Seneca Village Redux
Am I the only person that dreams my dreams?
Does anybody else on this planet think my thoughts?
Are my ideas like darting lights I’ve caught?
Is my mind a net sieving through thought-filled streams?
I know when we first posted about this book it was a bit under the radar. It had a couple starred reviews back then; now it has four and counting. When I read it the first time, it immediately jumped into my top five. Then I read it a second time and it jumped into my top three. I’m afraid that if I read it a third time, it will be my top pick! Good poetry is like that. It takes awhile to grow on you.
I find that the more time I spend with this community, the more real they seem to me, the more I remember their connections to each other, the more I can visualize them in my head. Of course, part of that is the stage directions that Nelson provides. I find that the language stays with me, lingers in my memory long afterward.
We have lots of books that are epic in scope. ECHO and GONE CRAZY IN ALABAMA which we’ve recently discussed would certainly fit that bill, and MY SENECA VILLAGE is epic, too, covering over a dozen characters in a thirty year span, touching on both the general and the specific, the personal and the political, the mundane and the profound. And yet she does it all with these amazing little vignettes.
Some people have expressed surprise (and dismay) over some explicit imagery, but that didn’t stop CARVER from being named by that committee, and I’m hoping the same will be true for this one as well. If I have my way, this will be wearing Newbery, Printz, and Coretta Scott King stickers come January!
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About Jonathan Hunt
Jonathan Hunt is the Coordinator of Library Media Services at the San Diego County Office of Education. He served on the 2006 Newbery committee, and has also judged the Caldecott Medal, the Printz Award, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Awards, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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