Sunday, February 15, 2009


WOW! I just picked up CORETTA SCOTT by Ntozake Shange. I was expecting this book because I am a HUGE Kadir Nelson fan these days. I had seen the cover online and read a bit about it, but it so surpassed all that I was expecting. This is a gorgeous book about such an important lady.

The story of Coretta Scott King is told in poetry by Ntozake Shange. It is amazing poetry. Each page is a poem in itself and the pages work together perfectly. Not one word is wasted--each carries power as part of the story of Coretta. The first page reads:

some southern mornings
the moon
sits like an orange
sliver by the treetops

I like so much about this book--a review can't really do it justice. The writing is amazing. The illustrations are unbelievable. The cover is stunning. There is really no way I could have passed the book without buying it. The cover art draws you in and each illustration is as incredible as the one before it. Kadir Nelson at his best--I continue to be amazed at the quantity and quality of the work that he is doing.

When I opened it, I hadn't realized that it was a poem. I was expecting a more typical biography. Instead, Shange uses verse to tell the story of Coretta Scott King before and after she met Martin Luther King, Jr. The way that Shange creates a portait of Coretta in which she is her own person, and also a person connected to Martin Luther King, Jr. is important.

Like I said, no review could do this book justice at all. A very powerful and gorgeous book about an amazing woman.


  1. I saw this book in Scholastic, but I didn't get it. Then my pricipal surprised me by buying it at a bookstore and thought I could use it for my Take A Stand unit. I absolutely loved it too. It fit in perfectly with everything that we were studying, and I also loved the verse format. My 6th graders really enjoyed it. It would be a good book for multiple age ranges.

    If I would have known what the book was like I would have gotten it from Scholastic without thinking twice.

  2. Anonymous8:59 PM

    Shange and Nelson together - there's pretty much no way that could go wrong. I'm looking forward to getting this one in at my library.

  3. I wasn't aware of this book, so thank you! And I love that it sounds like actual poems. A number of poetry "collections" I've read recently have sounded more like poetic prose to me, broken into lines. Happy to hear this one reads like standalone poems. Off to put this on reserve at the library. Thanks!

  4. My mistake--this book is definitely not stand alone--I used that word incorrectly. The pages stand alone but the book is intended to be one poem. In my reading, it seems like they could each stand alone as each is about some aspect of Coretta Scott King's life. Either way, you'll love it, I'm sure!


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