A Crown of Stories: The Life and Language of Beloved Writer Toni Morrison

HarperCollins/Quill Tree. Apr. 2024. 48p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780062911032.
Gr 1-5 Renowned author Toni Morrison is celebrated in the latest offering from Weatherford. The opening line, “How do you tell a story?” is answered in Weatherford’s signature style, weaving together events from Morrison’s remarkable personal and professional life in a series of poetic verses. From her struggles as a Black woman coming to adulthood in the 1950s to her triumphant successesbecoming a prolific author, the first Black senior editor at a major publishing house, a Princeton professor, and winning both a Pulitzer and a Nobel prize. Morrison’s life is set against a backdrop of stunning, vividly colored illustrations created with paint, collage, and stencils. This combination of vibrant images with compelling text, told in second-person narrative throughout, gives readers a visceral experience often missing from biographies written for children. The pacing is skewed; on some pages the text is confined to a short paragraph, while on others it fills almost all of the available space. However, the strength of the writing and the outstanding illustrations make up for this. Back matter includes an author’s note, bibliography, and time line, which includes historical events not mentioned in the text.
VERDICT In addition to being a useful mentor text on the second-person voice, this is an excellent addition to biography collections and displays highlighting Black and Women’s History months.

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