A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams

by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

This is just to say . . . Jen Bryant’s artful and astute picture book biography... read more

This is just to say . . . Jen Bryant’s artful and astute picture book biography of poet William Carlos Williams is to be savored, like plums from the icebox. Language rich with description and metaphor underpins an informative, accessible narrative that conveys a great deal about the poet’s life and work. “Instead of counting the beats or making the end-words rhyme, he let each poem find its own special shape on the page.” The Passaic River in his hometown was a source of inspiration for Williams from childhood on, and Bryant uses the river both literally and as an idea throughout a narrative that delicately balances the concrete and the lyrical. Judicious use of repetition with the phrase “And it was true” brings readers and listeners back again and again to some of the essential facts that informed and defined the poet’s work and creative life. Melissa Sweet’s watercolor, mixed media, and collage illustrations combine rich visual images with the poet’s words. Additional poems appear on the endpapers, and a timeline is included at the end of this singular volume. Honor Book, 209 Charlotte Zolotow Award (Ages 7–10)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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