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

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  266 ratings  ·  60 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 4.17  · 
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Start your review of 16 Words: William Carlos Williams & "The Red Wheelbarrow"
Dave 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 o ...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.
I love the way the author showed the elements that the William Carlos Williams connected to create the famous Red Wheelbarrow poem. He was a doctor and had many patients in the community. One , a farmer, lived near him and raised vegetables and chickens. Her style echoes the mood of the poem. Nicely done. Brilliant idea for a book!
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! ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Picture book biographies are the best biographies.
Mandy Robek
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous - a must for writer's notebooks and/or poetry unit ...more
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
Lisa Mcbroom
Mar 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: inspiring-books
Thaddeus Marshall is a gardener with a red wheelbarrow. Dr. William Carlos Williams is a poet who sees inspiration and poetry in everyday life. One day whilst looking out the window, see Mr. Marshall and his red wheelbarrow and thus a poem is born. I loved the metaphor of the physician saving lives and the gardener bringing new life through plants and the soil.
Ashley Adams
Children's biography approach to William Carlos Williams' "The Red Wheelbarrow." Simple, yet part of a larger picture. ...more
Mary Drapcho
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The story of the poet William Carlos William's. How he became the Pulitzer prize winning poet whose profession was a medical doctor without being condescending to our young readers. His day-in and day-out routine and the poems he squeezed in-between the prescriptions. Lastly, his care for Mr. Marshall of Elm St. and his Red Wheelbarrow. A glorious book! Read this and then read Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, and I DARE you not to cry. ...more
Casey Robinson
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such a lovely lyrical book about one of my favorite poets, William Carlos Williams. It draws you in and leaves you right where Williams' pen touches paper. A wonderful way to show kids how one might find poetry in everyday life. ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
16 Words : William Carlos Williams & "The Red Wheelbarrow" by Lisa Rogers and Chuck Groenink, PICTURE BOOK Schwartz & Wade (Penguin Random House), 2019. $18. 9781524720162



William Carlos Williams was a country doctor, and a respected poet. Lisa Rogers imagines what might have inspired his poem "The Red Wheelbarrow." He travels around town, making house calls, caring for sick or injured folks, delivering a baby and occasionally ty
Michele Knott
When I first picked up this book, I assumed it was a picture book biography about the poet, William Carlos Williams. Once I read the book, I discovered it was what the author imagined could have possibly inspired the author to write one of his most famous poems, "The Red Wheelbarrow". I was happy to see that the book was catalogued in the fiction picture book section of the library, not with the biographies.
This is a beautiful picture book about the poet, who I did not know was a doctor who wro
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 c
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 del ...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 value ...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 behin
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.
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. ...more
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.
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.
Jennifer Heine
Apr 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I read this as a poetry month read aloud, but it would be fantastic to kick off a poetry unit as it illustrates how William Carlos Williams translated everyday observations into simple but beautiful poetry.
This picture book tells a story of the inspiration behind William Carlos Williams’s poem “The Red Wheelbarrow”. It could inspire new writers by using students’ lived experiences and noticings as inspiration for their own poetry.
Ms Threlkeld
Lovely biography! It will definitely spark conversation with young readers.
Carol Ekster
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written picture book biography. Perfect illustrations for the story. Can inspire children to see the extraordinary in the ordinary. Lisa Rogers' debut picture book is wonderful! ...more
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. It received two starred ...more

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