Hope Is an Arrow: The Story of Lebanese-American Poet Kahlil Gibran

Candlewick. Jun. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536200324.
K-Gr 4–This poignant, brilliant biography about Gibran Kahlil Gibran (The Prophet), a Lebanese and American poet and artist of international renown, creates a beautiful space for Gibran to live on for this generation. Bursting with brilliant collage and acrylic artwork and incorporating Gibran’s own poetry during stirring moments of crisis and reflection, McCarthy and Holmes develop a picture book steeped in facts, artistically bold and texturally captivating, while also connecting to relatable social-emotional issues. Framed around Gibran’s hope for humanity to find peace, McCarthy’s rich prose follows Gibran’s life as a child, from Lebanon to the United States, to his further journeys abroad. Most significant is when he loses part of his Maronite identity as a child, when “Gibran” is taken from the first part of his name in Boston. He soon discovers expression through art, and it’s a defining moment in his life. In each place he lives, Gibran observes or suffers intolerance, unkindness, and a lack of understanding amongst disparate cultures. This, along with his initial hope as a child, fuels his art and identity. McCarthy’s inclusion of similes and lyricism further connects ideas of Americanization, immigration, cultural identity, socioeconomic background, and religious intolerance to contemporary society. Extensive back matter provides further biographical information and references.
VERDICT A first purchase for all libraries serving children, this is a stunning biography.

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