Poet with a Chocolate Mustache, J.Patrick Lewis

I introduce to you an author who writes with a diversity of voices – present in both his prose and poetry – about a diversity of topics: J. Patrick Lewis.

  1. J.Patrick Lewis was a Ph.D. economist who retired from teaching to write poetry – his passion – and was soon honored as our country’s Children’s Poet Laureate. He has produced an incredible variety of poetry collections from silly and funny to serious and sad. This year he created something very different – a Holocaust allegory. With co-author, Yevgenia Nayber, THE WREN AND THE SPARROW, is first captivating and then haunting. An Old Man, known as the Wren, uses his simple musical instrument, a hurly-gurdy, and with the help of Sparrow, they bring hope and courage to a Polish village. This is a book to read on a quiet summer afternoon with a child snuggled next to you and then share a conversation about the use of allegory, the telling of the truth in metaphors and in disguise to express what is forbidden to say.18615825

For summer reading I recommend beginning with FACE BUG for kids who like fun and creepy insects. Move into more serious and “layered” poetry with VOICES FROM THE MARCH, 1963, written with George Ella Lyon or try HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS that a part of U.S. history that will cause you to pause.

indexSummer is also a great time to explore biographies. For something very unusual plus a visual delight, take a look at BIRD and DIZ.

This “accordion picture book” by Gary Golio, BIRD and DIZ, with illustrations by beloved artist Ed Young, be-bop across the pages. You don’t have to read one word, just “listen” to the paintings that sing across the pages as sax player Charlie “Bird” Parker and trumpeter John “Dizzy” Gillespie jive and bop. Love that music and “all that jazz?”

Read other picture book biographies of modern music-makers by Golio, whatever your age. Each book is unique. Each one gets your foot tapping and your heart singing:   JIMI: Sounds Like a Rainbow (Jimi Hendrix); When Bob Met Woody- The Story of the Young Bob Dylan;   Spirit Seeker: John Coltrane’s Musical Journey, and soon two brand new additions: Strange Fruit: Billie Holiday and the Power of a Protest Song; also, Carlos Santana, Sound of the Heart, Song of the World.

But start with J.Patrick LewisPhoto—J. Patrick Lewis with Chocolate Mustache! “If You Were a Chocolate Mustache.”


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