Thank you to Catherine at Reading To The Core for hosting this week.
Voices Of Justice: Poems About People Working For A Better World (Amazon | Book Depository)
Poetry by George Ella Lyon Illustrated by Jennifer M. Potter
Published by Henry Holt & Company (2020)
ISBN: 9781250263209 (ISBN10: 1250263204) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.
Our annual reading theme has to do with survival, courage, and the refusal to be erased and silenced. This collection of poems features individuals who stood for something and who rallied people around them to transform the world to a more humane, safer space for its diverse peoples and creatures.
I am only beginning to familiarize myself with the work of James Baldwin, and seeing his voice featured here makes me feel the urgency even more. I was also deeply heartened to see how his work is celebrated in my daughter’s university, especially when we had the campus tour before she moved in. See below photo I have taken of Seattle University’s library:
There is a huge range of activists featured in this book: from The Women of Greenham Common to the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas to Alexya Salvador from Brazil.
Evidently, there were efforts made by the book creators to not just make this collection US-centric, which I appreciated greatly. That being said, there is still limited representation of activists coming from Southeast Asia or the Middle East. As a researcher, I always ask myself questions like: what the criteria for inclusion had been in this collection of poems, given the many activists around the world who strive the world to make a better place. I believe there were also attempts to balance the collection such that there were familiar names (Virginia Woolf and Jane Goodall for example) while featuring lesser known ones (such as Jasilyn Charger and Chiune Sugihara).
The overall design and layout of the book had been thoughtfully considered and reveal the time and effort that had been invested in this collection. It is a much-needed resource that I hope would reach an international audience, especially young readers.
For my Poetry Friday offering, I am sharing an excerpt here from the last poem found in this collection which offers both a challenge and a promise (I took a photo of the page and edited it using an iPhone app):
How will you
discover your gifts?
How will you
give them a voice?