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NONFICTION

Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z

Carolrhoda. Feb. 2020. 120p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781541557758.
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Gr 4 Up–This collaborative effort from the team behind Can I Touch Your Hair?: Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship utilizes poetry to explore identity, diversity, empathy, social justice, community, and change. Each entry seeks to examine, rather than define, a central concept (such as acceptance, equality, or kindness) and consists of a quotation, poem, personal anecdote, and a “Try it!” prompt to encourage readers to take action. A color-coded table of contents indicates the author of each poem, and the anecdotes shared by each poet contextualize both the poems and the selected terms. The featured quotes come from a variety of sources representing diverse perspectives and identities. Amini’s rich illustrations, rendered in acrylic, digital painting, collage, and photography, thoughtfully complement each entry. Each poem includes a note about the form used, adding to the collection’s potential as a mentor text for young poets. Back matter includes an authors’ note, references for the selected quotations, additional recommended reading, poetry resources, and an index of poetic forms.
VERDICT While some poems and entries are more successful than others, this inclusive, thought-provoking anthology offers a number of entry points for exploring concepts and issues related to identity, social justice, and making a difference. Recommended.

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