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Dictionary for a Better World

Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z

Irene Latham Charles Waters Mehrdokht Amini

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Carolrhoda Books
01 April 2020
How can we make the world a better place?

This inspiring resource for middle-grade readers is organized as a dictionary; each entry presents a word related to creating a better world, such as ally, empathy, or respect. For each word, there is a poem, a quote from an inspiring person, a personal anecdote from the authors, and a try it prompt for an activity.

This second poetic collaboration from Irene Latham and Charles Waters builds upon themes of diversity and inclusiveness from their previous book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. Illustrations from Iranian-British artist Mehrdokht Amini offer readers a rich visual experience.

Latham and Waters's personal stories are plainspoken and relatable . . . and the suggested actions, accessible. . . The approach creates multiple pathways for engagement. Extensive supplementary materials include an index of poetic forms.

--starred, Publishers Weekly
By:   Irene Latham, Charles Waters
Illustrated by:   Mehrdokht Amini
Imprint:   Carolrhoda Books
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 257mm,  Width: 178mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   522g
ISBN:   9781541557758
ISBN 10:   1541557751
Pages:   120
Publication Date:   01 April 2020
Recommended Age:   From 9 to 10 years
Audience:   Children/juvenile ,  English as a second language
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Irene Latham is the author of more than a dozen current and forthcoming works of poetry, fiction, and picture books, including Charlotte Huck Honor Book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship (co-written with Charles Waters). Winner of the 2016 ILA Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, she became obsessed with octopuses after reading The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery. Just like Agnes, she enjoys sending--and receiving--postcards. Visit her at www.irenelatham.com. Charles Waters is a children's poet, actor, and co-author of Charlotte Huck Honor Book Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship. His poems have appeared in various anthologies including One Minute Till Bedtime and The National Geographic Book of Animal Poetry. Charles performs his one-person show as well as conducts poetry performance and writing workshops for elementary and middle school audiences. He lives in New York City. Mehrdokht Amini is an Iranian-born children's book illustrator. She has been nominated for a Kate Greenaway Medal and been invited to participate in the prestigious Bratislava Biennial of Illustrations. She lives in the UK.

Reviews for Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z

'Awash in attempts to help cool our fevered world, we/ Begin simply with words.' Each term in this unconventional dictionary receives a four-part exploration alongside Amini's eclectically illustrated spreads: a poem, an inspirational quote, a first-person anecdote from the authors, and suggested 'Try It!' actions. Latham and Waters rifle the storehouse of poetic forms, using structure to clarify meaning, for example through a senryu, 'Service': 'helping hands fill plates/ with meat-and-potato peaks/ hope is gravy.' Forms range from the aubade to the villanelle, each explained in a brief caption. Latham and Waters's personal stories are plainspoken and relatable (Latham: 'One of the quickest ways to get myself out of a funk is to . . . get busy serving others'), and the suggested actions, accessible: 'Look into service opportunities in your area.' The approach creates multiple pathways for engagement. Extensive supplementary materials include an index of poetic forms. --starred, Publishers Weekly --Journal This collaborative effort from the team behind Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship utilizes poetry to explore identity, diversity, empathy, social justice, community, and change. Each entry seeks to examine, rather than define, a central concept (such as acceptance, equality, or kindness) and consists of a quotation, poem, personal anecdote, and a 'Try it!' prompt to encourage readers to take action. A color-coded table of contents indicates the author of each poem, and the anecdotes shared by each poet contextualize both the poems and the selected terms. The featured quotes come from a variety of sources representing diverse perspectives and identities. Amini's rich illustrations, rendered in acrylic, digital painting, collage, and photography, thoughtfully complement each entry. Each poem includes a note about the form used, adding to the collection's potential as a mentor text for young poets. Back matter includes an authors' note, references for the selected quotations, additional recommended reading, poetry resources, and an index of poetic forms. VERDICT While some poems and entries are more successful than others, this inclusive, thought-provoking anthology offers a number of entry points for exploring concepts and issues related to identity, social justice, and making a difference. Recommended. --School Library Journal --Journal This poetry collection is devoted to life-affirming qualities. Two-page spreads, organized in alphabetical order from acceptance to zest, address positive attributes, aspects of mindfulness and gratitude, acts of kindness and encouragement, and exhortations for inclusion, empathy, and respect. The coauthors take turns providing a personal anecdote for each term, a 'Try It!' scenario (stop and think how another person might feel, problem solve in a different way, investigate a new idea, etc.), and an original poem. These 50 poems take various formats, running from the readily recognizable (acrostic, ode) to the more obscure (villanelle, tricube). Inspirational quotes pop up on every other page, and vivid graphics, featuring torn-paper collage, photographs, and acrylic digital paintings, complement the various fonts that wind across the busy pages. The anticipated audience is children in the upper-elementary grades and middle school. However, any reader who is preparing a presentation or leading a discussion on social behavior, character education, self-actualization, or making a difference will find a trove of accessible and appealing material within these colorful, cheerful pages. --Booklist --Journal


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