Review of How to Write a Poem, by Kwame Alexander & Deanna Nikaido, art by Melissa Sweet

How to Write a Poem

by Kwame Alexander & Deanna Nikaido
art by Melissa Sweet

Quill Tree Books, 2023. 32 pages.
Review written June 27, 2023, from a library book.
Starred Review

This picture book is a wonderfully illustrated poem about poetry. It is appropriately fanciful, imaginative, and full of figurative language.

The collage illustrations show kids following the instructions on one level, and imaginative flights of fancy on the other level.

Each line or pair of lines gets a spread. Some of the lines I like best include:

Close your eyes, open the window of your mind, and climb out,
like a seedling reaching for tomorrow.

Next, listen to the grass,
the flowers,
the trees — anything
that’s friends with the sun.

Another wonderful image:

And dive deep into the silent sea of your imagination

to discover a cotton candy cavalcade of sounds —
words raining everywhere.

They tell us to let the words “dance with your joy, speak to your sorrow.”

As the book goes on, the kids who started out sitting in a circle of chairs end up playing in imaginative landscapes.

I have no doubt this book can inspire a new generation of poets. I hope we get it into their hands.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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