Friday, October 23, 2009

My Uncle Emily

Author: Jane Yolen

First line: One day when we were in the garden, choosing flowers for the table, my Uncle Emily gave me a dead bee and a poem for my teacher.

Why you should read this book: Delightfully written historical fiction uses the poetic voice to focus on the relationship between the poet Emily Dickinson and her beloved nephew, Gilbert, who shared secret messages in the passing of dead bees. When the famously reclusive Dickinson gives Gilbert a poem to bring to his schoolteacher, the young boy finds that not everyone understands poetry, but decides that he must uphold his Uncle Emily’s honor. When violence ensues, Gilbert learns a lesson about poetry’s place in the world, and truth’s place in storytelling.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: Never been inspired by the ineffable glory, spiritual splendor, and raw, universal power of the natural world.

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