Dictionary for a Better World — Review

Thought for the Day:

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.”
~ Pele ~

Gifts for My Writer Friends:

There is an old saying in writing — no problem means no story. Writer’s Digest has an excellent article HERE with 5 Moral Dilemmas that Make Characters (& Stories) Better.

Too many characters? Anne R. Allen has an excellent post HERE entitled Does Your Novel Confuse Readers with “Too Many” Characters? 8 Ways to Unconfuse Them that will help you with your unwieldy cast.

I don’t see a lot of posts about foreshadowing, but done well, it adds so much to our stories. Jami Gold has a great post HERE called What’s the Point of Foreshadowing?

63AA5123-5FE2-4722-BC29-A4E8620F0003And 2020 slogs on with more frightening numbers regarding Covid 19 and political news that makes me lose sleep, but I take heart in the continuing impressive and almost completely peaceful protests that are bound to bring much-needed changes in our country. I have continued to take refuge in books and even doing a little writing, including making a submission to an anthology. Fingers crossed. I don’t often mention adult books here. In fact, I don’t read nearly as many adult books as children’s books, but this week I read a wonderful adult book — The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson. It is historical fiction with a most compelling story, great characters, and gorgeous writing. It is clear Ms. Richardson did her homework. Her research shines through and is the foundation that makes this story so very engaging. I recommend it.

Last week I offered a gently-read ARC of Wrong Way Summer by Heidi Lang to one of you. Jenni Enzor is our winner this week. Congratulations, Jenni! I will get your book out to you soon. If you don’t know Jenni, she is a writer from the Northwest. You can learn more about her at her site HERE and read her blog which has terrific reviews.

charles waters
Charles Waters

Some years ago, I attended a retreat at the Highlights Foundation, and on our last day there, I met a man coming in for the next workshop, a poetry workshop. His name is Charles Waters, and I invited him to sit in at our last night where we would all read some of our work. I loved Charles’s writing and have kept in touch with him ever since. He is something of a Renaissance man — poet, teacher, actor, and more.  He has now

Irene Latham

published three books of poetry with his writing partner, Irene Latham. Their first book, Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendships, really set a high bar for books of poetry for kids. If you haven’t read it, you have missed a very important book and a terrific one. I put a mini-review of it up on my old blog which you can see HERE. But I want to talk about their newest book today which I think is really groundbreaking.

Dictionary for a better worldDictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z is unlike any poetry anthology I’ve seen before. It contains nearly fifty poems, but the poems are only part of it. Each spread (occasionally it takes 2 spreads) in the book has a poem based on a word or phrase that expresses an idea that can help make our world a better place for all of us — such as Justice, Equality, Mindfulness, and (Bear) Witness. The poems are written in a wide variety of forms, and those forms are defined. A quote that supports the poem is included, along with a related anecdote from either Charles or Irene that tells something about their own lives or about the topic. Then there is something for readers to try — things that will help the readers become more involved in making the world a better place. And it is a beautiful book. Charming illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini brighten every page, and the design brings it all together. This is a

m. amini
Mehrdokht Amini

book that belongs in every library and classroom and, now that we are a nation of home-schoolers, every home. Each poem is a lesson in tolerance, hope, writing, poetry forms, and life in general. In my opinion, this is appropriate for students from third or fourth grade through high school. The world would be a better place if all those kids (and the adults around them) read this incredible book.

I have no giveaway this week. This is my new favorite book, and I am going to hang onto it. I can’t give away every book I get! This one stays here. Don’t forget to check for other Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday posts at the Greg Pattridge’s blog HERE. I hope all of you who are fathers had a Happy Father’s Day and the rest of you had some good time with the fathers in your lives.

30 thoughts on “Dictionary for a Better World — Review”

  1. A warm and lovely feeling is what I gained from reading this blog post this morning, Rosi. Thank you for sharing so many insights for us readers and MG writers who love adult reading as well as children ‘s books. I lived THE BOOKWOMAN OF TROUBKESONE CREEK also. I hope to hear more about Kim’s writing. You know there was controversy when a famous author…you can guess the ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a fantastic book of poetry. Glad you are going to keep it. I hope schools know about it because it sounds like a great one for classes.

    And thanks for the adult book recommendation. I read adult as well as MG and YA too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lovely review, Rosi. Dictionary for a Better World sounds fantastic. I was inspired to buy it, but it’s out of stock! So, I’ll bide my time. I certainly want a copy of that book. I haven’t been commenting lately because we are busy packing and moving. After the end of this month I should be back to semi-normal enough to start blogging and commenting again. But I’m so glad I made time for your post today.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you did too. It’s always nice to see you here. Charles and Irene said a new printing of the book is in the works, so you should be able to get a copy soon. Good luck with your move. Thanks for the comment.


  4. Hey Rosi:

    So thankful to you for the lovely blog post! 🙂 #hollinbeckrocks

    Also, to Elizabeth Varadan, please know that Lerner, the publisher, is restocking DICTIONARY as we speak, so please place a pre-order because more books will be arriving forthwith!

    My best always,

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a wonderful and important book! The unique format and illustrations make it sound even more appealing. I also love the week’s meme! Thanks for the great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great set-up for a book! You have me searching to get my own copy. Great that you connected with one of the authors years ago. Excellent set of links today. I’m always struggling with putting too many characters in a story. Thanks for featuring your post on MMGM.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Rosi! I met Charles at Highlights too! We took the second Novels in Verse workshop together in 2017. And one afternoon, after the workshop for the day was over, we sat in the Barn and had a long and lovely chat. He’s a great guy. So talented. And I own both of these books. Such inspiring writing!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love that you are holding onto this one. 🙂 You give away so many books- it is nice if you can keep some. Based on your review and high praise I just added this to my next book order for my school. I love the bright cover and it sounds like a really important book to have in schools. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s