Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
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Annotation: In this beautiful, deeply moving poem, Maya Angelou inspires us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas, so that h... more
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #6216230
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition Date: 2008
Pages: 40
Availability: Indefinitely Out of Stock
ISBN: 0-375-94327-7
ISBN 13: 978-0-375-94327-0
Dewey: 811
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Originally read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony and published as a Christmas book for adults, Angelou's stirring poem is presented alongside convivial winter scenes in a picture book intended for young readers, but whose message and splendid artwork will appeal to all ages. Angelou celebrates the spirit of the season time to learn to look beyond complexion and see community th a resonating call for hope, unity, and, above all, peace. Johnson and Fancher's richly textured acrylic, oil, and fabric collage illustrations reflect the sentiments of the poem while also telling their own story, as a family makes their way through a snowy small town to join their multicultural community in a celebration at the town hall. From the strings of Christmas lights on buildings ingeniously constructed from textured fabric to the glorious washes of candlelight on the carolers' faces, the timeless, heartwarming scenes dazzle the eye with their incandescence. An accompanying CD of Angelou's reading the poem completes the package.
Horn Book
Angelou's poem (first read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony) is about the promise of peace brought on by the Christmas season, urging listeners to "look beyond complexion and see community." The luminous oil, acrylic, and fabric illustrations on canvas, depicting a snow-covered town, add concreteness to Angelou's words. A CD of Angelou reading the poem is included.
Kirkus Reviews
Angelou's poem considers peace as a joyous concept that rises up during the Christmas season, drawing in and including those of all faiths, sweeping everyone along with its power. This visual interpretation of the poem follows the residents of a small town as they trek through deep snow to gather at their town hall for a holiday celebration. Although there are lighted Christmas trees throughout the town, this particular celebration is a nondenominational community dinner and candle-lighting, with people of many faiths and backgrounds joining together in peaceful solidarity. Johnson and Fancher's understated, mixed-media illustrations use fabric scraps for plaid and checked coats on the townspeople, with darker fabrics for buildings and thick brushstrokes of white paint over cloth for the snow. Although doubtlessly well-intended, the author's invitation to Buddhists, Confucians, Jains, Jews and Muslims—not to mention "Nonbelievers"—to join in the celebration of "the Birth of Jesus Christ / Into the great religions of the world" is at best tone-deaf and at worst frankly assimilationist. (Picture book/poetry. 6 & up)
School Library Journal
Gr 3 Up This poem was largely inspired by the terrible natural disasters occurring throughout the world when Angelou was invited to read at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony. Thus, the opening lines rumble and roil almost menacingly to illustrate the climate of doubt and anxiety into which the spirit of Christmas arrives. Hope enters as a whisper and grows until it is louder than the explosion of bombs. The harsher aspects of the world fade as people of all faiths and races join together in trust and brotherhood. Johnson and Fanchers paintings, rendered in oil, acrylic, and fabric on canvas, elegantly depict a calm, snow-blanketed village where children play, families shop, and artisans ply their crafts. People gather at the Town Hall for sweets and cocoa, and then, in a candlelight procession, join again to sing beneath the stars. This is a comforting book that gets to the heart of what Christmas should mean. As an added treat, Angelou reads the poem on the accompanying CD. Linda Israelson, Los Angeles Public Library
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist
Horn Book (4/1/09)
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Word Count: 474
Reading Level: 3.2
Interest Level: 3-6
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.2 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 125577 / grade: Lower Grades
Lexile: 630L
Guided Reading Level: S
Fountas & Pinnell: S

In this beautiful, deeply moving poem, Maya Angelou inspires us to embrace the peace and promise of Christmas, so that hope and love can once again light up our holidays and the world. "Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, look heavenward," she writes, "and speak the word aloud. Peace." Read by the poet at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree at the White House on December 1, 2005, Maya Angelou's celebration of the "Glad Season" is a radiant affirmation of the goodness of life and a beautiful holiday gift for people of all faiths. From the Hardcover edition.

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