The latest books from Woody Guthrie, Gabriella De Ferrari, and Alex Kotlowitz

Pastures of Plenty: A Self-Portrait
Woody Guthrie
Coedited by rock critic Dave Marsh and veteran manager Harold Leventhal, Pastures of Plenty contains a fascinating miscellany of the folksinger’s writings. The mix of public and private works-everything from personal jottings, doodles, and unmailed letters to old photos, forgotten liner notes, and some of the columns he wrote for the Daily Worker — reveals a striking discrepancy between the aw-shucks artlessness of the public Guthrie and the militancy of the private man. B

A Cloud on Sand
Gabriella De Ferrari
A graceful and moving first novel about a mother and daughter, set in Italy and South America in the period spanning the two World Wars. With its unerring sense of history, class, and culture, and its subtle social comedy, A Cloud on Sand can be honorably mentioned in the same breath as another first novel with an evocative Italian background, Giuseppe di Lampedusa’s 1957 classic, The Leopard. A

There Are No Children Here
Alex Kotlowitz
A heartbreaking study of how life in the ”promised land” has turned out for poor black families. Kotlowitz recounts just two years in the life of one family in Chicago’s Henry Horner Homes, but he is able to make the reader feel the damage of the ghetto by showing its effect on two young boys: Lafayette Rivers, a decent but troubled child, and his younger brother Pharoah, a buoyant and bright boy. A+