Dare to Dream… Change the World

From Jonas Salk to Steven Spielberg, the subjects of these biographical-inspired poems invented something, said something, stood for something, did something, changed something. They dared to dream. Thirty of our nation’s most prestigious poets focus their creative vision on people who not only changed their own lives, but the lives of people all over the world.

Related: Biography, Intermediate (ages 9-14), Picture Book, Poetry, Young Adult (ages 14-18)

One thought on “Dare to Dream… Change the World

  1. Pritchard & Martens says:

    Prisca’s Take
    I’m so taken with this book! I find it so humbling. There’s something about using poetry to convey the personal concerns and dedication to action of people that is so much richer and more powerful to me than reading biographies of the people. The collection of thirty poems focused on ways people have made a difference in the world in one book intensifies the power too, I think. I also like that not all of the people highlighted are well-known. Lesser-knowns such as Father Gregory Boyle and Nicholas Cobb are included along with Jonas Salk, Georgia O’Keefe, and Anne Frank.
    As much as I like the book as a whole, I found some of the pairings of the biographical poems with another topical/inspirational poem difficult to follow. Sometimes I thought the connections between the pairings were strong, like those for Jonas Salk, but other times I had trouble with them (i.e., Nicholas Cobb), even though I liked the poems individually.
    I thought the last lines of Bruce Coville’s poem Ripples was the perfect way to end the book:
    Actions last for generations
    Our fathers’ mothers mold our hearts.
    We in turn shape all that follows;
    Each time we act, a ripple starts.

    Wow!
    Gail’s Take
    I’ve always wondered how many people begin reading from the back, especially magazines…. It’s something I’ve always done—I open whatever I’m reading to the back and I read what is there—backmatter, glossaries, Author’s Notes (most times, I think these should be at the front because they explain so much necessary stuff). As always, I began reading Dare to Dream…Change the World by starting at the end. I laughed my way through the poets’ bios and was so glad I started with those. Most of these poets I’ve read before, heard at conferences, and in one case, shared a tiny little table at a café on Catalina Island—but in each of the bios, I learned something new!
    One of the beauties of children’s literature is how much we learn. J. Patrick Lewis’s “The Child,” is a perfect example. I suspect practically every teacher knows the story of Ruby Bridges, but I wonder, how many know about “White’s only” schools directed toward Hispanics and in particular, the story of Sylvia Mendez? As I read Alice Shertle’s “The Archaeologist’s Dilemma, I thought about her bio (which really made me laugh out loud) and could picture her “collecting” and “poking” just as an archaeologist would explore a tomb. While David Harrison may not be able to pitch a baseball and play a trombone at the same time, he is able to make me savor language and appreciate the difference one person can make. Through his poem “Nicholas Cobb,” Harrison reminds us the difference between seeing and acting and the impact Cobb had on 54 children. When I read “Word from the Wise, by Denise Lewis Patrick,” I could feel the words “…warrior, child! Already full of dreams we’ve never seen…”.
    Prisca’s right, Bruce Coville’s “Ripples,” is precisely the right poem to end this collection about inspiration, dreaming, and taking action… “and no act leaves the world the same…”.

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