National Poetry Month Kid Lit Review of “This Is The Dream” by Diane Z. Shore & Jessica Alexander

This powerful book takes us from Jim Crow times to the realization of rights gained through the Civil Rights movement. I knew I had to grab this one up when I saw that the illustrator was James Ransome. His realistic paintings with collage-style borders add drama and immediacy to the simple rhymes comprising the text. Although most of the story is told through the pictures, the poetic words manage to convey an enormous amount in the simple two lines that accompany each 2-page image: “These are the buses – a dime buys a ride/ but the people are sorted by color inside.” “These are the diners who sit and who wait/ at the “WHITES ONLY” counter, ignoring the hate.” “These are the marchers who forge through the street/ as they carry their message through shimmering heat.”

The authors state in an afterword that they are celebrating the power of nonviolent change:

“…there is always room in our world for the kind of bravery that takes nonviolent action to create a better place. May this book be a testament to the courage of those who did and, above all, to peace.”

On the Web, there is a study guide and other materials to go along with the book.

Highly recommended!

Rating: 5/5

Published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2009

Product Details
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Paperback: 40 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0060555211
ISBN-13: 978-0060555214

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7 Responses to National Poetry Month Kid Lit Review of “This Is The Dream” by Diane Z. Shore & Jessica Alexander

  1. FIVE OUT OF FIVE! We don’t get many of those. Hey, I am actually reading my second book of poetry for the month. I feel like I am growing as a person. So I need to see if my library has this one.

  2. sagustocox says:

    I really enjoyed the simple rhymes that you cited in the review, and its clear that the illustrator and poet are aware that images and simple words can best convey to children historical events and how change happened. Thanks for highlighting this important book during National Poetry Month.

  3. This sounds like a fabulous way to present the non-violent message of Dr. King. The cover is gorgeous so I bet the rest of the book is as well.

  4. My son would like this one because it mixes poetry with great illustrations, and I love the message.

  5. I am not a big poetry fan but this one looks like it could be good. Thanks for letting me know about it. That picture of the water faucets…. just makes me sad.

  6. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    Sounds wonderful and what I could see the artwork is gorgeous!!!!

  7. bookingmama says:

    Sounds terrific and I love the message. I swore I’d feature some poety for KK this month and have I? No! I’ve even read a few….

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