Hobo. Soldier. Reporter. Musician. Husband and father. Storyteller. Historian.
Carl Sandburg was all of these things. But he distinguished himself above all as the Poet of the People, a traveler and dreamer who carried poems, stories, and songs in his heart--and shared them with the many people he met in his travels. Seamlessly joining scenes from Sandburg's life, highlights from his poems and prose, and historically detailed illustrations, this thorough and thoughtful portrait turns biography into its own adventure.
A time line and notes about the illustrations supplement the text.
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PENELOPE NIVEN is renowned for her adult biography of Carl Sandburg. She lives in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and is writer-in-residence at Salem College.
CARL SANDBURG (1878-1967) distinguished himself through his writing--as the Poet of the People. His many literary honors include two Pulitzer Prizes, one each for history and poetry.
MARC NADEL has created illustrations for many and diverse books. He lives in Burlington, Vermont.
Gr. 2-5. Niven spent more than 14 years preparing her adult book Carl Sandburg (1991). In this handsome picture-book biography, she draws on her extensive research to present bits of Sandburg's life and work that will have special appeal to children. An opening spread briefly reviews Sandburg's life from his birth on a corn-husk mattress to his earning the title "Poet of the People." Subsequent pages tell Sandburg's story using his various identities, "New American," "Vagabond," "Soldier," "Journalist," "Family Man," "Poet." Each spread comprises Niven's distilled, anecdotal prose, a selection of Sandburg's writing, and detailed pen-and-watercolor images. On a few pages, the illustrations threaten to overwhelm the poetry with literal imagery. But Nadel's fine draftsmanship and beautiful compositions, including portraits of Sandburg, will delight many readers, and the book's creative, accessible format allows children not only to learn about Sandburg's life and accomplishments but also to come away with a strong sense of the man: his mischievous humor, his devotion to his family, and his powerful vision. A time line matching Sandburg's life with historic events reminds young readers why historical context is important: "Just as one person can help change the world, world events can change individual lives." Gillian Engberg
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