Erin's Reviews > A Wreath for Emmett Till

A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson
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's review
Jun 04, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult, africanamerican
Read in July, 2010

I wavered between 3 and 4, but the artwork made me round up. The illustrations fit the work perfectly.

I haven't read much YA poetry, and I thought this was a moving collection. When I read that she was writing in a heroic crown of sonnets, I thought the form would make it feel forced, but it still had a natural feel to it. I liked the way Nelson included an appendix in the back that explained the references she made, which seemed very appropriate for a YA audience. I liked that she included references a YA audience would know (Hamlet, very basic bible references, classic film, etc), but didn't shy away from using lesser known references too.

I will admit that all the 9/11 references felt like they didn't belong, but I can understand that Nelson was trying to evoke a tragedy that contemporary teens would have experienced. I didn't like the artistic choice, but I know why she did it.

"Pierced by the screams of a shortened childhood" was my favorite. The two alternate reality ones were really weak. But the work as a whole told Till's story in a meaningful way, and showed why it is important to remember him.
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07/20/2016 marked as: read

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