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A Wreath for Emmett Till is an illustrated book of poetry in remembrance of the death of Emmett Till in 1955 He was a fourteen year old African American boy visiting relatives in Mississippi He was lynched for allegedly whistling at a white woman His mother had an open casket funeral in Chicago so the country could see his mangled body Although Emmett s uncle was an eye witness when his nephew was taken away from his house, the jury acquitted the men tried for the crime The public s reaction to Emmett s death and the trial was important in the civil rights movement.The poetry is written as a heroic crown of Petrachan sonnets There are fifteen sonnets in which the last line of one sonnet is the first line sometimes slightly changed of the next sonnet The fifteenth sonnet is made up of the first lines of all the preceding fourteen sonnets.Marilyn Nelson uses the imagery of flowers for remembrance, and includes sonnets about Emmett Till s lynching and funeral She also wrote sonnets that included other tragic events where people did not respect the lives of others Philippe Lardy illustrated the book with bold modern illustrations.There are a few pages of information appropriate for high school students in the back of the book This includes explanatory information about the imagery and literary illusions in the sonnets The publisher has information online for those who wish to use this prize winning poetry book as a teaching tool Adults will also find it a good reminder about racism and injustice wrapped up in an interesting type of poetry. I enjoyed the pictures and imagery that Nelson and Lardy put into writing this poem for Emmett Till The visual pictures that Lardy painted worked nicely with the words that Nelson wrote to commemorate this fallen hero of African American history My only problem came from reading the poem in e book form Since I got this from the library for my Kindle, this was my only option and it posed a problem in terms of the pages getting jumbled and the pictures being scattered haphazardly nowhere near where they were meant to be However, this can t be blamed on Nelson and Lardy I d definitely recommend this book for those who want a read that is short and poignant The notes by the author and book s illustrator in the back where also a really nice touch These notes offered readers a better understanding of some of the literary allusions and mechanisms that Nelson used and the inspiration behind Lardy s ideas for what he chose to paint. This book is recommended for grades 9 and up because the subject matter is very emotionally difficult Nothing I say here will do justice to this book, except to say you simply have to read it If you don t know the story of Emmett Till, you may want to read about him first and read A Wreath for Emmett Till after because the poetry will have a dramatic impact This book received both a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award and a Printz Honor Award for excellence in young adult literature, both in 2006 Both awards are well deserved.In A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson, the story of the brutal attack of fourteen year old Emmett Till is chronicled through a crown of sonnets a series of poems where the last line of the previous poem becomes the first line of the next and the fifteenth poem is comprised of the fourteen previous poems first lines Told from various perspectives including that of a tree, the poems are skillfully and painstakingly written They also include allusions to literature and history, which may be difficult for some readers to understand however, the end notes provide a detailed explanation Everything in this book is purposeful and both the author and illustrator explain their processes in a very personal and meaningful way in the introduction and artist s note This book makes the suffering of lynched African Americans a real and chilling experience for the reader To me, the book carries an eerie feeling of death throughout its pages, but as the author reminds us frequently we must remember Emmett Till if we forget the atrocities of human existence, we can never transcend To evaluate this text against Coretta Scott King Award criteria almost seems wrong Nelson s writing process, which she describes saying, I wrote this poem with my heart in my mouth and tears in my eyes, breathless with anticipation and surprise , is also experienced by the reader Thus, using award criteria to evaluate such an emotional experience for both writer and reader feels cold and objective Yet, Nelson s work encompasses what it means to be award worthy, so I ll attempt to do it justice.This text has a clear plot, which is developed through the sonnets, and accurately details the events surrounding the death of Emmett Till The characters and narrators, while not the traditional type, grow and develop during the course of poems story The writing style, as mentioned earlier, may be slightly difficult for the intended audience, but the difficulty with which the poems are read will mirror the difficulty with which they were written Without being overtly didactic, this text will motivate readers to share Emmett Till s story, breed tolerance and acceptance of diversity, and hopefully deter future generations from committing such hateful and horrific acts It meets the award criteria on all accounts. A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson, illustrated by Philippe Lardy, published 2005.Nonfiction, poetry.Picture book.Grades 9 12.Found via School Library Journal, reviewed by Cris Riedel.Emmett Till was a boy who was brutally killed for supposedly whistling at a white woman in 1955 following his death, his mother held an open casket funeral to show others the suffering her son had experienced, giving support to the growing Civil Rights movement In A Wreath for Emmett Till, Nelson memorializes Emmett, the incident, and its aftereffects in a heroic crown of sonnets in the Petrarchan style This is a complicated poetic form, with lines repeated between sonnets and the opening lines of each sonnet creating the final sonnet, and Nelson uses the form masterfully to convey her point The language is formal and dense, as is expected with such a complex poetic form, but the text offers support for readers, including extensive notes about each sonnet and information about the form and Emmett Till overall The illustrations further enhance the reading experience, using simple and abstract images that are charged with color to highlight motifs from the sonnet sequence, and the artist helpfully provides his own notes, as well Reviewer Riedel agrees with the importance of the notes to the book, noting that This underpinning information makes this a full experience, eminently teachable from several aspects, including historical and literary This book would work best in a classroom where students can ask for a teacher s help with the complicated language and themes, but the nature of the book s main event makes A Wreath for Emmett Till a good choice for a cross curricular book. Marrilyn Nelson s A Wreath for Emmett Till is a winner of a Coretta Scott King Honor Award as well as the Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature Philippe Lardy s illustrations add much to this text, however, I had to completely focus on the text the first two times I read it.The text is written as a heroic crown of sonnets Fortunately this form is thoroughly described by the author before the poem begins Sonnets are rhyming poems of fourteen lines written in iambic pentameter With this form, I was familiar The heroic crown form was both new and fascinating In a crown of sonnets, the last line of one sonnet becomes the first line of the next sonnet In a heroic crown of sonnets, there are 14 sonnets and then a 15th that is made up of one line from each of the previous 14 sonnets In this case, the first letter of each line from the 14 sonnets spells out RIP EMMETT TILL Amazing.To further help the reader, sonnet notes as well as some of the history involved are included after the sonnets Nelson really pushes the reader There are biblical, historical, and Shakespearean references as well as challenging vocabulary Symbolism of plants also plays an important role in this wreath of memories Every line begs to be read over and over until it makes sense yet in the end, the events described are beyond making sense Due to the topic and the complex structure, I would use this text in middle school or above Part of one sonnet states The lynchers feared the lynchee, what he might do, being of another race This line in particular, would make this text an asset in on a unit on race relations This fear has played out in other ways in American history including our treatment of Native Americans and the placement of the Japanese in internment camps It is a heavy topic, but one that is often over looked in history books.The 15th sonnet begins R osemary for remembrance, Shakespeare wrote, I f I could forget, believe me, I would P ierced by the screams of a shortened childhood This poem will cause your heart to ache not only for Emmett and his mother but also for our country. Summary A Wreath for Emmett Till is a picture book intended for older readers This book contains 15 interlinked sonnets about Emmett Till and the painful subject of his lynching Each sonnet in the book represents a different emotion or aspect of this difficult part of history The author, Marilyn Nelson, uses a crown of sonnets to write her poems the last line of one of the sonnets becomes the first line of the next, the final sonnet contains 1 line from each of the preceding 14 poems.Emmett Till was lynched in 1955 when he was just 14 years old after supposedly whistling at a white woman After his brutal death, a jury declared the murderer not guilty This drew many people s attention, black and white, to the case This conclusion to the case helped spur on the civil rights movement Many years later one of the murderers came forward and admitted to the crime, the murderers were then tried again and found guilty.This book also contains a forward written by the author about how she came to write the poem, history about Emmett Till, and sonnet notes These extras helped me better understand the book and the tragedy of Emmett Till s death.Response A Wreath for Emmett Till is an interesting and creative way to share the emotions and history behind such a tragic event By presenting the content in poem form, the reader is able to get through it and manage it The rigidity to the crown of sonnets provides a nice rhythm and form to the book The illustrations, which were painted in bright colors, enhance each poem as they are somewhat abstract It is important to take time as your read to interpret and analyze them.The forward and history about Emmett Till helped me better understand this historical event and why the author chose to write about this topic.I comment Marilyn Nelson for writing about this difficulty topic, because I think many authors would shy away from it She handled it with ease and fluidity.I would recommend this to any high school and beyond student who is looking to better understand the Civil Rights Movement, racism, justice, and African American history. |Free E-pub ♷ A Wreath for Emmett Till ⚑ A Coretta Scott King And Printz Honor Book Now In Paperback A Wreath For Emmett Till Is A Moving Elegy, Says The BulletinIn People All Over The United States Knew That Emmett Louis Till Was A Fourteen Year Old African American Boy Lynched For Supposedly Whistling At A White Woman In Mississippi The Brutality Of His Murder, The Open Casket Funeral Held By His Mother, Mamie Till Mobley, And The Acquittal Of The Men Tried For The Crime Drew Wide Media Attention In A Profound And Chilling Poem, Award Winning Poet Marilyn Nelson Reminds Us Of The Boy Whose Fate Helped Spark The Civil Rights Movement I read the historical fiction poetry book A Wreath for Emmett Till by Marilyn Nelson I think this book was really good but it is a bit challenging of a reading level and it uses some larger vocabulary, for instance when it said the blasphemies pronounced to justify profane, obscene theft of human lives This book takes place in 1955 after the lynching of Emmett Till, and the main conflict is simply death Everyone dies eventually, but for Emmett Till great injustice came along with his death He was a young black man, only 14 years old when he died because 5 white men made a false claim that he whistled at a white woman while walking on the street The story as a whole was mainly the same topic but each individual poem had smaller sections and details Also the story s only main character is the narrator I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to take on a nice challenge. This Printz honor award and Coretta Scott King award winning book is a powerful poem telling the story of Emmett Till.At times the message punches and then, the author uses flowers as a softer medium to tell the story of young Emmett Till who died at the age of 14 at the hands of bigoted white men.A stutterer, Emmett s mother told him to whistle when he was stuttering or nervous This whistle was perceived as a black man whistling at a white woman.1955 was a time of severe racial tension When Emmett s mutilated body was found, his mother insisted there be an open casket so the world could see just what bigotry does Lynched, beaten beyond recognition, his swollen body, found in a river, showed a cotton gin fan with barbed wire strung around his neck When those who were guilty of Emmett s murder were acquitted, in outrage as images of the brutality were shown, and the smirking faces of the two men who were on trial seemed carefree and emotionless regarding the brutality of a young life full of promise beaten beyond recognition, many believe this ushered in the Civil Rights movement.REVIEW NUMBER TWO This is a re read for me Because I own so many books, and have the habit of going to the library to check out than I can read in the allotted time, I don t usually read a book than once But, because I first read this prior to immersing myself in learning about the Civil Rights movement, I wanted to get clearer insights regarding one of the major events that sparked and propelled Civil Rights forward.His father was killed in the service because of an accusation of making advances, perhaps raping a white woman How strangely tragic it was that things came full circle for poor Emmett Till Emmett Till was what some would say a mommy s baby He did not know his father, but had step fathers, some who were important in his life But, after the relationships faded, Emmett and his mother were dependent on each other.Close to his mother and family, he was an attractive, over weight, fun loving prankster of a boy Some noted that while he could be shy, he also loved to be the center of attention At times, his dare devil attitude and behavior resulted in trouble Terribly, when at 14 he visited Money, Mississippi, his behavior resulted in death.A wonderful poet, the author cleverly, expertly uses sophisticated poetry to express the sadness, and horror that resulted when Emmett and cousins defied Uncle Moses rules and, unknown to his Uncle, visited Bryant s store.As the end of one poem becomes the beginning of the next, Marilyn Nelson uses the significance and meaning of various flowers, including Rosemary for remembrance, and rue, yew and cypress for grief.No one knows for sure what happened on August 28, 1955 Did the fun loving jokester from Chicago suburbs forget that he was thick in the delta of bigotry Did he, as Bryant s wife reported, make illicit comments to her, touching her hand while smiling and collecting his change from a bubble gum purchase What is know is that four days later, at approximately 2 30 a.m Roy Bryant, Carolyn s husband, and his half brother J.W Milam kidnapped Till from Emmett s Uncle Moses Wright s home.The dramatic poetic form of the beating beyond recognition and the shot gun hole left in his head, renders this imagery difficult to absorb.Read this and weep for a boy too soon gone Cry for the ugly hatred and bigotry in a culture that could not abide by any one whom they thought did not know their place Five Stars This moving work of 14 connected Petrarchan sonnets creates a picture of what has come to be seen as a national loss and shame the death of 14 year old Emmett Till Matched with the sometimes disturbing, sometimes beautiful illustrations of Philippe Lardy, Marilyn Nelson s poems take the reader on a journey of fear, grief, anger and shame that will not soon be forgotten As moving as the content of her sonnets is, their connected nature and the structure of the book is impressive Each sonnet begins with a version of the last line of the preceding sonnet and the final sonnet is built with the first line of each previous sonnet The reason that I gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 is that it is packaged to look like a children s book, which I think is a misrepresentation The subject matter and the word choice would indicate that this book would be best used with older students I would say 8th grade and up This is a troubling piece of our country s history and Nelson does not back away from the disturbing, heartbreaking, or graphic details Younger children would likely not understand much of the language or be able to truly take in the content.This book could be used both as a supplement to a social studies curriculum and as a mentor text for teaching Petrarchan sonnets I think it would be an interesting exercise to have a class write their own connected sonnets on a topic of their choice.