Amazing Faces

By Martha Van Wyck, Burbank Branch/Portland Public Library

Amazing Faces urges us to both delight in the diversity of the American community and celebrate our common humanity. This is an anthology of sixteen poems whose subjects traverse the life span – the first about a baby, the penultimate about a grandmother. The baby is Asian, the grandmother, Hispanic. The poems in between are concerned with both life experiences we all share (like feeling left out or falling in love) and ones unique to a specific group (like knowing both English and Spanish or living in Chinatown). Langston Hughes’ ‘My People’ is the very last poem, which briefly and expressively avows that not only are the faces beautiful but also the souls. The illustrations are drawn from life and are full of life; the subjects’ stance and faces are quite animated but not exaggeratedly so and their expressions are authentic and engaging.