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