Book Review–Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown


Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People by Monica Brown, illustrated by Julie Paschkis

Follow the transformation of a young boy named Neftali into the poet Pablo Neruda.  The book starts with Neruda’s childhood and moves through his life as he begins to write poetry in his signature green ink.  His connection to nature is emphasized throughout the book from his love of the sea to the stones of Chile.  It also speaks to his love of children and his growth into a fighter for workers’ rights.  This is a lovely, quick glimpse of an amazing poet.

Brown’s words are simple and accessible to children.  She manages to explore Neruda’s inspirations without losing her young audience.  Rather she talks in detail about what inspired his poetry, what he meant as a person, and where he came from.  It is a powerful way to look at Neruda and his work.

The art by Paschkis is extraordinary.  Her paintings combine moments throughout Neruda’s life with words.  The words grow on leaves and trees.  They show in the sun and the moon.  They form the very ground.  It is an expressive way to show the power of words in Neruda’s life as well as how they came from all that surrounds him.

Explore Neruda through beautifully simple text and illustrations that have words streaming through them.  Appropriate for ages 5-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt.