Dustin Roberts's Reviews > Walt Whitman: Words for America

Walt Whitman by Barbara Kerley
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's review
Apr 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: biographical

Being a fan of Walt Whitman's poetry, when I stumbled upon this book I naturally couldn't resist reading it. It was difficult to believe that his poetry could be adapted in a manner suited for children's appreciation, but I must say Kerley and Selznick have done a terrific job.
The story follows the life of Whitman with segments of his poetry strategically placed in the timeline. This construction paints a vivid picture of what our country went through during the civil war. We follow Whitman's contribution and ability to touch this vein and find this pulse in American History. The poetry beautifully captures the voice of real Americans, the real people suffering, and in it we can find passion for helpfulness and hope.
For children, some of Whitman's poetry would be near impossible to decipher, but the manner in which the book approaches this problem is what makes it worthy of 5 stars. Each two -page spread is a beautiful artwork by Selznick. Original and captivating, these portraits of Walt are uncanning, accurately bringing him to life. In each of these spreads we see a detailed scene capturing images from the hidden aspects of the war, full of emotion and realism, and then paired with a short segment of Whitman's poetry. Reading the poem and exploring the page will give anyone insight into the messages Whitman was trying to convey.

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