Cover image for Carl Sandburg : adventures of a poet
Carl Sandburg : adventures of a poet
Niven, Penelope.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Orlando, Fla. : Harcourt, [2003]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Traces the life of the American poet, journalist, and historian who won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the Pulitzer Prize for History.
Reading Level:
990 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.9 1.0 69595.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 5.8 3 Quiz: 33858 Guided reading level: T.
Electronic Access:
Publisher description
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3537.A618 Z787 2003 Juvenile Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Hobo. Soldier. Reporter. Musician. Husband and father. Storyteller. Historian.
Carl Sandburg was all of these things. But he distinguished himself above all as the Poet of the People, a traveler and dreamer who carried poems, stories, and songs in his heart--and shared them with the many people he met in his travels. Seamlessly joining scenes from Sandburg's life, highlights from his poems and prose, and historically detailed illustrations, this thorough and thoughtful portrait turns biography into its own adventure.
A time line and notes about the illustrations supplement the text.

Author Notes

Penelope Niven received a bachelor's degree from Greensboro College and a master's degree in English from Wake Forest University. She wrote several books during her lifetime including Carl Sandburg: A Biography, Steichen: A Biography, Thornton Wilder: A Life, and Swimming Lessons. She co-wrote Voices and Silences with James Earl Jones. She won the International Reading Association Prize for Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet in 2003 and the North Carolina Award in Literature. She was the writer-in-residence at Salem College for 12 years. She died on August 29, 2014 at the age of 75.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 2-5. Niven spent more than 14 years preparing her adult book Carl Sandburg (1991). In this handsome picture-book biography, she draws on her extensive research to present bits of Sandburg's life and work that will have special appeal to children. An opening spread briefly reviews Sandburg's life from his birth on a corn-husk mattress to his earning the title Poet of the People. Subsequent pages tell Sandburg's story using his various identities, New American, Vagabond, Soldier, ournalist, Family Man, Poet. Each spread comprises Niven's distilled, anecdotal prose, a selection of Sandburg's writing, and detailed pen-and-watercolor images. On a few pages, the illustrations threaten to overwhelm the poetry with literal imagery. But Nadel's fine draftsmanship and beautiful compositions, including portraits of Sandburg, will delight many readers, and the book's creative, accessible format allows children not only to learn about Sandburg's life and accomplishments but also to come away with a strong sense of the man: his mischievous humor, his devotion to his family, and his powerful vision. A time line matching Sandburg's life with historic events reminds young readers why historical context is important:ust as one person can help change the world, world events can change individual lives. --Gillian Engberg Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

With grace and insight, Niven funnels the prodigious scholarship of her adult title Carl Sandburg, A Biography into a welcoming, child-friendly story; her thoughtful presentation almost mirrors the accessibility for which Sandburg was dubbed the "Poet of the People." Each spread embraces a single aspect of Sandburg's life and presents a related excerpt from his writing. On the left of the spread, supple, anecdote-filled prose chronicles, for example, the teenage Carl's two-mile walk to work as a "milk slinger" (milk deliverer). "On icy winter days, he trudged along the gravel bed of the railroad tracks. Carl's feet nearly froze... He was always glad when spring came." On the facing page, the poem "Just Before April Came" implicitly connects that experience to his art. Niven adds historical context too, linking events of the Spanish-American War to the poet's time as a soldier and to the verses of "New Feet," his meditation on how "empty battlefields keep their phantoms." Nadel's (Hour of Freedom: American History in Poetry) period-flavored, crosshatched watercolors suggest similarly attentive research, their crisp images drawn from family and archival photographs. On the excerpt pages, straightforward, full-page depictions flesh out the poems, while a spot illustration brightens the pages with biographical exposition. A timeline, cleverly organized around a series of railroad ties, displays pivotal events in the poet's life and in the world around him. Ages 6-9. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-8-Niven pairs carefully chosen details about Sandburg's life with specific poems and prose excerpts, creating a vivid picture of both the man and his work. The handsome watercolor-and-crosshatch illustrations combine realism with a touch of whimsy. An intriguing and enlightening biography. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.