I met Jude Mandell – author, poet, teacher, singer (she’s a woman after my own heart, with the many, many hats that she wears) – peeking from behind her book Amazing Faces at the SCBWI booksale. She had to peek because I think she barely cleared five feet tall, but she had the energy of three excited children bound up in that small frame. And I say her book, even though Amazing Faces is a collection of poems edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrated by Chris Soentpiet, and only one poem is Mandell’s – but her fervor for the book was impressive. I recognized the cover because Lee and Low had sent the book to me to review (thank you Lee and Low!).
Jude’s poem is typical of the wonderfully emotional poems that fill this beautiful book.
I’m the one
You heard crying,
In simple but powerful language and life-like illustrations, Amazing Faces captures children’s faces and the emotions they wear on them as they play, pout, laugh, and sleep. The 16 poems come from esteemed children’s writers such as Jane Yolen and amazing poets like Langston Hughes.
The night is beautiful,
So the faces of my people.
In reading Hughes poem, My People, I flashed back to Ashley Bryan leading a sing and response reading at the SCBWI conference. There is power in those words!
Chris Soentpiet’s illustrations leap off the page, whether the tight-fisted karate kicker or the boyish-faced young soldier returning home. My favorite is the Good Fortune Seafood Market, filled with a busyness of fish in baskets and red paper lanterns, and where Janet S. Wong writes about living “around the corner from Heaven’s Supermarket, where all lines are cash only.”
Lee and Low is a small publisher that focuses on “stories that children of color can identify with and that all children can enjoy.” Amazing faces certainly meets that charter and moves hearts as well. I don’t usually review picture books on Ink Spells, but I think art draws all levels of readers into books, and poetry can be particularly demanding on readers, and thus ideally suited for advanced readers. I heartily recommend Amazing Faces to move hearts of all ages.
What picture books have moved your heart?
I wish I could share more of the illustrations in this beautiful book, but you’ll have to just buy it, or win it! I will give away my copy of Amazing Faces at the end of the week – just make a comment any time this week to be entered in the drawing!
Art Appreciation Week will continue all week with interviews and discussions of art. Please check out the Blog Roll of Honor on the side –> to visit some and support some of the artists who will be visiting Ink Spells this week!