Hope Is an Arrow: The Story of Lebanese-American Poet Kahlil Gibran by Cory McCarthy, illustrated by Ekua Holmes

Published by Candlewick

Summary:  Gibran Khalil Gibran was a shy boy growing up in Lebanon.  He loved his country, but there was unrest there, and he often escaped into nature, hiking in the woods or swimming in the ocean.  After his father was jailed, he and his mother and three siblings left for America.  They settled in Boston’s South End, where a teacher changed his name to Kahlil Gibran, and where he often saw his mother treated disrespectfully despite her hard work as a shopkeeper.  Kahlil often felt divided between his American self and his Lebanese self and began expressing himself through his poetry and art.  Studying in Beirut and losing his mother, sister, and brother in a short period of time deepened and intensified his art, and in 1923, he published his most famous work, The Prophet.  Includes source notes and additional stories from Kahlil Gibran’s life.  40 pages; grades 2-5.

Pros:  The lyrical text and beautiful illustrations capture Kahlil Gibran’s spirit.  Many of his quotes are included (including my favorite, “Work is love made visible”) which are helpful in introducing his writing.  As usual, Ekua Holmes’s art is worthy of award consideration.

Cons:  I wasn’t crazy about the format of the source notes and additional stories, which did not seem particularly kid friendly.

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