Carver, a Life in Poems: A Life in Poems
Carver, a Life in Poems: A Life in Poems
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Annotation: Presents a collection of poems which are inspired by and related to the life of George Washington Carver, the famous African-American inventor and scientist.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #3817766
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Copyright Date: 2001
Edition Date: 2001
Pages: 103 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-88691-053-7
ISBN 13: 978-1-88691-053-9
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 00063624
Dimensions: 24 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
One of the very few black Americans accorded great respect before the 1960s was botanist and educator George Washington Carver (1864?-1943). In a fine biography in poems, Nelson beautifully and movingly revives his reputation, made to seem paltry compared with that of such resuscitated firebrands as Garvey, Robeson, and DuBois. She traces Carver from his recovery after being kidnapped in infancy to his death while the famous Tuskegee airmen fill the campus on which he had worked since 1896 with the droning of aircraft. The life in between is characterized by hard work, intellectual curiosity, personal humility, devotion to the betterment of black Americans, enormous self-possession, and practical Christian piety. Nelson stints none of those characteristics in depicting Carver as good but not self-righteous, dedicated but not monomaniacal, invaluable but not self-important. She also renders Carver's context nontendentiously, in some poems conjuring racism at its worst and in others showing that particular whites helped Carver throughout his life. Historic photos illustrate Nelson's work with modest beauty.
Horn Book
A series of fifty-nine poems portrays George Washington Carver as a private, scholarly man of great personal faith and social purpose. Nelson fills in the trajectory of Carver's life with details of the cultural and political contexts that shaped him even as he shaped history. As individual works, each poem stands as a finely wrought whole of such high caliber than one can hardly name a favorite, never mind the best.
School Library Journal
Gr 6 Up-By offering glimpses into George Washington Carver's life story through a series of lyrical poems, the structure of Nelson's book is as inspired as its occasional use of black-and-white photographs as illustrations. The poems are simple, sincere, and sometimes so beautiful they seem not works of artifice, but honest statements of pure, natural truths ("The Prayer of Miss Budd" and "Lovingly Sons," in particular). Ironically, the book's greatest strength, its writing, is also occasionally its weakness. In a few of the poems the language and the structure seem haphazard and these selections come across as underwritten ("Odalisque," "1905") or as little better than notes for selections yet to come ("Driving Dr. Carver," "Letter to Mrs. Hardwick"). Still, students will find much to glean from this volume and many of the poems will be perfect for reading aloud and make good monologues. A final grace note: the book will undoubtedly encourage some young people to learn more about this remarkable man.-Herman Sutter, Saint Agnes Academy, Houston, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Word Count: 9,377
Reading Level: 5.9
Interest Level: 7-12
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.9 / points: 1.0 / quiz: 59113 / grade: Upper Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:7.1 / points:5.0 / quiz:Q25979
Lexile: 890L
Guided Reading Level: O

George Washington Carver was born a slave in Missouri about 1864 and was raised by the childless white couple who had owned his mother. In 1877 he left home in search of an education, eventually earning a master's degree. In 1896, Booker T. Washington invited Carver to start the agricultural department at the all-black-staffed Tuskegee Institute, where he spent the rest of his life seeking solutions to the poverty among landless black farmers by developing new uses for soil-replenishing crops such as peanuts, cowpeas, and sweet potatoes. Carver's achievements as a botanist and inventor were balanced by his gifts as a painter, musician, and teacher. This Newbery Honor Book and Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book by Marilyn Nelson provides a compelling and revealing portrait of Carver's complex, richly interior, profoundly devout life.

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