She’ll Be the Sky: Poems by Women and Girls

Nosy Crow. Feb. 2024. 144p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9798887770550.
Gr 4 Up–Noting that poems by women and girls are traditionally underrepresented, Risbridger offers an appealing collection of over 100 short poems by women, girls, and one nonbinary poet. Three poems, including “The Female Highwayman,” are anonymous; historically, women wrote as “Anonymous” when they were unable to get poems published under their own names. The well-chosen poems in this collection include familiar ones by Emily Dickinson, Christina Rossetti, and others, along with new favorites by Ruth Awolola and Ada Limón, the first Latina U.S. Poet Laureate. There’s a welcome diversity of voices; some famous, such as Maya Angelou and Amanda Gorman, and others not as recognized, like Jamaican Jean “Binta” Breeze and Misuzu Kaneko from Japan. There are selections by Indigenous poets, including Joy Harjo and Pamela Mordecai, and by immigrants and refugees, such as 13-year-old Amineh Abou Kerech. British-born Ghanaian poet Victoria Adukwei Bulley memorializes Lucille Clifton, “patron saint of black girls anywhere,” in “Auntie Lucille.” Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, and Malala are also subjects of rousing tributes. Colorful spreads with pen-and-ink illustrations complement the poems. The infectious joy of Eloise Greenfield’s “Honey, I Love” and Liz Lochhead’s “Nina’s Song” begs to be shared aloud. Many poems encourage and inspire, including these by Elisabeth Hewer: “Here are Girls like Lions” and “Sometimes, Change is One Girl.”
VERDICT This endearing and empowering collection should find a wide audience among all readers, as well as a place in school and public libraries.

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