Navigate Your Stars
A revelatory, uplifting, and gorgeously illustrated meditation on dedication, hard work, and the power of perseverance from the beloved, New York Times bestselling, and two-time National Book Award–winning Jesmyn Ward.For Tulane University’s 2018 commencement, Jesmyn Ward delivered a stirring speech about the value of hard work and the importance of respect for oneself and others. Speaking about the challenges she and her family overcame, Ward inspired everyone in the audience with her meditation on tenacity in the face of hardship. Now, in book form, Ward’s moving words will inspire readers as they prepare for the next chapter in their lives, whether, like Ward, they are the first in their families to graduate from college or are preceded by generations, or whether they are embarking on a different kind of journey later in life. Beautifully illustrated in full color by Gina Triplett, this gorgeous and profound book will charm a generation of students—and their parents. Ward’s inimitable voice shines through as she shares her experience as a Southern black woman and addresses the themes of grit, adversity, and the importance of family bonds. Navigate Your Stars is a perfect gift for anyone in need of inspiration from the author of Salvage the Bones, Men We Reaped, and Sing, Unburied, Sing.

Navigate Your Stars Details

TitleNavigate Your Stars
Author
ReleaseApr 7th, 2020
PublisherScribner
ISBN-139781982131326
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Writing, Essays, Cultural, African American, Autobiography, Memoir, Audiobook

Navigate Your Stars Review

  • Julie Ehlers
    January 1, 1970
    Navigate Your Stars is one of those books that comes out around graduation time; it is itself a commencement speech the author delivered in 2018 at Tulane. A lot of these sorts of speeches are expanded upon for the book version, but this one doesn't seem to be—it is a very small amount of text, spread out over a pretty small amount of pages. The message is also a fairly basic one: We all find ourselves in varied circumstances in life and constantly have to make choices; we should try to follow o Navigate Your Stars is one of those books that comes out around graduation time; it is itself a commencement speech the author delivered in 2018 at Tulane. A lot of these sorts of speeches are expanded upon for the book version, but this one doesn't seem to be—it is a very small amount of text, spread out over a pretty small amount of pages. The message is also a fairly basic one: We all find ourselves in varied circumstances in life and constantly have to make choices; we should try to follow our curiosity, work hard, and persist. It's very prettily illustrated by Philadelphia artist Gina Triplett. Honestly, Jesmyn Ward seems awesome and I want to read some of her full-length books, but this one isn't really worth buying for yourself. I do think it would make a good gift for a graduate, especially if you enclose a check with it, but I always think a book is the best gift so consider the source.I won this ARC in a Shelf Awareness GLOW (galley love of the week) giveaway. Thank you to the publisher.
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  • Raymond
    January 1, 1970
    Jesmyn Ward has written a powerful commencement speech, now in book form, that teaches the reader about the importance of education, not just in the formal classroom sense but also the education that life experiences teach you. Ward uses her unique backstory of coming from Mississippi and the limits that were placed on her black family members, how education was not enough, and how working was crucial to her current success. This speech is for those who don't get the lucky breaks. If you need in Jesmyn Ward has written a powerful commencement speech, now in book form, that teaches the reader about the importance of education, not just in the formal classroom sense but also the education that life experiences teach you. Ward uses her unique backstory of coming from Mississippi and the limits that were placed on her black family members, how education was not enough, and how working was crucial to her current success. This speech is for those who don't get the lucky breaks. If you need inspiration, read this book. Get lost in the beautiful illustrations by Gina Tripplett. Although it's a perfect message for graduates, I think people of all ages will find this little but powerful book influential. Read it and read it again, and again. Then continue to work hard and persist as Jesmyn advises.
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  • Never Without a Book
    January 1, 1970
    Why did I get super emotional reading this? I don't know! No matter how long or short her books are, Ward just has a way with words. The art work in this book is so beautiful.
  • Misty
    January 1, 1970
    I needed this beautiful reminder. There's a new beginning in every moment. Keep on keeping on.
  • robin friedman
    January 1, 1970
    Navigate Your StarsJesmyn Ward won the National Book Award in 2011 for her second novel, "Salvage the Bones". In 2017, Ward received a MacArthur "genius" grant together with her second National Book Award for her third novel "Sing, Unburied, Sing". Ward delivered the commencement address at Tulane University, where she is a professor of creative writing, in 2018. Her speech has been published in this beautiful short book, "Navigate your Stars" with illustrations by the Philadelphia artist, Gina Navigate Your StarsJesmyn Ward won the National Book Award in 2011 for her second novel, "Salvage the Bones". In 2017, Ward received a MacArthur "genius" grant together with her second National Book Award for her third novel "Sing, Unburied, Sing". Ward delivered the commencement address at Tulane University, where she is a professor of creative writing, in 2018. Her speech has been published in this beautiful short book, "Navigate your Stars" with illustrations by the Philadelphia artist, Gina Triplett. I loved Ward's novels and read her address both for itself and for the insight it might offer into her life and her writings.The Tulane graduates were fortunate to hear Ward speak. But readers are, perhaps, more fortunate to be able to have the book in hand to read and to think about what she said. Ward's speech offers a brief autobiography in which she reflects on her family, her education, and her decision to become a writer. She also offers wise, inspiring counsel to her audience and to her readers.I found much to ponder in this little book, prepared for a formalized occasion. Ward describes how she learned that education was a life-long project, rather than a process which ended with a diploma. She describes how she came over life to an appreciation of her family members who were uneducated and who made what they could of the situations that life presented to them. Perhaps the most important lesson Ward learned occurred when she returned to rural Mississippi upon received her degree. When her brother was killed in an automobile accident, Ward "questioned all that I thought I knew, shocked at the unpredictability of life, the irrefutable fact of death." Ward tells a story of perseverance and of the long, difficult path of finding and realizing her dream in becoming a writer:"Sometimes you are twenty when you stumble upon an open doorway. Sometimes, you are thirty. Sometimes you are forty, or fifty, or sixty. I remembered this when I felt like giving up, when I thought I'd pack all my notebooks and stories into plastic bags and put them away, when I thought I would resign them to the recycling bin."Readers will find Ward's address and this short book inspiring as part of a lifelong attempt to learn and to navigate one's stars.Robin Friedman
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  • Brittany
    January 1, 1970
    The illustrations throughout this are gorgeous. In it, Ward shares valuable wisdom learned from her life. She reminds us that we should persist and persevere as we follow our dreams, not to give up if something doesn't come easily, and to see the value in the way others have lived their lives. Moving words + beautiful imagery = fantastic short work.
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  • Reid
    January 1, 1970
    Sweet, though not particularly original. In her defense, what can one say that is new in a commencement address? The take home seems to be: college is not the end of the road for learning and hard work, but only the beginning. One would hope that any college graduate would already get this, but just in case....The illustrations are wonderful and apropos. A brief and easy read from one of the best authors writing today.
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  • Maridith Geuder
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this meditation on persistence, hard work, and the rewards of following your dreams. Every sentence is something to savor. Every illustration is breathtaking. I am inspired by words such as these: “My years in college and afterward taught me this: success is not the result of making one good choice, of taking one step. Real success requires step, after step, after step, after step. It requires choice after choice, it demands lifelong education and pa I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of this meditation on persistence, hard work, and the rewards of following your dreams. Every sentence is something to savor. Every illustration is breathtaking. I am inspired by words such as these: “My years in college and afterward taught me this: success is not the result of making one good choice, of taking one step. Real success requires step, after step, after step, after step. It requires choice after choice, it demands lifelong education and passion and commitment and persistence and hunger and patience.” I want to share this illustrated essay with everyone I know.
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  • Danna
    January 1, 1970
    "I didn’t understand that the legacy of history and intergenerational poverty and trauma meant that most of them asked themselves these questions when they were teenagers: Should I continue to go to school, or should I work? Should I buy propane and wood, or should I freeze? Should I eat, or should I starve? "I didn’t understand that writing a different story for myself meant that I had to not only make wise choices—plural—but have the gift of luck and better circumstances as well."Navigate Your "I didn’t understand that the legacy of history and intergenerational poverty and trauma meant that most of them asked themselves these questions when they were teenagers: Should I continue to go to school, or should I work? Should I buy propane and wood, or should I freeze? Should I eat, or should I starve? "I didn’t understand that writing a different story for myself meant that I had to not only make wise choices—plural—but have the gift of luck and better circumstances as well."Navigate Your Stars is an illustrated version of a speech Jesmyn Ward gave to the graduating class at Tulane in 2018. It demonstrates grit, perseverance, and the overcoming of obstacles, with a focus on the obstacles inherent for a poor black female growing up in the South. As Ward writes:"Success is not the result of making one good choice, of taking one step. Real success requires step, after step, after step, after step. It requires choice after choice, it demands life-long education and passion and commitment and persistence and hunger and patience."I found Navigate Your Stars inspirational. While I don't claim to identify with Ward's challenges, I am motivated by the encouragement to push myself, accept that rejection and shortfalls are part of the process, and that success is more often a rocky journey than a straight line. The illustrations that accompany Ward's words are beautiful; they demonstrate pain and celebrate strength and the other emotions laced within the prose. This is a very quick read, accessible to most ages (I could see this being an excellent middle grade study), that packs a lot in. Highly recommended.
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  • Rachel
    January 1, 1970
    A speech given by Jesmyn Ward at Tulane University’s 2018 Commencement, it is now accompanied by Gina Triplett’s bold and vivid illustrations. This is a slender piece, as it is simply a speech, but it delivers a powerful message. Drawing upon her own life, Jesmyn relates a modern-day “road less traveled” when it comes to making choices and holding fast to your dreams. Although I’m not a fan of Robert Frost (hold your gasps), I am a fan of Ward’s honest reflection of her feelings regarding educat A speech given by Jesmyn Ward at Tulane University’s 2018 Commencement, it is now accompanied by Gina Triplett’s bold and vivid illustrations. This is a slender piece, as it is simply a speech, but it delivers a powerful message. Drawing upon her own life, Jesmyn relates a modern-day “road less traveled” when it comes to making choices and holding fast to your dreams. Although I’m not a fan of Robert Frost (hold your gasps), I am a fan of Ward’s honest reflection of her feelings regarding education, her thoughts on her family as a teenager and now as an adult, and her encouragement to work hard and have patience for life is different for us all. Released in April 2020, this is especially poignant for this year’s graduating class. Highly recommended.Thanks to Simon & Schuster for the advanced copy.
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  • Judi
    January 1, 1970
    Ward's speech to the 2018 Tulane graduating class is a reminder that we should refrain from judgement until we understand. She speaks of her youthful pride and the experiences that put her feet back on the ground. Throughout, the love and support of her family form a consistent theme acting as the foundation she falls on when all else seems to lost. This is an inspiring challenge to all who read it to hold fast to the dream, persist, and stay committed to the goal.Audio "readers" will miss out o Ward's speech to the 2018 Tulane graduating class is a reminder that we should refrain from judgement until we understand. She speaks of her youthful pride and the experiences that put her feet back on the ground. Throughout, the love and support of her family form a consistent theme acting as the foundation she falls on when all else seems to lost. This is an inspiring challenge to all who read it to hold fast to the dream, persist, and stay committed to the goal.Audio "readers" will miss out on the beautiful illustrations by Gina Triplett. Each page's artwork carries the reader to the next and augments the emotions of Ward's words.
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  • Kayle
    January 1, 1970
    I love everything that Jesmym Ward puts her hand to and this is no exception. The text is her 2018 commencement speech at Tulane University and it's reaffirming and enlightening no matter where you are in your life's journey. She reflects on history, heritage, youthful hubris, and perseverance in a way that just resonates with me. In everything she does, including this piece of encouragement, she centers Southern Black people and I love her for it.I played myself by checking out the audiobook b I love everything that Jesmym Ward puts her hand to and this is no exception. The text is her 2018 commencement speech at Tulane University and it's reaffirming and enlightening no matter where you are in your life's journey. She reflects on history, heritage, youthful hubris, and perseverance in a way that just resonates with me. In everything she does, including this piece of encouragement, she centers Southern Black people and I love her for it.I played myself by checking out the audiobook because I missed out on what I'm sure are glorious illustrations, but will 100% be ordering this book from my favorite indie bookstore and probably gifting it to a lot of people. Highly recommend for anyone questioning their way or starting off on a new path.
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  • Alix
    January 1, 1970
    "...for many others, success comes after thousands of hours of work, and lucky breaks, and study, and heartbreak, and loss, and wandering". A great little book about perseverance in the face of difficulties.
  • Deidre
    January 1, 1970
    Well that was lovely! I didn’t realize when I started listening to this that it was college commencement speech. I finished college about twenty years ago, but this still touched me. I listened during my evening walk and it was perfect for that.
  • Megan Tristao
    January 1, 1970
    My new go-to gift for graduates! It gave me goosebumps. And the print version is gorgeously illustrated. (I listened to the audio while I looked at the book so Jesmyn could "read to me." Yes, it is one of the better ideas I've had in my whole life.)
  • kendraahampton
    January 1, 1970
    Absolutely raw and beautiful.
  • Morgan
    January 1, 1970
    I didn't realize this is her Tulane commencement address--it's very short. Great messages. Bumped up to 4 stars because of the illustrations.
  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    Short, motivational, wise advice for graduates or any age.
  • Jaclyn Bauer
    January 1, 1970
    Jesmyn Ward, two-time winner of the National Book Award, is releasing a print version of a commencement speech she gave at Tulane University in 2018. Illustrated by Gina Triplett, Navigate Your Stars is a lush and moving piece of work.The speech, now in book form, traces Ward’s own life back to her roots in a rural, black community. Ward shares the judgements she passed on, what she saw as, her apathetic family and begins to unravel the narrative of her history. Leading readers through her own s Jesmyn Ward, two-time winner of the National Book Award, is releasing a print version of a commencement speech she gave at Tulane University in 2018. Illustrated by Gina Triplett, Navigate Your Stars is a lush and moving piece of work.The speech, now in book form, traces Ward’s own life back to her roots in a rural, black community. Ward shares the judgements she passed on, what she saw as, her apathetic family and begins to unravel the narrative of her history. Leading readers through her own struggles with what it means to be someone who does their best and still doesn’t get anywhere, Ward sets up a situation with which many will be familiar.If you grew up anywhere in the Gen X to Millennial generation, you’ve probably been given the spiel of how important it is to go to college. Like many, Ward believed college to be the end all and be all of her life. If only she could go to college, then…she would be a success, she would have a good job, she would be happy. As many postgraduates can attest, this is not the reality that is experienced first-hand.Ward takes the time in Navigate Your Stars to remind readers that life is about more than making a single good choice. It’s about hard work, perseverance, and doing the best you can with what you have. In the end, Ward reflects back on her previous judgements of her family and realizes how unfair they were. As people of color living within the confines of systemic poverty and institutionalized racism, she realizes they did the best they could with what they had, and really that’s all anyone can do.A deeply poignant work, Navigate Your Stars is both comforting and rousing. Ward reveals the most vulnerable parts of herself, admitting failure and showing readers that even (most) famous writers don’t get to where they end up easily.FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.
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  • thewanderingjew
    January 1, 1970
    Navigate Your Stars, Jesmyn WardHaving read several books by this author, I eagerly looked forward to reading her latest brief, but very poignant, beautifully illustrated, inspirational book. I received an uncorrected proof which I immediately sat down and read. I was not disappointed.The prose is easy to read, her suggestions are common sense and her background is similar to mine in many ways. I am sure there are many others who will also identify with her experiences and her advice. The enviro Navigate Your Stars, Jesmyn WardHaving read several books by this author, I eagerly looked forward to reading her latest brief, but very poignant, beautifully illustrated, inspirational book. I received an uncorrected proof which I immediately sat down and read. I was not disappointed.The prose is easy to read, her suggestions are common sense and her background is similar to mine in many ways. I am sure there are many others who will also identify with her experiences and her advice. The environment in which my family lived was hostile for religious and other reasons. Jesmyn Ward’s environment was hostile for racial and economic reasons. Her parents, like mine, encouraged her to work hard to get ahead; to do this, she, like I, was told to “go to college”. Some doors were closed to us, some remain closed today. I found it inspiring that we had so much in common, especially with regard to a philosophy of life that was imparted to us by our parents. Jesmyn gives the reader a more considered piece of advice than our parents gave us. She advises that after we work hard, we should keep working hard, we should not give up. If we don’t succeed, we should persist, have patience and keep trying. I think it is great advice from a great author!Also, I think this book can show the world that race and creed are not the roadblocks to unity that we make them. We actually might have far more in common if we stopped and truly got to know each other. In the current political environment, it is really good advice to keep on trying!
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  • Deborah
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to Scribner for the complimentary advanced copy of NAVIGATE YOUR STARS by Jesmyn Ward!NAVIGATE YOUR STARS uses the Tulane University 2018 commencement speech given Jesmyn Ward and brings it together with illustrations by Gina Triplett to deliver a powerful message. The speech is part memoir and part inspiration, delving into the author’s history and that of her family. She encourages graduates to recognize that a degree is not an automatic ticket to success, but that each person must f Thank you to Scribner for the complimentary advanced copy of NAVIGATE YOUR STARS by Jesmyn Ward!NAVIGATE YOUR STARS uses the Tulane University 2018 commencement speech given Jesmyn Ward and brings it together with illustrations by Gina Triplett to deliver a powerful message. The speech is part memoir and part inspiration, delving into the author’s history and that of her family. She encourages graduates to recognize that a degree is not an automatic ticket to success, but that each person must find their own path through hard work and opportunity.I really enjoyed this little book and certainly its message about overcoming difficulties is especially poignant at the moment. Though our backgrounds are very different, there was much in Ward’s history that resonated with me. College was a given for me growing up, it was what one did to get ahead in life. Like me, Ward graduated college with a degree in English and had a bit of time where she wasn’t sure what came next.Jesmyn Ward is the author of many books that I have really loved and her voice rings through in this speech. The illustrations are beautiful and capture the mood of Ward’s story, from times of hardship and grief to the triumph of finding her path.I can see this as a wonderful graduation gift for those completing their education. As I was reading it, I especially had those in mind who are having the least normal of senior years right now that I could imagine!NAVIGATE YOUR STARS will be out on 4/7/2020!
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  • Heather
    January 1, 1970
    I think this beautifully illustrated picture book is best suited for young adults - middle school through college. I related to Ward's early thinking that education was the most important thing and the ticket out of difficult circumstances. As an adult, I know that it's necessary but not sufficient. So much depends on luck, timing, and the decisions we make at every turn. I think her message of persistence is so important. She left college wanting to write but not being very good at it. Instead I think this beautifully illustrated picture book is best suited for young adults - middle school through college. I related to Ward's early thinking that education was the most important thing and the ticket out of difficult circumstances. As an adult, I know that it's necessary but not sufficient. So much depends on luck, timing, and the decisions we make at every turn. I think her message of persistence is so important. She left college wanting to write but not being very good at it. Instead of giving up, she took the jobs she needed to take to survive and set out to learn to write well. I am so grateful she did since I've learned so much from what she's written. I think so many people, when they find they're not as good at something as they wish they were, think that they'll never be good at it, instead of thinking that they're not good at it yet and working to master it. As Ward has, I've also learned deep respect for people I know who have worked really hard and made the best they could out of their circumstances even if it wasn't all that they may have hoped and dreamed for. I think this book would make an excellent graduation gift.
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  • John
    January 1, 1970
    In this very brief book Jesmyn Ward - winner of two National Book Awards - shares the testimony of the lessons learnt from the struggles encountered on her particular road to adulthood and the new perspective it brings of how you understand the lives of your parents and grandparents. I expected more from the book based on its review. I am perhaps too old to find anything new in this expanded version of the “Keep calm and carry on” theme that has recently taken hold of the popular imagination. I In this very brief book Jesmyn Ward - winner of two National Book Awards - shares the testimony of the lessons learnt from the struggles encountered on her particular road to adulthood and the new perspective it brings of how you understand the lives of your parents and grandparents. I expected more from the book based on its review. I am perhaps too old to find anything new in this expanded version of the “Keep calm and carry on” theme that has recently taken hold of the popular imagination. I can see how the book could be a source of encouragement to those in their 20s and 30s. But the problem with most of these motivational messages is that they are ex post. For example, if you are in the early part of your life and experiencing failure / rejection, advice to ‘be patient and cling tenaciously to a course you love by taking one step at a time’ is no help at all to solve the real question that will be haunting you: is this the correct course for me to ‘make the best of what I have been given’ or am I deluding myself? How many people have wasted their lives believing they were going to be discovered as the next great rapper if only they persisted, only to wake up one day and discover they have turned fifty?
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  • Janeen
    January 1, 1970
    The book is an illustrated version of Jesmyn Ward's 2018 Commencement speech at Tulane University. I will note that the illustrations are great and make this a considerate gift for graduates (per the standard of books like this released before graduation). What makes this text so significant is because it speaks on perseverance new grads will face, but also exceptionally timely during a pandemic to be encouraged. It's a humbling speech. As a fan of Jesmyn Ward, it only made me appreciate her wri The book is an illustrated version of Jesmyn Ward's 2018 Commencement speech at Tulane University. I will note that the illustrations are great and make this a considerate gift for graduates (per the standard of books like this released before graduation). What makes this text so significant is because it speaks on perseverance new grads will face, but also exceptionally timely during a pandemic to be encouraged. It's a humbling speech. As a fan of Jesmyn Ward, it only made me appreciate her writing so much more. If you don't read this book, the video on YouTube will be a good morale boost. Note: I read the book with the video and I must note the edits were solid and the illustrations were vibrant.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Jesmyn Ward's "Navigate Your Stars" expresses both vulnerability and power. This slim book contains a graduation address she gave at Tulane University. In it Ward tells her own journey, constructed atop the perils and constraints her parents and grandmother endured in the Jim Crow South. She adroitly traces the effects of decades before her birth to show the impact of these challenges on her own life. Her message that there isn't a magic bullet that in itself guarantees success, that success can Jesmyn Ward's "Navigate Your Stars" expresses both vulnerability and power. This slim book contains a graduation address she gave at Tulane University. In it Ward tells her own journey, constructed atop the perils and constraints her parents and grandmother endured in the Jim Crow South. She adroitly traces the effects of decades before her birth to show the impact of these challenges on her own life. Her message that there isn't a magic bullet that in itself guarantees success, that success can be pursued (and hopefully achieved) only by continued commitment, effort, trial and adaptation resonates powerfully. This is a lovely meditation on commitment and humility, and would make an excellent gift for graduating students of all levels.
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  • Jerry Pogan
    January 1, 1970
    I have to admit this is not the kind of book I was expecting when I ordered it. I thought it was going to be a new novel by one of my favorite writers Jesmyn Ward but it wasn't. It's actually a commencement speech she gave at Tulane University. Normally I might have been disappointed but not in this case. Although very short it was a wonderful read in which she told the brief history of her struggles to become a writer. It's the type of story that should give inspiration to any young person tryi I have to admit this is not the kind of book I was expecting when I ordered it. I thought it was going to be a new novel by one of my favorite writers Jesmyn Ward but it wasn't. It's actually a commencement speech she gave at Tulane University. Normally I might have been disappointed but not in this case. Although very short it was a wonderful read in which she told the brief history of her struggles to become a writer. It's the type of story that should give inspiration to any young person trying to attain a goal in life. As good as this was though, I'm still anxiously waiting for her next novel.
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  • Selen
    January 1, 1970
    This is an illustrated book based on Jesmyn Ward's commencement speech that she delivered at Tulane in 2018. So delicately woven, her speech interrogates the notion of success while telling her own story that ties issues such as race, family, persistence at what one is passionate about, diligence and hard work. As her words hit too close to home, I recommend this as a self-help text especially to (academic or not) writers who are struggling to establish themselves. It is one of those texts that This is an illustrated book based on Jesmyn Ward's commencement speech that she delivered at Tulane in 2018. So delicately woven, her speech interrogates the notion of success while telling her own story that ties issues such as race, family, persistence at what one is passionate about, diligence and hard work. As her words hit too close to home, I recommend this as a self-help text especially to (academic or not) writers who are struggling to establish themselves. It is one of those texts that you need to hold dear and go back to anytime you fall on hardship along your journey. If you lose sight of your path, she'll be there to steer you.
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  • Shannon Stypula
    January 1, 1970
    Gosh, this hit home. I don't mean, "Oh, that's a nice sentiment." It's a burning ember in the middle of my chest that brings tears to my eyes. I long for past versions of my selves to read and to listen feel at home. I want the 18 year old me to feel gently chastised for being insufferable and cautiously warned of the path ahead. I want 22 year old me to find a sense of comfort as to words wrap around her in an embrace and know that the horizon is not as far away as it seems. Everyone should tak Gosh, this hit home. I don't mean, "Oh, that's a nice sentiment." It's a burning ember in the middle of my chest that brings tears to my eyes. I long for past versions of my selves to read and to listen feel at home. I want the 18 year old me to feel gently chastised for being insufferable and cautiously warned of the path ahead. I want 22 year old me to find a sense of comfort as to words wrap around her in an embrace and know that the horizon is not as far away as it seems. Everyone should take a moment and savor this as if it's the first piece of pie straight out of the oven.
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  • Shaunterria
    January 1, 1970
    An amazing piece of work that will motivate you, inspire you, fill you with something that will help you keep going. Some people call it hope. You can call it hope, or aspiration, or optimism, or the thing with feathers, but whatever it is, it is what keeps us putting one foot in front of the other towards a horizon we cannot always see. It helps us to create, to write, to draw, to sing - it keeps us more than alive. So read this, be fed, and keep going.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    I may be too cynical for this book. The text is lovely, of course, much like an email you might receive from a successful friend who’s trying to keep you from losing hope. I appreciate it, for what it’s worth. But did it need to be published in hardcover with lots of empty space and glossy illustrations? Jesmyn Ward is an outstanding author, but this feel good gift book seems more like a manipulation of her powerful name for profit. Hopefully she actually gets to share in some of that profit.
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