On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson by Jennifer Berne, illustrated by Becca Stadtlander

Published by Chronicle Books

On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson (Emily  Dickinson for Kids, Biography of Female Poet for Kids): Berne, Jennifer,  Stadtlander, Becca: 9781452142975: Amazon.com: Books
On Wings of Words: The Extraordinary Life of Emily Dickinson (Emily  Dickinson for Kids, Biography of Female Poet for Kids): Berne, Jennifer,  Stadtlander, Becca: 9781452142975: Amazon.com: Books

Summary:  Emily Dickinson’s life story is told from beginning to end, with her poetry woven into almost every page.  Her internal life is explored, how she loved books and sought answers when confronted with deaths of people near her.  As she grew older, she withdrew more, focusing on her writing and only interacting with a few people who were close to her.  Following her death in 1886, her sister Vinnie found hundreds of poems tucked away around her house, and the world began to discover the poet Emily Dickinson.  Includes additional information about Emily’s poetry; how to discover the world of poetry; a few books by and about Emily; and notes from the author and illustrator. 52 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  This gorgeously illustrated biography is an excellent introduction to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, and gives readers some glimpses into Dickinson’s life and why she chose to live the way she did.  The back matter provides additional inspiration for aspiring poets.

Cons:  As someone who has wished for a good elementary biography of Emily Dickinson (she’s a hot topic for third graders when they get to their unit on famous Massachusetts people), I was disappointed that this book didn’t include much of the factual biographical information (when she was born, where she lived, etc.) that kids are seeking for reports. A timeline would have been helpful and not taken away from the lyrical nature of the writing.

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