America the Beautiful, illustrated by Wendell Minor
Who among us, old or young, has not heard or sung that most stirring of poems set to music, written by one Katharine Lee Bates entitled, “America the Beautiful.” After reading this book with its masterful paintings of the depth and variety of the American landscape, parents, grandparents and kids alike will come away with a renewed appreciation for this land which has a third stanza so appropriate to Memorial Day:
O beautiful for heroes prov’d
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life.
In the introduction, Mr. Minor speaks of Katharine Lee Bates trip in 1893 by train, from her home in Cape Cod to Colorado. Keeping a diary on her trip, this professor of English captured first hand, her intimate reflections as she journeyed west. Those reflections became the basis of the poem.
Mr. Minor’s paintings, capturing the diverse landscape of “sea to shining sea”, bring this poem stirringly alive and newly appreciated. It is a worthy addition to any young reader’s library.
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