Walt Whitman: Words for America by Barbara Kerley. il Brian Selznick.
Scholastic Press: NY, 2004.

Kerley and Selznick make such an excellent team! The text and illustrations capture the spirit of Whitman and of the country in a time of great growth and excitement. What it must have been like to experience the bustle of New York City during that time period! (Yes, it bustles now, too-but then it was a time when you could see people at work and building in a more personal way. Now, it is mostly people coming and going). I love the discussion of Walt Whitman's printing and writing experience. The words and pictures are full of excitement about Whitman's profession.

I have long heard of Whitman's desire to be the poetic representative of America. It was very effective to focus the story on Whitman's nursing of the soldiers during the Civil War and his grieving for the soldiers and country-his grieving mirroring that of President Lincoln's.

Another feature I think is excellent is the notes of the author and illustrator about their influences, research, and experiences while creating the work.

The illustrations in the book are some of Selznick's best.

One of the things Whitman writes is "I love the President personally." Despite being far removed from Lincoln's time, I have also felt this way. When I read this statement, I immediately thought of one I feel that way about now, too. I believe Barack Obama will be President, because he is the politician who seems to totally understand what is going on and where our country should be heading. He, like Lincoln did, is attempting to hold honest discussions of how we can move forward. I'm frustrated and irritated by the Clintons' dogged determination to have their way when our country so obviously needs something different. Their methods seem to me to be more of the same political nonsense that our people have been tired of sense the early 90s.

related-Walt Whitman, United States history, medical care during the Civil war, American poets, biography, nurses, Abraham Lincoln, printing and writing

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