Wednesday, March 18, 2009


One of the first biographies I read was about Harriet Tubman. Her story was my introduction to slavery. I cringed when I read about Harriet's beatings. I was hungry when she hadn't had much to eat. The writer also took me on a journey via the Underground Railroad. I've loved biographies ever since.

Jen Bryant must love them, too. She embraces her high-profile subjects and shows their humanness so that young readers might have a better understanding of their greatness.

In her new book, Abe's Fish, A Boyhood Tale, she tells the story of Abraham Lincoln's early thoughts about freedom. By the end of the story we learn a lot about Lincoln, but the reader never feels like they are being fed facts because the details are woven so finely through a single day in his young life. Now that's good writing.

Illustrator Amy June Bates' use of soft tones and realistic characters compliment Bryant's words. I especially love the picture of Abe walking with a pail as he is led by his giant shadow.

Loyal followers of this blog already know my admiration for both Bryant's writing and Melissa Sweet's illustrations in A River of Words, The Story of William Carlos Williams. This year the book won a Caldecott Honor. In case you missed my posting, you can read it here:

Silent Poetry Reading Day

Jen Bryant has graciously agreed to be this week's An Author at Home. I'll hope you'll join us tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. I'll try and pick these up. Sounds like good reading for both me and my boys.