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Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

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A picture book biography about Gwendolyn Brooks, the influential poet and the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.


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A picture book biography about Gwendolyn Brooks, the influential poet and the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize.

30 review for Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks

  1. 5 out of 5

    ij

    A picture book biography on poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Gwendolyn grow up in Chicago and was exposed to poetry, early. Books of poetry were in the families bookcases and her father often read poetry to the family at night. Gwendolyn started to write poems herself and soon submitted some into contests. She was surprised when she won. She was shy and not popular in school but she continued to write. Later as an adult and struggling writer she published two books. The poet was the first African-American t A picture book biography on poet Gwendolyn Brooks. Gwendolyn grow up in Chicago and was exposed to poetry, early. Books of poetry were in the families bookcases and her father often read poetry to the family at night. Gwendolyn started to write poems herself and soon submitted some into contests. She was surprised when she won. She was shy and not popular in school but she continued to write. Later as an adult and struggling writer she published two books. The poet was the first African-American to win a Pulitzer Prize. When Gwendolyn first heard of this honor her electricity had been turn off and she almost did not answer the phone expecting a bill collector. The book was written by Suzanne Slade and illustrated by by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Great book for ages 6-9. Black History Month Read

  2. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Exquisite is the perfect name for this book. Exquisite the life. Exquisite the art. Exquisite the writing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Here is another book about the life of Gwendolyn Brooks. You may have read or remember the earlier A Song for Gwendolyn by Alice Faye Duncan and Zia Gordon. There is also a great article about Brooks from BrainPickings. This morning, this book was given a Coretta Scott King Illustrator honor book award! This book is full of poetry, too, some in Suzanne Slade's words that tells the story, some of Gwenolyn's own. It begins at her birth, all the way through early struggles, her marriage, still chal Here is another book about the life of Gwendolyn Brooks. You may have read or remember the earlier A Song for Gwendolyn by Alice Faye Duncan and Zia Gordon. There is also a great article about Brooks from BrainPickings. This morning, this book was given a Coretta Scott King Illustrator honor book award! This book is full of poetry, too, some in Suzanne Slade's words that tells the story, some of Gwenolyn's own. It begins at her birth, all the way through early struggles, her marriage, still challenged by money and keeping the electric bill paid, all the way to her surprising win of the Pulitzer prize and her continuing writing, writing. She showed that love of words all her life, a first poem published at age seven! The illustrations by Cozbi A. Cabrera seem poetic, too, following the text with varied pages, from landscapes of her Southside Chicago neighborhood to skyscapes as Geraldine's "words drifted into the world". There is an author's note, a timeline, and additional sources and acknowledgments. One last thing, Gwendolyn, from youth to adult, is everywhere on the pages, which I loved.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Panda Incognito

    Of all the poets that I read in college literature classes, Gwendolyn Brooks was my favorite, because I loved her slice-of-life focus and intuitive rhythms. This book does justice to her style and legacy, and the illustrations are colorful, detailed, and gorgeous. It also has a powerful message about enduring through hard times and having the determination to succeed regardless of life's obstacles. I really enjoyed this picture book biography, and would recommend it to fans of Brooks and to peop Of all the poets that I read in college literature classes, Gwendolyn Brooks was my favorite, because I loved her slice-of-life focus and intuitive rhythms. This book does justice to her style and legacy, and the illustrations are colorful, detailed, and gorgeous. It also has a powerful message about enduring through hard times and having the determination to succeed regardless of life's obstacles. I really enjoyed this picture book biography, and would recommend it to fans of Brooks and to people who want an introduction to her life and work.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Biography of Gwendolyn Brooks for elementary level readers. Slade takes readers from Gwendolyn's childhood through winning the Pulitzer Prize. The text is easy to follow and captures the challenges and joys in her life. Illustrations are beautiful to look at and help readers see into her life and mind as she follows her passion for writing. Informative text at the end of the book. Biography of Gwendolyn Brooks for elementary level readers. Slade takes readers from Gwendolyn's childhood through winning the Pulitzer Prize. The text is easy to follow and captures the challenges and joys in her life. Illustrations are beautiful to look at and help readers see into her life and mind as she follows her passion for writing. Informative text at the end of the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade This is a fascinating bio of Brooks, from childhood to adult, including her winning a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry book. The bio includes quotes from Gwendolyn and others, and includes only one of her poems, "Clouds" (with permission). The back matter includes an author's note, a timeline, sources for the quotes, and a bibliography. The beautiful acrylic illustrations were rendered by Cozbi A. Cabrera, who also creates original Exquisite: The Poetry and Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade This is a fascinating bio of Brooks, from childhood to adult, including her winning a Pulitzer Prize for her poetry book. The bio includes quotes from Gwendolyn and others, and includes only one of her poems, "Clouds" (with permission). The back matter includes an author's note, a timeline, sources for the quotes, and a bibliography. The beautiful acrylic illustrations were rendered by Cozbi A. Cabrera, who also creates original cloth dolls and clothing; and has been featured on Oprah.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    The first in my stack of 2021 ALA award books. This one received both a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor & a Sibert Honor. The colors in this book are just stunning! Even as an adult, I love picture book biographies as beautiful introductions to important figures from history, literature, etc and they just make me want to learn/read more. I immediately picked up her Children’s poetry book Bronzeville Boys and Girls I have on my shelf & will be reading that next. The first in my stack of 2021 ALA award books. This one received both a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor & a Sibert Honor. The colors in this book are just stunning! Even as an adult, I love picture book biographies as beautiful introductions to important figures from history, literature, etc and they just make me want to learn/read more. I immediately picked up her Children’s poetry book Bronzeville Boys and Girls I have on my shelf & will be reading that next.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mariah Roze

    "A picture book biography about Gwendolyn Brooks, the influential poet and the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize." "A picture book biography about Gwendolyn Brooks, the influential poet and the first African American to win a Pulitzer Prize."

  9. 4 out of 5

    Shaye Miller

    Enjoyed this book as a virtual read aloud with author Suzanne Slade and illustrator, Cozbi A. Cabrera splitting the reading up. I'm excited we'll be getting this book in our library very soon! Enjoyed this book as a virtual read aloud with author Suzanne Slade and illustrator, Cozbi A. Cabrera splitting the reading up. I'm excited we'll be getting this book in our library very soon!

  10. 5 out of 5

    SaraCat

    My main disappointment with this book is that it say "The Poetry... of Gwendolyn Brooks," yet there is only one of her poems printed in the book. So, I think it would be more appropriately titled simply: "Exquisite: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks." I liked the flow of the verse in telling a simple biography of Brooks. It felt an appropriate level of detailed for young readers (or those who still enjoy having an adult/older person read to them). The illustrations really help bring Brooks' story to l My main disappointment with this book is that it say "The Poetry... of Gwendolyn Brooks," yet there is only one of her poems printed in the book. So, I think it would be more appropriately titled simply: "Exquisite: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks." I liked the flow of the verse in telling a simple biography of Brooks. It felt an appropriate level of detailed for young readers (or those who still enjoy having an adult/older person read to them). The illustrations really help bring Brooks' story to life. As an adult reading this book, I am now fascinated to learn more about her and especially I want to try some of her poetry. I'm not someone who has found a lot of connection with poetry in the past, but the one poem included in this book was so beautiful I think maybe it's just I hadn't yet come across a poet whose poems I could feel something from. The two collections mentioned in this book are: A Street in Bronzeville and Annie Allen.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Like Brooks’ poetry, this book finds the beauty in everyday moments. Moreover, it shows that Black lives can be ordinary and filled with love. People on the South Side of Chicago and elsewhere struggle, but there’s also joy and poetry in their lives. “Exquisite” celebrates how art and literature enrich our lives. The richly detailed illustrations bring the poet, her family, and her friends to life. The 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor for illustration is well deserved.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    A lovely story about the life of famous poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black person to win a Pulitzer Prize. I highly recommend looking up some of her children’s poems after reading about her. I loved the illustrations in this book—they were colorful and just gorgeous.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Abby Johnson

    This is a winning picture book biography of an amazing African American poet.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    Gorgeously illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Beautiful biography about a true writer of the world around her, Gwendolyn Brooks.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    Lovely picture book biography.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shauna Yusko

    The illustrations!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie Reilley

    Beautifully illustrated picture book biography that shares the poetry and life of Gwendolyn Brooks. Be sure to take the book jacket off and see the gorgeous case covering.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Doyle

    Gwendolyn Brooks, the first black female to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, always had a way with words. From her early childhood, she was surrounded by the beauty of poems and began writing her own at age 7. By 11, her poems were being published in local newspapers, and her work continued throughout her life. This is a beautiful introduction to a powerful voice that spoke of everyday life in Chicago.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Alana "Loni"

    I love that Gwendolyn Brooks life and poetry are rich enough for multiple awesome picture books to be written about her! Another winner.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    From a very young age, Gwendolyn Brooks loved poetry. At 7 her mother compared her to Paul Laurence Dunbar! She wrote poems about everything. At 11 she was published in the newspaper, but then the Great Depression slowed her momentum. She did well in school, attended college and married, writing poetry was never enough to pay the bills, but she kept writing and submitting her poems. Eventually she published several books and won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. This is a nice picture book biograph From a very young age, Gwendolyn Brooks loved poetry. At 7 her mother compared her to Paul Laurence Dunbar! She wrote poems about everything. At 11 she was published in the newspaper, but then the Great Depression slowed her momentum. She did well in school, attended college and married, writing poetry was never enough to pay the bills, but she kept writing and submitting her poems. Eventually she published several books and won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry. This is a nice picture book biography. Slade's text is also poetic, a great nod to Brooks. I loved that she quotes the poet's own work as well. Cabrera's illustrations are wonderful. Colorful and realistic, there's plenty to get lost in looking at the pictures. Oh, to see those skies. Magnificent. Cross posted to: https://kissthebookjr.blogspot.com/20...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Kahn

    Lovely writing and gorgeous illustrations in this first-purchase picture book biography of an important poet.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Racheal

    What an excellently crafted picture book biography of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black woman to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize (among many other accolades). A beautiful story of passion and dedication in the face of adversity that really got me in the feels!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    “Writing became like eating and breathing to Gwendolyn — it was something she just has to do.” Gwendolyn Brooks heard the words of poets read to her every night by her father. By the time she was seven, she began writing her own poetry. At the age of eleven, she sent her poems to a newspaper and became a published poet. “Gwendolyn’s future seemed as bright as morning’s first clouds.” Her poetry helped her to feel invincible, rather than invisible. And her poetry helped others to see the invisible “Writing became like eating and breathing to Gwendolyn — it was something she just has to do.” Gwendolyn Brooks heard the words of poets read to her every night by her father. By the time she was seven, she began writing her own poetry. At the age of eleven, she sent her poems to a newspaper and became a published poet. “Gwendolyn’s future seemed as bright as morning’s first clouds.” Her poetry helped her to feel invincible, rather than invisible. And her poetry helped others to see the invisible people in her neighborhood. She became the first Black person to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. She became the Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and the Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mel

    I really loved the soft illustrations and had a good time learning about Ms Brooks

  25. 4 out of 5

    Erin *BookDragonLibrary*

    Beautiful acrylic illustrations and poetry like pros are perfect for this book. Another 2020 picture book biography that is stunning and about somebody whose life I wasn’t very familiar with. Born in 1917 and living in Chicago similar to the reporter Ethel and another picture book I just read. It was Mostly a reflection on her life with some pieces of history woven in but more heavy on the biography side than the general United States history side. Definitely recommend.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chantel

    Picture books about poet Gwendolyn Brooks. About her beginnings as a young writer, her perseverance to continue to write after many rejections to become a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry winner. Great for all ages.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maria Caplin

    Made the connection with her other book: A Street in Bronzeville.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    The pictures are really beautiful

  29. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    Gwendolyn Brooks grew up in Chicago, raised in a family that loved words, books and poetry. At age eleven, she sent four poems to a newspaper, and they were printed. She also submitted a poem to a magazine. But then the Great Depression happened and publications were no longer printing poems. Gwendolyn went to school and then to college. She got married and had children, writing poems all the while. She captured the hardworking neighborhood of Bronzeville in Chicago where she lived. Steadily, sh Gwendolyn Brooks grew up in Chicago, raised in a family that loved words, books and poetry. At age eleven, she sent four poems to a newspaper, and they were printed. She also submitted a poem to a magazine. But then the Great Depression happened and publications were no longer printing poems. Gwendolyn went to school and then to college. She got married and had children, writing poems all the while. She captured the hardworking neighborhood of Bronzeville in Chicago where she lived. Steadily, she started to get her poems published and then submitted a group of poems to a New York publisher. They not only accepted the poems, but asked for more to complete an entire book. She eventually had two books, but still wasn’t able to make enough money to get by. Her electricity had been shut off when she heard that her book had won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry! Slade’s picture book biography of Brooks details a life spent with a love of words but also one that is impacted greatly by poverty. Her life is one filled with early promise as a child, but one that was also put on hold by the economy. Her story is inspiring, showing how a life of hard work and speaking the truth of a community can eventually be noticed. The art in the book is done in acrylic. The pages are filled with pinks, greens and blues as backgrounds that float like clouds. Against this, realistic depictions of Brooks and her family glow. A splendid biography of an important African-American poet. Appropriate for ages 6-9.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian Wilson

    From my blog mrbrianspicturebookpicks.wordpress.com: This heartfelt and tender new book about the legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks covers a large portion of her early life and does so in a way that is clear and easy to understand for young readers. In 1950, the Chicago-based Brooks became the first Black person to win the Pulitzer, and Exquisite deftly chronicles what led the author to that crowning moment. A book about a great poet should offer strong writing, and Slade truly delivers with her c From my blog mrbrianspicturebookpicks.wordpress.com: This heartfelt and tender new book about the legendary poet Gwendolyn Brooks covers a large portion of her early life and does so in a way that is clear and easy to understand for young readers. In 1950, the Chicago-based Brooks became the first Black person to win the Pulitzer, and Exquisite deftly chronicles what led the author to that crowning moment. A book about a great poet should offer strong writing, and Slade truly delivers with her concise, poetic text. Meanwhile, the fabulous illustrator Cozbi A. Cabrera fills each of her acrylic paintings with beautiful sights and memorable emotion. Cabrera often adds a surreal spin to the words. For example, on the page that talks about how Brooks went to college and devoured countless poetry books there, Cabrera shows her legs walking on mountains of books. Visually, Cabrera keeps returning to the colorful clouds mentioned in the poem “Clouds” that Brooks wrote when she was only 15 (the book wisely includes it in its entirety in the back matter). Swirling pinks, blues, and whites fill the sky. And for those concerned with made-up dialogue in non-fiction picture book biographies, the back matter assures us that every quote can be traced back to an original source. This is a beautiful tribute to a great poet. Side note: I was able to see Brooks read twice, and she was amazing both times. This book truly captures her talent and spirit.

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