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Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope

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From NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, comes a powerful and provocative collection of poems that cut to the heart of the entrenched racism and oppression in America and eloquently explores ongoing events.   A book in the tradition of James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory,”  Light for the World to See is a rap session on r From NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, comes a powerful and provocative collection of poems that cut to the heart of the entrenched racism and oppression in America and eloquently explores ongoing events.   A book in the tradition of James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory,”  Light for the World to See is a rap session on race. A lyrical response to the struggles of Black lives in our world . . . to America’s crisis of conscience . . . to the centuries of loss, endless resilience, and unstoppable hope.   Includes an introduction by the author and a bold, graphically designed interior.


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From NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, comes a powerful and provocative collection of poems that cut to the heart of the entrenched racism and oppression in America and eloquently explores ongoing events.   A book in the tradition of James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory,”  Light for the World to See is a rap session on r From NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author, Kwame Alexander, comes a powerful and provocative collection of poems that cut to the heart of the entrenched racism and oppression in America and eloquently explores ongoing events.   A book in the tradition of James Baldwin’s “A Report from Occupied Territory,”  Light for the World to See is a rap session on race. A lyrical response to the struggles of Black lives in our world . . . to America’s crisis of conscience . . . to the centuries of loss, endless resilience, and unstoppable hope.   Includes an introduction by the author and a bold, graphically designed interior.

30 review for Light for the World to See: A Thousand Words on Race and Hope

  1. 4 out of 5

    Bookishrealm

    THIS. WAS. SO. POWERFUL... I'm not even sure how to explain how beautiful and meaningful this book was to me. This is only my second Kwame Alexander book and I loved it. This book is short and I highly recommend listening to it on audio. It was like listening to spoken word. It is comprised of three poems each detailing the Black experience in America. I don't want to go into details about the poems because that's the beauty of this work. I would highly recommend reading it a few times or listeni THIS. WAS. SO. POWERFUL... I'm not even sure how to explain how beautiful and meaningful this book was to me. This is only my second Kwame Alexander book and I loved it. This book is short and I highly recommend listening to it on audio. It was like listening to spoken word. It is comprised of three poems each detailing the Black experience in America. I don't want to go into details about the poems because that's the beauty of this work. I would highly recommend reading it a few times or listening to it a few times. This is not a book that you will understand in a single sitting. Take your time. Appreciate each word. Examine what meaning Alexander is attempting to make with his work. Either way I believe that this is a book of it's time and I'm so excited to continue to read more from him.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    This came in the mail today, I ripped open the package and read the whole thing standing in my kitchen. Powerful words and interesting visual elements, I can see myself revisiting this often.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tammie

    This was so short and powerful - I'm not the biggest fan of poetry, but this was really impactful. The visuals also enhanced the words which I loved, but I do want to give this a go on audio as well if I can get my hands on it. 10/10 would recommend. This was so short and powerful - I'm not the biggest fan of poetry, but this was really impactful. The visuals also enhanced the words which I loved, but I do want to give this a go on audio as well if I can get my hands on it. 10/10 would recommend.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Krajewski

    I already knew two of the three poems in this book, including The Undefeated, which was the picture book that won the 2020 Caldecott. I love Kwame’s words, for they are powerful and will make readers think, but some words and images aren’t meant to be separated.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Kwame Alexander is a lyrical genius, which I already knew, but now I REALLY KNOW IT. America, read this one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Noelle Kukenas

    Released today and I devoured it. I will read this again and again. It's right up there with James Baldwin's "A Report from Occupied Territory." Released today and I devoured it. I will read this again and again. It's right up there with James Baldwin's "A Report from Occupied Territory."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Armstrong

    I'm going to read this many, many times. I'm going to read this many, many times.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Powerful

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    Kwame Alexander is one of my favorite poets. I love his work. So when I saw this little volume in the bookstore I had to purchase it. I started reading the day I bought it back in October or November, and I intended to finish it during Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving came and went, and I never re-opened it. I decided to complete the foreword, and then go through the individual poems tonight. This took a lot of courage to write. Writers are activists in their own right, and this is the fruit of Alexan Kwame Alexander is one of my favorite poets. I love his work. So when I saw this little volume in the bookstore I had to purchase it. I started reading the day I bought it back in October or November, and I intended to finish it during Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving came and went, and I never re-opened it. I decided to complete the foreword, and then go through the individual poems tonight. This took a lot of courage to write. Writers are activists in their own right, and this is the fruit of Alexander's activism. This book of poetry is Alexander's artistic response to the litany of anti-black racism in the United States. When an African American writer, poet, thinker engages what has happened this summer in America, she or he has to contextualize these painful events. This is what Alexander does in these poems. These poems tell a present story that is rooted in an atrocious past. As a historian I appreciate this. Though I felt the pain reading these poems, I also relished Alexander's artfulness. He is highly intertextual. The title is a rift (let's call it a sample) Mos Def's "Umi Says." In the final poem, Alexander pays tribute to the Poet Laureate of the Harlem Renaissance, Langston Hughes, dropping a plethora of his poetic references. One more thing to add on the art: Alexander kept his signature style of pithy yet dramatic lines that grab the attention. Last thing, this book is meant to be read over and over. I can see myself reading these aloud in my African American history course, or my Black Lives Matter course. I appreciate this little volume so much. And it's the 50th book I've read this strange year. Praise God for books! Praise God for courageous writers!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Angelina

    I really love what Kwame Alexander did with colors and spacing around the poetry: the crosses on the flag, a mini-graveyard of remembrance, yellows and blacks like police-tape everywhere.... The poetry was lovely, but the visuals made it stunning.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Janie

    As Amy said, lyrical genius. 96 pages, usually 3 to 5 words per page. But the human emotions behind those sparse words and scant pages are immeasurable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Beth Anne

    Kwame Alexander sharing three different pieces, beautifully, powerfully, emotionally written from the heart. I’m so glad he shared these with the world.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Three powerful anthems of pain and hope, reflecting on moments past and present and brought to life in a vivid visual presentation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rachael Sandberg

    For so few words, it evokes an avalanche of questions and emotions.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    This book gave me goosebumps. Short, but so impactful. I will always love Alexander’s beautiful work!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Holly

    I found myself choking back a sob at the end of the poem "Take a Knee." This book will take you minutes to read, but if you truly absorb it, it will change you forever. I found myself choking back a sob at the end of the poem "Take a Knee." This book will take you minutes to read, but if you truly absorb it, it will change you forever.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Irene Veney

    I think it was because the poetry was concrete, that I felt every word in this book. It's short but so powerful. Poetry's not my favorite genre, but I know I got every one of Alexander's intentions. I think it was because the poetry was concrete, that I felt every word in this book. It's short but so powerful. Poetry's not my favorite genre, but I know I got every one of Alexander's intentions.

  18. 5 out of 5

    David Clouse

    You can read this book of three poems in probably a few minutes. It was an enjoyable and thought provoking book. Also, the book donates to the Equal Justice Initiative which is pretty cool!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shankar Singh

    You don’t need intricate words to say the Truth.😎 “𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙙𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥 ’𝙩𝙞𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠 𝙤𝙛 𝙙𝙖𝙬𝙣.” Kwame Alexander is a NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author of many books, and this is one of his forceful and provocative collection of poems about racism and oppression in America. In his forward the author recounts his participation, as a kid, in November 7, 1978 school March over Brooklyn Bridge to protest the police killing of Arthur Miller, a Cro You don’t need intricate words to say the Truth.😎 “𝙬𝙝𝙤 𝙨𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙞𝙧 𝙡𝙞𝙜𝙝𝙩 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙡𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙚𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙙𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙥 ’𝙩𝙞𝙡 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙗𝙧𝙚𝙖𝙠 𝙤𝙛 𝙙𝙖𝙬𝙣.” Kwame Alexander is a NPR correspondent and New York Times bestselling author of many books, and this is one of his forceful and provocative collection of poems about racism and oppression in America. In his forward the author recounts his participation, as a kid, in November 7, 1978 school March over Brooklyn Bridge to protest the police killing of Arthur Miller, a Crown Heights Black civic leader. He expresses through his poems how racism and oppression go hand in hand, and are still entrenched in ongoing onslaughts. This whole collection consists of 1000 words as the title suggests. All these poems were written in 2008, 2016 and 2020 respectively. This is a very short collection and it can resonate equally among all age groups. These are simple yet powerful words along with commendable graphic formatting. It seems you can read it hundred times, yet it will evoke the fresh emotions every single time. A powerful and lyrical response to @blacklivesmatter.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Nathan Fisher

    Wow! I read all three of the poems in one sitting, back-to-back-to-back. I had to. They drew me in, gripped me and tossed me in the flow, drawing tears to my eyes with the emotion and sentiment conveyed. The power and the grace of verse. Each poem building and building. Every reference and allusion was powerful, relevant, emotional, and fitting. Subtle or explicit, each brought its own imagery and background. This short book sent me on quite the journey through decades of history yet crawled thro Wow! I read all three of the poems in one sitting, back-to-back-to-back. I had to. They drew me in, gripped me and tossed me in the flow, drawing tears to my eyes with the emotion and sentiment conveyed. The power and the grace of verse. Each poem building and building. Every reference and allusion was powerful, relevant, emotional, and fitting. Subtle or explicit, each brought its own imagery and background. This short book sent me on quite the journey through decades of history yet crawled through recent events at the same time.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maura

    Audiobook review. A book of three poems. Set with music, read by the author, and powerful. I have listened to each poem a few times so far and will do so a few more before returning the book for the next patron. They are rhythmic and truth written in new ways. I am now off to see if the poetry books by my bedside are in audiobook form as it was the best to hear poems read by the poet. (When I downloaded this from the library, I thought there was a mistake. 13 minutes was the time listed. But tha Audiobook review. A book of three poems. Set with music, read by the author, and powerful. I have listened to each poem a few times so far and will do so a few more before returning the book for the next patron. They are rhythmic and truth written in new ways. I am now off to see if the poetry books by my bedside are in audiobook form as it was the best to hear poems read by the poet. (When I downloaded this from the library, I thought there was a mistake. 13 minutes was the time listed. But that’s it. A foreword and three poems.)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Megan Tristao

    With only 1,000 words, Kwame says so much. The graphic design in this short book definitely complemented and enhanced the words of the poems. It seems significant that these poems were written in 2008, 2016 and 2020 ... and it seems nothing has changed. Furthermore, the foreward refers to events of 1978 that draw a straight line to today (and from its past before it). A short, powerful book. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    The Reading Countess

    A brief but powerful collection of poetry by the indomitable Kwame Alexander, narrated by the one and only author and poet himself? Yes, please. You couldn’t ask for better mentor texts for young readers-for any reader. Pointed. Direct, yet oddly metaphorical in the way that only the very best poetry can hit you. Many of his lines will stay with me. Highly recommend, but then, does Alexander ever miss a mark?

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    So I'm going to be honest. I checked out this book from my library this morning because it was by Kwame Alexander, so I knew that it would likely be in verse. I was three books behind for my 2020 reading challenge goal, and so I thought, "hey, let's look for books that are short and can help me make it." I wasn't expecting that 1,000 words could say as much as this book did. So powerful. Definitely recommend for anyone. While I read this quickly, the words will sit with me as I go into 2021, hopi So I'm going to be honest. I checked out this book from my library this morning because it was by Kwame Alexander, so I knew that it would likely be in verse. I was three books behind for my 2020 reading challenge goal, and so I thought, "hey, let's look for books that are short and can help me make it." I wasn't expecting that 1,000 words could say as much as this book did. So powerful. Definitely recommend for anyone. While I read this quickly, the words will sit with me as I go into 2021, hoping to effect change. Beautiful, painful, powerful.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amy Day

    This book was the perfect one to launch 2021 for me. His poetry, as always, is so lyrical and poignant. It always amazes me how he is able to convey such depth and emotion in so few words. I love his audiobooks and hearing him speak his words, but I'd do recommend also reading the print copy of this book as well. The graphics and spacing and colors added extra impact to his text. A definite read. Thank you, Mr. Alexander for another gem. This book was the perfect one to launch 2021 for me. His poetry, as always, is so lyrical and poignant. It always amazes me how he is able to convey such depth and emotion in so few words. I love his audiobooks and hearing him speak his words, but I'd do recommend also reading the print copy of this book as well. The graphics and spacing and colors added extra impact to his text. A definite read. Thank you, Mr. Alexander for another gem.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    This book is light in physical weight but heavy in spirit. It packs a serious punch in 1,000 words. The imagery of Kwame as a young man, marching across the bridge, and then the unfolding into his beautiful poetry was perfect. I read this standing up at my desk accidentally after getting caught by the first page and not being able to put it down. It’s short and easy to read, but has true depth.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay Bolender

    Such a moving set of poems. All centered on Black Lives Matter, they show the ridiculous juxtaposition of standards (or lack thereof) for living and surviving that must be endured by black people in the United States. Kwame Alexander’s signature visuals add dimension to the poems, and his voice makes the message clear and unmistakable. I will likely read this over and over again.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    Light for the World to See is a super quick poetry format book that will be great for creative writing classes. Would also be great for prompting in depth discussions about the current state of racism in our country. Powerful words and deeply thought provoking.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mary E.

    This is beautiful set of poems that are really inspiring and, I'll say it again, beautiful! It's a quick read, so I was able to read it about 100 times! Kwame Alexander is able to pack so much meaning and feeling into these poems, it's absolutely amazing! This is beautiful set of poems that are really inspiring and, I'll say it again, beautiful! It's a quick read, so I was able to read it about 100 times! Kwame Alexander is able to pack so much meaning and feeling into these poems, it's absolutely amazing!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Angie

    Absolutely incredible! It brought tears to my eyes and I am recommending to everyone. This is only the second of Alexander's books I have read, but I loved the first one as well and I'm adding others to my my to-read list. He is an exceptional voice! Absolutely incredible! It brought tears to my eyes and I am recommending to everyone. This is only the second of Alexander's books I have read, but I loved the first one as well and I'm adding others to my my to-read list. He is an exceptional voice!

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