I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage
The poet and writer Lee Bennett Hopkins, who died earlier this year, compiles poems and illustrations from 30 individuals of diverse backgrounds, commemorating family, memory and life's happy and sad moments in I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage. This rich collection is greatly enhanced by the creators' personal statements, professional biographies and photographs, both youthful and contemporary.
Nick Bruel of Bad Kitty fame contributes an unexpectedly serious poem, "Pick One," about choosing a single ethnicity on an official form. Margarita Engle highlights an embroidery session with her abuelita in "La visita" ("The Visit"); an image of a girl and her grandmother accompanies the poem, done by Paula Barragán in a colorful, naïve style. Marilyn Nelson's "Route 66" comes from the perspective of the child of an Air Force officer, traveling to a new base: "What if somebody who hates black people/ drives past our car and shoots him in the head?" Strong feelings and sweet memories abound in this exceptional assemblage. --Melinda Greenblatt, freelance book reviewer