In the silent beauty of her mother's garden and the mysterious woods behind it, [Alice] Walker observed nature. In doing so, she developed an early love of the land and all that grows on it. The seeds of both her writing and her activism are deeply planted there. Much of Lazo's biography of Alice Walker discusses the award-winning author's writings and her activism. In many ways, this book reads more like a history text or a feminist essay than a biography; Walker's life and work were born of her passion for the Civil Rights and women's liberation movements. Walker's accomplishments were remarkable: She was the first black woman to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for literature, and she transformed American literature courses at Wellesley College by introducing black writers into the curriculum. This book offers valuable information about Walker's writing and work and is quite comprehensible, but readers might come away not really knowing the woman herself. Many photographs seem impersonal, adding to the impression that one is reading history not an intimate biography. Nevertheless this book will be useful as a classroom introduction to the civil rights movement and will serve as an overture to Walker's novels in literature courses. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P M (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in the subject; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8). 2000, Lerner, 112p, Index, Illus., Photos, Source Notes, Biblio., Further Reading. Ages 12 to 14. Reviewer: Elizabeth Wetherson VOYA, February 2001 (Vol. 23, No.6)
- Children's Literature
The life of Alice Walker, the first African American to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, is a perfect example of what one can achieve with the love and support of parents and family even though they have limited means. Losing the sight of one eye during play with her brothers could have permanently damaged her self esteem. With her family's aid Alice was able to obtain the necessary surgery to remove the "glob" on her eye that made her feel that she was unpleasant to look at. In addition to her early childhood, the author relates aspects of her personal life, her marriage, her work with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during the Civil Rights movement, and her commitment to confront such unpopular issues as female genital mutilation. Part of the "Lerner Biographies" series. 2000, Lerner Publications, Ages 9 to 12, $25.26. Reviewer: Leila Toledo
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-A short, clearly written socio-literary biography that presents its subject as an important author, a social activist, and a kind of moral-cum-mystical pathfinder. Unfortunately, the writing is overly sweet and verges on becoming a paean to Walker the role model, instead of a profile of Walker the woman. Lazo too often dismisses negative critical reception of the author's work. There are lots of well-chosen, black-and-white photographs. For students who just want an easy read about a popular literary figure, this book will be a blessedly brief step toward completing an assignment. If you need biographical material on Walker you could probably do worse.-Herman Sutter, Saint Agnes Academy, Houston, TX Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.