Friday, August 20, 2010

Amazing Faces = amazing poetry

I recently found Amazing Faces, a collection of poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins and illustrations by Chris Soentpiet, with a little help from my friend, Beth, at Cover to Cover Children's Bookstore. I was asking her if they had any new poetry books, and right away, she handed me Amazing Faces.

From the moment I saw the cover of this book, I was hooked! It is a cover filled with adult and children faces, each face unique. I inferred from the cover that the inside would be filled with poems about people from very diverse backgrounds. I was NOT disappointed when I opened the book!!

The first poem is called, aptly, "Amazing Face" by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. It sets the stage for the variety of wonderful faces that would be described in the pages to come. Each face, no matter what ethnicity, comes with a vibrant story of its own. From the child watching his mom sew late into the night, to the child falling asleep, to the child who speaks two languages, to the kind teacher, to the child with friendship issues, to the child engaged in karate, to the child playing football, to the child living in the desert -- all these faces have stories to tell that are uniquely their own.

Lee Bennett Hopkins has done an amazing job with the poems he has collected from some very talented writers and poets. The sequence of the poetry seems very thoughtful, because of how seamlessly each poem flows, one to the next. He has even included one of his own pieces, a lovely poem about how a boy and a girl fall in love at a restaurant amongst the hamburgers and french fries.

The gift of Amazing Faces is that the situations in which these "amazing faces" find themselves, are scenarios to which many children can relate. No matter what your face looks like, chances are you have been through one or more of the experiences in this book.

Amazing Faces was a true find, and I can't wait to share it with my class. It might make the perfect second poetry book to share after we have some fun with the first.

I also want to mention that a friend of mine, Maria, found Amazing Faces at another bookstore close to her at about the same time I found my copy. We were so excited about this, that we decided to "simu-blog" about it on the same day. Check out Maria's review over at Teaching in the 21st Century.

For more Poetry Friday fun, visit Laura at Teach Poetry K- 12.


  1. I've got to get my hands on this book!

  2. Dear Karen:

    Thank you SO much for your lovely
    comments regarding my AMAZING FACES. It is people like you who
    make poetry the amazing genre it is. I was touched by your review.

    Love to you and yours...

    Lee Bennett Hopkins