Beautiful, commissioned illustrations accompany a number of beloved poems by African-American authors. A fantastic way to introduce children to poetry, the included vocabulary and context notes help make the art form more accessible to beginners. A biography of the poet is also provided at the beginning of the book. Ages 8 & up. 48 pages, hardcover.
The newest addition to the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series shines a light on the power and beauty of African-American verse. Co-editors Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount—both towering figures in literary criticism—have put together an impressive anthology that will open up a world of wonderful word images for children. The classic poems come from some of the most influential and celebrated African-American writers in history, including Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Lucille Clifton, and James Baldwin.
Helpful and generous annotations, a lively introduction, and beautiful illustrations by Karen Barbour make this the ideal book to introduce young readers to the marvels of poetry.
This addition to the Poetry for Young People series compiles poems by African-American writers, beginning with Phillis Wheatley in the 18th century and continuing through Harlem Renaissance writers and poets still writing today. Barbour combines collage, watercolor, and ink in her stylized images, which communicate gracefully with the poems. For Paul Laurence Dunbars We Wear the Mask, Barbour offers a solemn seated figure holding a smiling mask at knee level. She creates a celestial canvas of silver starbursts for James Weldon Johnsons The Creation, and for Nikki Giovannis blissful Winter Poem, she shows the graceful, oblong face of a woman surrounded by snowflakes. Rampersad and Blount make the material accessible to readers by including vocabulary definitions, historical context, and thoughtful interpretations. Ages 8up. (Jan.) 2013 Reed Business Information
“From Phillis Wheatley's 'On Being Brought from Africa to America' to Maya Angelou's 'Caged Bird' and Langston Hughes' 'My People,' the 34 poems in this large, handsome volume in the Poetry for Young People series introduces readers to great African American poets over the last 200 years. In a long introduction, Rampersad provides an excellent overview that weaves together historical details with examples from individual poems. On each following spread, 'contextual notes' with a brief biography accompany each poem. The soft-toned mixed-media artwork includes many city and rural scenes as well as stylized figures whose expressive body language captures the mood of the poems. In fact, the illustrations and sophisticated commentary will appeal to adults, too. A strong title for talking about in the classroom and at home.” —Booklist
"Slim and handsome, this beautifully constructed collection introduces 27 poets from the days of Phillis Wheatley to well-established poets writing in the 21st century. A four-page introduction outlines historical periods and influences. Presented chronologically, the entries begin with a paragraph describing the poet's life and work. Paul Laurence Dunbar, Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, Maya Angelou, and others are joined by George Moses Horton, Mae V. Cowdery, Carolyn M. Rodgers, and others. A small glossary appears at the end of each poem. Barbour mixes a bit of collage with watercolor in spare drawings that meld folk and contemporary graphic elements. Stylized human figures are elongated and flat, most with large eyes but distinctive in character. They appear in side panels, vignettes, or full pages that are sometimes washed in soft color and other times set on white with no background. This elegant book nicely melds an overview of African American history, an introduction to these notable writers, and a bit of explanation of some poetry forms. It offers many uses in classrooms and libraries and is likely to be treasured by teens and adults perhaps even more than older children. Though only one or two selections represent the work of each poet, readers will find this a rich compendium in the inviting guise of a picture book.” —School Library Journal
“A sampler worth sampling . . . an outstanding introductory overview . . . at least as valuable for its editorial additions as its lyric contents.” —Kirkus Reviews
Praise for the Series:
“[S]atisfies in every way.”--School Library Journal
“Nothing short of breathtaking.”--Parents Magazine
“[T]he most ambitious attempt to bring poetry to children. . .”--Los Angeles Times