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Carver: A Life in Poems

by Marilyn Nelson

Published by Front Street, 2001
103 pages
ISBN: 1-886910-53-7

Ages 12 and older

No doubt for many young adults today, George Washington Carver's name brings to mind only a spare remembrance from a history book or a photograph on a Black History Month poster. Some may be fortunate to have deeper knowledge of this greatly gifted man best known for his agricultural work as a botanist. Carver was also a painter, a musician, and a teacher and researcher at Tuskegee Institute during Booker T. Washington's tenure as its founder and leader. He was committed to improving the lives of others, especially poor Black farmers in the south. In an exquisite book of finely crafted poems, Marilyn Nelson creates an extraordinary biography from more than dates, events, relationships and accomplishments in the life of George Washington Carver. She conjures a living, breathing, feeling, powerful presence as she writes of a life that was centered and made whole by deep religious faith, a passion for nature, a hunger for learning, and a heart of unmatched kindness from the time he was a small boy. In poems that offer the gift of language on every page, she gives voice to Carver and others in his life, even the world of nature in which he found so much fascination and pleasure. The result leaves readers feeling they know him from the inside out. This work of tremendous creativity and imagination is grounded in the essentials of fact but soars into the realm of understanding that only knowledge of heart and soul can convey. Honor Book, CCBC Coretta Scott King Author Award Discussion CCBC categories: Poetry; The Arts; Biography and Autobiography; Historical People, Places, and Events.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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