Ego Tripping and Other Poems for Young People, by Nikki Giovanni

Ego Tripping and Other Poems for Young People. By Nikki Giovanni.  Illustrated by George Ford.  Lawrence Hill Books, 1993 (1973).  76 pages. $14.95

Content: Highly acclaimed poet, writer, and scholar Nikki Giovanni, wrote this collection of 32 poems specifically for young people.  Giovanni writes about African American lives and experiences; Ego Tripping and the other poems in this book cover a wide breadth of topics from love on a snowy day and musical rhythms to Black Power, discrimination, and the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr.  The feelings and expression in the writing will take readers on a journey through the history, beauty, struggles, pride, and successes of African American experiences.  George Ford’s sepia tone illustrations are rich and powerful.

Review: Melodic, rhythmic, and rich, Giovanni’s poetry is emotional, expressive, and deep.  Great for reading aloud, these poems move and inform their readers.  The original Ego Tripping and Other Poems for Young People was written in 1973, this version, published 20 years later, contains ten more poems than the original.  Though some references may be dated, and there is definitely a 70’s vibe to many of the poems, the feelings evoked and sentiments stated are every bit as relevant today as they were when the poems were written.  In fact, the poems themselves often pay homage to historical figures and events, so reading these poems today feels consistent with honoring history.  Giovanni deftly manages to express deep beauty and warmth while not ignoring the pain and struggle that often occur at the same time.

Genre(s): Poetry

Reading/Interest Level: 10+ years

Available in: Hardcover, Paperback

ISBN: 978-0613249928

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