A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson

02 Oct

This slim volume of poetry focuses on the short life of Emmett Till a 14-year old black boy who was killed in 1955 for supposedly whistling at a white woman. Emmett’s short life and violent death followed by his murderers being found ‘not guilty’ was a catalyst to the Civil Rights Movement. The poetry is in a heroic crown sonnet form. A heroic crown of sonnets is a sequence of 15 interlinked sonnets in which the last sonnet is comprised of the first line of the first 14 sonnets.

Poetry geared towards youth can be a tricky thing. Nelson includes a sonnet by sonnet breakdown of references to help readers better understand what she was trying to say. The book would be a good introduction to the sonnet form as well as a good discussion starter on civil rights. 2005, 34 pages.

A Michael L. Printz Honor Book for Excellence in Young Adult Literature and a Coretta Scott King Award Honor Book.

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Posted by on October 2, 2007 in Young Adult


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