: wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance (2017) by Nikki Grimes.
One Last Word was my first 2017 read, and boy, does it set the bar high for the rest of the year! There are so many incredible things going on with this book.
1. The Original Poems - the book includes, as the book flap puts it, the "evocative verse of legendary writers from the era" of the Harlem Renaissance. Back matter includes brief biographies of each of the poets as well.
2. The New Poems - I had never heard of the "Golden Shovel" poetic form before, but it's a doozy. You take a line (or more) from a published poem and those individual words become the last word in each line of your own, original poem. It's a tantalizing jigsaw of a poetry form, and it's incredible the depths and innovations Nikki Grimes has created with it.
3. The Artwork - each set of historic poem and new "Golden Shovel" poem is accompanied by an illustration from different illustrators, the list of which reads like a Who's Who of diverse kidlit illustrators: Christopher Myers, Sean Qualls (a Logonauts featured illustrator), James E. Ransome, and more.
I got this book from the library on Wednesday, finished it cover-to-cover that night, and designed my next Poetry Friday lesson around it for my students the next day. (I plan to update this post later in the day with details about how it went over with my students ... stay tuned!)
One student poem (more to follow):
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud by William Wadsworth
Called, he wandered
Alone in the dripping rain, lonely
He ran away as
Quick as a bear, and a
Wisp gone away, a wisp of a cloud.
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