Parents looking to introduce their children to poetry might find A River of Words to be useful. Jen Bryant has put together a picture book for children that tells the story of William Carlos Williams. As a child, Willie loved writing. However, as he grew he knew he had to be able to live on his own. Writing all the while, he went to medical school and became a doctor. As his life moved on, Willie continued to write until he became the famous poet we know him as today.
For a slightly older audience (ages 9-12), A River of Words is written in a charming prose style that will keep readers interested the entire way through. Combined with Melissa Sweet’s illustrations done in a mixed-media format, the life of William Carlos Williams is decorated with snippets of old books, lined paper, receipts, newspaper, and more as Willie scribbles down his ideas on just about anything he can. Biographical, A River of Words takes each part of William Carlos William’s life and puts them into small snippets for easy understanding without excess wordage to bog children down.
Few children’s books take on the challenge of non-fiction; even fewer take on biographical material. But Jen Bryant has done so in a way that will keep children reading over and over, gazing at the colorful and mesmerizing illustrations and before you know it, your child may be asking to read some of Willie’s poems. After reading about him, why not find out about some of the work he scribbled down on old paper?