Wisdom from Lucille Clifton (“Poems come out of wonder, not out of knowing”) inspires the title for this collection from Newbery Medalist Alexander (The Crossover) and collaborators Colderley and Wentworth. Together, they supply poems honoring—and in the style of—20 poets, including Rumi, Langston Hughes, and Gwendolyn Brooks. The results range from simple description (“a trendsetter, and a rule breaker,” writes Colderley about William Carlos Williams) to Alexander’s fresh and startling love song à la E.E. Cummings (“It is such a happy thing to yes the next with you/ to walk on magic love rugs beneath the what”). Caldecott Honor–winner Holmes’s (Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer) textured-paper collages use bold, angular forms and sunlit colors to spotlight poets and their subject matter, such as the dancers in a poem inspired by Ugandan poet Okot p’Bitek, their outstretched fingers echoed in the rays of the sun above. The exercise of celebrating poets in their own voices leads naturally to the idea of the classroom writing prompt—which Colderley, writing haiku in the style of Basho, seems to anticipate: “Pens scratching paper/ Syllables counted with care/ Poets blossoming.” Ages 8–12. (Mar.)
The three authors take turns emulating their idols, who include Emily Dickinson, Billy Collins and Terrance Hayes…Complementing the infectious mood of tribute is the spirited mixed-media artwork by Holmes (‘Voice of Freedom’), a harmonious riot of color, texture and pattern.
—The New York Times Book Review
Newbery medalist Kwame Alexander has come up with a fresh and joyful way to interest children in poetry...Holmes takes collage work to a new level, with gloriously colored art that, the closer you look, tells further stories within stories. Each illustration captures not just the feeling of the poem, but wakes up readers to life’s excitements and small joys. Exemplary words and pictures make this a multicultural masterwork.
—Booklist (starred review)
Caldecott Honor–winner Holmes’s (Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer) textured-paper collages use bold, angular forms and sunlit colors to spotlight poets and their subject matter...The exercise of celebrating poets in their own voices leads naturally to the idea of the classroom writing prompt—which Colderley, writing haiku in the style of Basho, seems to anticipate: “Pens scratching paper/ Syllables counted with care/ Poets blossoming.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
Powerhouse poet Alexander, along with friends Colderley and Wentworth, offers a culturally rich collection of poetic tributes that extends the legacies of poets from around the globe...This book is sure to be an educator's lucky charm for a survey-of-poetry unit and is also a perfect entryway for families to wonder and explore together. Brief notes introduce the three sections, and thumbnail biographies of the poets celebrated are appended. A magnificent exploration of the poetic imagination.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Holmes’ use of collage offers the perfect visual metaphor for the act of transforming borrowed forms and ideas into powerful original art. The source poems are not included, but biographical notes for the referenced poets are, followed by information about their era and location. A nourishing and delicious feast for eyes and ears, this belongs on every bookshelf.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
The celebrated poets here...represent a wide range of cultures and time periods. Holmes’s vibrant, arresting mixed-media collages, both full pages and double-page spreads, complement and extend the themes and rich imagery presented in the poems. Educators and librarians searching for books to introduce children to influential poets as well as model texts for writing poetry will welcome this stellar title.
—The Horn Book (starred review)
Whether it inspires or entertains, Out of Wonder will transport readers of all ages, interests and backgrounds to new worlds.
—Shelf Awareness Maximum Pro
The carefully chosen and arranged selections take readers on a wondrous journey through a number of lyrical forms, from haiku to free verse, accompanied by illustrations by Caldecott honoree Holmes. The bold mixed-media and layered collage–style paintings creatively capture each poem’s essence...This unusual and successful volume is a valuable addition to school and classroom libraries for writing workshops and reading pleasure.
—School Library Journal
Spanning centuries and cultures, Kwame Alexander’s new collection, Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (ages 8 to 12), is a delightful survey of verse forms and narrative voices… Ekua Holmes’ stunning mixed-media illustrations have a poetry all their own, making this homage to an international group of literary legends a book to be treasured.
This lively collection will brighten any room—and any mind—it inhabits.
—New York Journal of Books
This marvelous collection of original poems celebrates the life and work of a marvelous diversity of 20 poets...The oversize volume makes room for Holmes’ gorgeous, large collage illustrations.
Organized around writing, experience and gratitude, these reverential poems...will send well-read fans back to points of inspiration.
—San Francisco Chronicle
Ekua Holmes...creates mixed media art that is as evocative as the poems they complement and that demand we look as deeply into them as we do the poems.
Poetry is given a special purpose in this comprehensive book of poems by three powerful authors who have tag-teamed to celebrate 20 beloved poets...The illustrations are creative, bold, and reminiscent of the era in which the celebrated poets existed.
—School Library Connection
This anthology of praise poems is exactly as advertised — wondrous.
Ostensibly self-conscious in the genre of representational art, [Ekua Holmes] deftly salutes African-American luminaries who preceded her with stunning vibrancy — extending a clear-eyed perspective and a verve that serve to open new imaginative and intellectual vistas. She also weds herself to the idea that art should carry with it crisp social commentary, editorials on the state of black America….
—WBUR's The ARTery
Gr 4–7—Newbery Award winner Alexander has collaborated with Colderley, a poet and elementary school teacher, and Wentworth, the poet laureate of South Carolina, to produce a collection of verse that pays tribute to notable poets. The 20 pieces presented are each crafted specifically in homage to a famous wordsmith, often incorporating key tenets of their style. The spotlighted poets include ancient writers (e.g., Basho and Rumi), 20th-century lyricists such as Robert Frost and Langston Hughes, and contemporary figures such as Naomi Shihab Nye, Billy Collins, Maya Angelou, and more. In his preface, Alexander writes, "A poem is a small but powerful thing." The carefully chosen and arranged selections take readers on a wondrous journey through a number of lyrical forms, from haiku to free verse, accompanied by illustrations by Caldecott honoree Holmes. The bold mixed-media and layered collage—style paintings creatively capture each poem's essence. To continue the celebration, back matter offers biographical sketches of those featured. However, it perhaps would have been optimal to incorporate samples of original works by the honored poets for immediate comparison. VERDICT This unusual and successful volume is a valuable addition to school and classroom libraries for writing workshops and reading pleasure.—Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY
Powerhouse poet Alexander, along with friends Colderley and Wentworth, offers a culturally rich collection of poetic tributes that extends the legacies of poets from around the globe. With mixed-media illustrations by Caldecott honoree Holmes that are just as vibrant as the words and stories that accompany them, the anthology brings readers through a time- and world-traveling adventure of the poetic imagination. Eras, places, and cultures represented include ancient times, 20th-century, contemporary, Japan, Uganda, African-American, Native American, Latino, and white, too. This cross-cultural exploration embraces the timeless power of poetry, as Alexander's preface makes clear, "to reach inside of you, to ignite something in you, and to change you in ways you never imagined." The tributes to such legendary poets as Rumi, Emily Dickinson, and Maya Angelou both serve as homage, transparent in their honest gratitude for their inspiration and wisdom, and emulate their distinctive styles. "Snapshots," Colderley's poem celebrating Nikki Giovanni, reads in part, "poetry is…barbecue…cotton candy…purple skin beets from Daddy's garden… / blues…the Birdland jazz club…Sunday morning gospel…chasing justice…freedom…," capturing Giovanni's subject matter and stylized punctuation use. This book is sure to be an educator's lucky charm for a survey-of-poetry unit and is also a perfect entryway for families to wonder and explore together. Brief notes introduce the three sections, and thumbnail biographies of the poets celebrated are appended. A magnificent exploration of the poetic imagination. (Picture book/poetry. 8-14)