Amazing Places

By School Library Journal

This offering truly "sings America." Master anthologist Hopkins brings together original poetry by many big names, from Nikki Grimes to Joseph Bruchac. Featuring evocative illustrations, this multilayered collection celebrates the United States from start to finish. The poems focus on well-known places, such as Denali National Park and Harlem's 125th Street, and lesser-known ones, including the Oneida Nation Museum near Green Bay, WI, and the Ringling Circus Museum in Sarasota, FL. Each highlighted place, whether natural, cultural, or historical, is refreshingly unique, while the poems vary in form and perspective. In one poem, a girl and her grandfather eat clam chowder and high-five at a Red Sox game; in another, a tree describes how it clings to the edge of the Grand Canyon. These offerings are carefully orchestrated, allowing children to uncover lesser-known gems, and emphasize the strong connections between place and history. The illustrations plunge readers in even deeper. Soentpiet and Hales's nuanced portrayal of Americans ensures that most kids will find reflections of themselves as well as windows into the lives of others. "More About the Amazing Places" rounds out the collection with further information about each location. VERDICT An excellent addition for any library in search of a new poetry collection or an entry point into the study of American history or culture.