Books & Literature

Book Review: Navigate Your Stars, by Jesmyn Ward

MEMOIR: A stirring reflection on the value of hard work and the importance of respect for oneself and others.

A beautiful and heartfelt adult picture book about resilience and gratitude.

First delivered as a commencement address at Tulane University in 2018, this gorgeous bite-sized picture book tells a story of resilience and persistence.

Ward grew up in a poor, rural community in Mississippi to become the first woman to win the National Book Award for Fiction twice. She is considered to be one of America’s greatest living writers.

In this coffee-table gem, she gives a focussed account of her upbringing and how it provided her with the dedication, education and inner strength to achieve the success she’s had to date.

Navigate Your Stars opens with the line “Good morning, y’all. I want to tell you a story.” This humble beginning sets the tone for the down-to-earth memoir that follows, and the lessons imparted that encourage the reader to “Hold fast to your oars, hoist the sails to the wind..” even if “the soil may have its own perils.”

The story is simple and full of gratitude, told with loving reflection of her grandmother, parents and experiences. It is a story of hope, happiness and overcoming the odds.

Navigate Your Stars takes less than half an hour to read with the few words per page enhanced by the stunning full-colour illustrations by Gina Triplett. The book is truly beautiful in its lyrical prose and visual appeal. It will sit proud on a coffee table and is sure to encourage conversation.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Distributed by: Bloomsbury Australia
Released: July 2020
RRP: $19.99

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