I Remember

By Booklist

Compiled by the late Hopkins, this stirring poetry collection celebrates the breadth and diversity of the American experience, including contributions from two Young People’s Poet Laureates (Margarita Engle and Naomi Shihab Nye), a Newbery winner (Kwame Alexander), and winners of Coretta Scott King and Pura Belpré Awards (Carole Boston Weatherford and Guadalupe Garcia McCall). Their poems touch on racism, biculturalism, and class, with a running theme of family heritage, fond childhood memories, and connection to identity. Many selections are laced with the pain of never quite fitting in and the danger of feeling like “the other.” In Marilyn Nelson’s “Route 66,” she writes about childhood road trips: “I sit behind Daddy’s beautiful close-shorn head / and his broad, strong uniform-blue shoulders, / loving him, and feeling fear for his life. /What if somebody who hates black people / drives past our car and shoots him in the head?” Short glossary entries cover terms that children may not be familiar with and translations of non-English words, plus quotations from the contributors about their inspirations or thoughts on poetry, as well as short biographies. Done in each artist’s signature style, the illustrations highlight each poem’s message, making entries even more poignant and thought-provoking. A gorgeous must-have for all poetry units and an excellent collection for all libraries.