- ISBN-13: 9780375841507
- ISBN-10: 0375841504
- Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books
- Publish Date: September 2008
- Page Count: 40
- Reading Level: Ages 6-9
- Dimensions: 9.8 x 10.64 x 0.41 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.06 pounds
Picture books capture the delights of the season
One of the year's most interesting holiday books is Maya Angelou's Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem. The celebrated poet first read this poem at the 2005 White House tree-lighting ceremony, and now it graces the pages of a picture book. The poem isn't an obvious choice for a children's bookit's philosophical, thought-provoking and full of big words like covenant, rancor and apprehension. Yet it is a powerful messagesermon-likeand a good one for children to hear. (The book also comes with a CD, so readers can hear Angelou's majestic voice reading.)
Angelou discusses how what she calls the "Glad Season" appears amid "fear and apprehension," bringing people together. She writes: "We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and Nonbelievers, / Look heavenward and speak the word aloud. / Peace." The book's artwork is equally luminous, providing a storylike backdrop for Angelou's verse. Using both fabric collage and paint, artists Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher have created illustrations full of depth, texture and light that blend naturally with Angelou's words. They depict parents and two children walking in a small snowy mountain town at Christmastime. They visit a glassblowing artist and purchase a small, glass Christmas tree. They walk to the townhall for a community candlelighting ceremony, joining with townspeople of many races and ages to celebrate the season of peace.
Amazing Peace makes a lovely gift, no matter what your religion or politics. It's an enriching book for readers to turn to year after year, with an all-encompassing message that will never grow old.