Today’s poetry picture book is a bit of an unusual one, but it’s written by Alice Walker. Yes, that Alice Walker (writer of “The Color Purple” among many other things).
SWEET PEOPLE ARE EVERYWHERE is a poem that covers the entire span of the book and it is just what it sounds like from the title. The poem is dedicated to “young Bryon, who is getting a passport” but that is the only place his name is mentioned. In the afterward, there is an interview with Alice and she explains that he was a houseguest of her’s, “a teenage musician planning a trip to China.” While she writes the poem to him (and for him) she is really writing it for all children, she explains: “I want all children reading this to become familiar with the idea that other places exist.” And that is exactly what the book sets out to do. Each page is dedicated to a different place in the world where “sweet people” exist. I don’t think there’s a single continent left out.
The illustrations by Quim Torres are at turns breathtaking and at others whimsical. It’s a really hard concept to describe, let alone share. Sweet people can feel a bit optimistic at times, but then … it ends on an oddly dark note to balance the whole book out. I won’t spoil it, but it made me stop in my tracks and wonder about the book as a whole. It’s quite a fascinating project.
I share one of my favorite breathtaking scenes:
and one of the whimsical:
And if you’re looking for more poetry fun this month, be sure to check out the Kidlitosphere Event Roundup!