Amazing Faces

By Washington Parent

Vibrant watercolors by Chris Soentpiet celebrate the many cultures and ethnicities that comprise the American experience in this extraordinary anthology edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins. Intriguingly organized, the 16 poems explore a variety of emotions and range over the human lifespan, from the Chinese-American infant featured in “Amazing Face” to the Hispanic grandmother of “Abuela.” Jane Medina writes of being bilingual in “Me x 2/Yo x 2,” Nikki Grimes describes recess loneliness in “Miss Stone” and Prince Redcloud offers a glimpse of a young soldier’s homecoming. The poems speak of unique neighborhoods and landscapes, including Janet Wong’s Chinatown where “every other thing is Lucky and every other thing is for tourists” and Pat Mora’s desert where las estrellas “wink, wink.” Sure to prompt reflection and writing about one’s own family and experiences.