A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans, 2008. 34 pages.
Reading Level: Picture Books, ages 4-8, 8-12
Maturity Level: 2, 3, 4
Although poetry anchored William Carlos Williams, he was much more than a poet; Bryant and Sweet work seamlessly together to tell his story from his early days in school to his decision to practice medicine. Poetry provided rest for Williams, but he knew he needed to earn a living and enjoyed taking care of people. Thus, he sacrificially relegated poetry to his evening hours and worked long days as a doctor in a small town. Sweet’s mixed-media illustrations include many of Williams’s poems even as they show a gentle man growing older. This book is a well-written, well-illustrated introduction to the famous poet and his contribution to American poetry. In many ways, this picture book actually illuminates his poetry and makes it more accessible to students laboring to “get” the chickens and the red wheelbarrow.
Overall Value: 4.5 out of 5
- Worldview/Moral Value: 4
- Literary Value: 5