Saturday, March 12, 2016

Derby, Sally. Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar.

Derby, Sally.  Jump Back, Paul: The Life and Poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar.  Candlewick Press  2015  122p  $16.99  ISBN 978-0-7636-6070-3  ms/hs  Biography  E-BN    

Reading this book gives one the feeling of being in the presence of a great storyteller.  The tone is not that of a dry biography, but rather a conversation about a favorite poet as it is told in a first-person narrative that walks the line between a documentary and conversation.  The author herself describes it as a “grandma’s” voice in the Author’s Note. The story of Dunbar’s life is interspersed with his poetry, bringing context to the work.  Simple black-and-white illustrations add a surprising emotional depth to the text.  It would be much easier to get students interested in classic literature if all biographies were as engaging as this one.  A chronology, detailed source notes, a bibliography, and an index are included.  A must-have for any middle-school and higher-level literature collections.    

Summary: An engaging biography of Paul Laurence Dunbar, with the story of his life interspersed with his poetry. 

Poetry, African-American, Paul Lawrence Dunbar  --Stephanie Pennucci

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