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Dream a Dress, Dream a Poem

Dream a Dress, Dream a Poem

ISBN: 9781951836535
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By Nancy Johnson James; illustrated by Diana Ejaita
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A poetic picture book biography about blind Black poet Myra Viola Wilds, written by the author of Brown: The Many Shades of Love

What dreams do you carry? Myra Viola Wilds dreamed of opportunity. She left her home in rural Kentucky for the city, learned to read and to write, and became a dressmaker. She hand-stitched gorgeous gowns. She worked so hard she lost her eyesight, and her world went dark. But those well-loved stitches turned into words, and one night Myra woke in the middle of the night and wrote a poem she called “Sunshine.” She kept writing. She wrote the lush green, sweet-corn yellow, cerulean blue, sunshine-y world from memory, collecting her poems into a book called Thoughts of Idle Hours, published in 1915.

Written in Wilds’s style, this lyrical, gorgeously illustrated picture book biography celebrates this little-known poet and includes a biography that provides context to her life—the Great Migration, Jim Crow segregation—as well a photograph and a small selection of her poems.