Seeing Into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright. Nina Crews, Illus. Poetry. Millbrook, 02/2018. 32pp. PLB $19.97. 978-1-5124-1865-1. HIGH ADDITIONAL. GRADES K-4 .
Richard Wright wrote more than 4,000 haiku, most in the last year when he lived in France. Twelve very nice ones have been chosen here depicting African American boys in the dailiness of their lives. Artist, illustrator, and designer Nina Crews has combined her own photos of African American boys and her own imagery into photocollages to work along with the haiku to show the “wonder in the world around him” [Wright]. Overall, they are very successful double-page spreads, but once in awhile I find it jarring that she changes type size for no apparent reason. The book finishes with a note on haiku, a bio of Wright, an illuminating note on the illustrations, a further reading list, and an invitation to the reader to write haiku! Wright creates haiku according to the English version of the Japanese form.
These 12 are all quite successful, and I have read a large selection of his haiku previously. He was very committed to this part of his writing practice: “A spring sky so clear/ That you feel you are seeing/ Into tomorrow.”
Alan Bern, Berkeley Public Library