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16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "the Red Wheelbarrow"
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16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "the Red Wheelbarrow"

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  179 ratings  ·  42 reviews
This simple nonfiction picture book about the beloved American poet William Carlos Williams is also about how being mindful can result in the creation of a great poem like "The Red Wheelbarrow"--which is only sixteen words long.

"Look out the window. What do you see? If you are Dr. William Carlos Williams, you see a wheelbarrow. A drizzle of rain. Chickens scratching in
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 24th 2019 by Schwartz & Wade Books (first published 2019)
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  179 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Start your review of 16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "the Red Wheelbarrow"
David Schaafsma
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thaddeus Marshall, a street vendor, sold vegetables from a red wheelbarrow on the streets of Rutherford, New Jersey. Dr. William Carlos Williams, a medical doctor and one of the best twentieth century American poets, watched him do this, knew him, and wrote a poem about what he saw using sixteen words.

so much depends

a red wheel

glazed with rain

beside the white

I have read and taught this pretty famous and much-anthologized poem many times, but until I read this picture book
Mary Lee
Dec 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a book about writing poetry -- about the careful noticing a writer needs, about the words that are chosen, and all the words that are left out.
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
This nonfiction picture book explores the inspiration behind Williams’ most famous poem as well as the life of the poet who wrote it. The book begins with Williams on his doctor’s rounds, noticing the red wheelbarrow that belonged to Mr. Thaddeus Marshall, who works harvesting and selling vegetables in Rutherford, New Jersey. Williams uses his spare time at work writing poems and noticing small things around him. He types between office visits and takes notes as he walks through the town. Then ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Williams has been a favorite since I first used it as a mentor text in Chicago Area Writing Project decades ago. I love learning the story behind the writer and the writing.
The illustrations are gorgeous, and the juxtaposition of characters and the calm exploration of observation throughout a lifetime gave me a much greater appreciation for Williams's poems than I had before. (view spoiler) ...more
I'd had this way too long and enjoyed it. Lisa Rogers tells her own imagined story about William Carlos Williams and that well-known red wheelbarrow with the white chickens. It is a story to admire, and she includes much that is true, like the neighbor who's a good friend, Mr. Marshall, does have a red wheelbarrow that he used to cart around to sell vegetables from his garden. And he does have chickens. But the poem is what William Carlos Williams notices and one can bring one's own meaning to ...more
Mandy Robek
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous - a must for writer's notebooks and/or poetry unit
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Picture book biographies are the best biographies.
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lyrical prose tells the story behind "The Red Wheelbarrow" and highlights the poet's career as a doctor, as well as the everyday things he wrote about in his poems. Look out your window and notice the poetry in the ordinary!
Softly-colored digital illustrations complement the inspiration behind William Carlos Williams' famous poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow." I appreciated having this background behind those simple lines. While the book might serve as a wonderful example for how writers--no matter what their day jobs might be--can find the time to write, in this case, squeezing in time between appointments, it also reminds readers that inspiration may spring from anywhere, if we only take the time to look and notice the ...more
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How does a busy doctor also become a poet? How does he see the world?

In this fictional biography of one of my favorite poets, William Carlos Williams, Rogers proposes how Williams created one of his famous poems. In a wonderful Author's Note, Rogers explains thate we can't be sure what Williams thought when he wrote his poem about a real person, Thaddeus Marshall. But she goes on to quote Williams and some of his own reflections on writing and the poem.

Chuck Groenink's beautiful illustrations
Amy Oberts
Dec 26, 2019 rated it liked it
One of my favorite books to share with intermediate elementary students is "Love That Dog" by Sharon Creech. Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow" is one of the poems featured in Creech's naturally, this picture book piqued my interest. I had hoped to better understand the details surrounding the inspiration for Williams' masterpiece; alas, it is still open to interpretation. What this picture book *did* help me better understand, however, was how talented Willimas was as both a physician ...more
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This beautiful debut picture book tells the story behind William Carlos Williams' "The Red Whellbarrow," but it is so much more. It challenges the reader to notice everyday happenings, inspires curiosity, and reminds everyone of the respect and care we should give to each other. One of my favorite lines "He chooses the words for his poetry as carefully as he examines his patients." This is a great read aloud that can be used to inspire young poets in the classroom, or help impart important ...more
Stephanie Ward
Jan 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
16 Words is a thoughtful, thought-provoking nonfiction picture book about the American poet William Carlos Williams. As a doctor, he spent his days checking in on patients and witnessing every day life. In his spare time, he puts his observations down on paper.

This book beautifully shows how the simple act of paying attention to the people around him, resulted in the sixteen word poem, "The Red Wheelbarrow". This fascinating book gives young readers a unique opportunity to learn the story
Tina Hoggatt
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This warm, spare text illuminates the story behind William Carlos Williams' most famous poem, The Red Wheelbarrow. It tells the story of Williams' life as a doctor and poet, and his relationship to Thaddeus Marshall, a neighbor, patient and owner of the red wheelbarrow itself. A primer on one way to write a poem and its inspiration. Fabulous illustrations by Chuck Groenink make this a must-read as a piece of Americana and for aspiring poets, those interested in biography, and for its general ...more
Read  Ribbet
This beautiful book profiles the life of William Carlos Williams as a doctor and poet and readers see the inspiration for his well known poem The Red Wheelbarrow. We learn about Williams, we learn about the poem, we learn about the life of a writer and we learn more about the creative process. This book would be a good addition to classroom collections and used to show young writers how poetry evolves. The book has additional information in end notes and links to additional resources.
Cheriee Weichel
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the author's interpretation of what might have motivated Williams to write his famous poem. Along the way we readers learn a lot about the poet's life as a doctor and author. It's beautifully written and illustrated. I especially appreciate that they highlight Williams' ability to notice and write about ordinary things and ordinary people. His gift, through choosing words so carefully, is to make them seem extraordinary. I love the way the art brings it all together.
Patricia Murphy
Sep 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In a heartfelt tribute to Wm Carlos Williams Lisa Rogers formulates interpretations of how the Red Wheelbarrow came to be. This book could be used as a Fabulous way to launch a poetry unit. Lisa Rogers shows how Wm Carlos Williams took notice of ordinary objects and daily life and sat down and wrote. Good choice to motivate, inspire, & encourage writing.
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
16 Words William Carlos Williams & "The Red Wheelbarrow" were unknown to me until I picked up this book. I love how the author ties Thaddeus Marshall to the author of these famous poems. Really made for a great read and piqued my interest in the poetry by William Carlos Williams.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
A picture book biography about William Carlos Williams, doctor of medicine and poet, and his poem "The Red Wheelbarrow". It was written about his patient/neighbor, Mr. Marshall a gardener with his red wheelbarrow and his white chickens in the rain.
Lin Lin
Poet William Carlos Williams is a doctor, but he is always mindful of things around him and he writes about them in simple poetic words. Should we all be mindful of things in our life and write poetry?
Dec 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pb
Engaging PB bio showing how William Carlos Williams drew inspiration for his simple yet amazing poems from his daily life, and the joy writing poetry brought him. How 16 Words can somehow say so much.
Oct 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can see this being a great inspiration for poetry units in elementary school and beyond. Not childish, but still kid-friendly. Makes you want to read his poems. Recommended for old souls and poetry students ages 8-12.
Edward Sullivan
Great story about the inspiration for one of Williams's best known poems.
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A fascinating look at the possible inspiration for this well-known poem and a look into the life of the poet.
Amanda Walz
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really good picture book biography about William Carlos Williams and a poem he wrote.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I adore the illustrations, very folk-art and comforting.
Anne Lutomia
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Dr. William Carlos Williams is not only a doctor, he is also a poet. This book captures what inspires Dr. Williams poems - everyday people and events.
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written and illustrated; a perfect way to introduce children to the hidden depths of poetry.

(Disclaimer: I am the author's daughter :) )
Lorie Barber
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book.
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Lisa Rogers is an elementary school librarian and a former newspaper reporter and editor. 16 WORDS: WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS AND “THE RED WHEELBARROW,” (Random House/Schwartz & Wade Books) is her first book for children. She grew up in New Jersey, not far from where Thaddeus Marshall, the inspiration for William Carlos Williams' poem "The Red Wheelbarrow," tended his garden.