Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Thursday, August 29, 2019

How To Love a Country Poems by Richard Blanco

How To Love a Country
Poems by Richard Blanco
Beacon Press. 2019
Grades 8 and up

From time to time, I like to recognize books that are often found in the adult collection in my public library. I love how accessible Blanco’s poems are to even those intimated by poetry (That’s me). The poem that really stood out for me was, Let’s Remake America Great. It had me thinking, but, so did every poem in this slim tome.

This new collection looks at incidents that highlight our nation’s hostility throughout history. He writes about the Pulse nightclub massacre, an unexpected encounter he had while visiting Cuba, lynching in Alabama, the Navajo Indian forced exile in 1868, a young Chinese woman in detention on Angel Island in 1938, the incarceration of a gifted writer, and a very moving poem about the joy for gay and lesbians to finally be allowed to marry.

The book jacket states, “seeking answers, Blanco digs deep into the very marrow of our nation through poems that interrogate our past and present, grieve our injustices, and note our flaws, but also remember to celebrate our ideals and cling to our hopes.”  

In these poems, Blanco asks readers to look beyond our differences and see those differences as our strength. Our diversity is what makes our country great. e pluribus unum (out of many, one)

Share these poems with students, friends, and family. They will definitely spark some honest conversations about America and how each one of us has the potential to change the world.

I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library to write this review.

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