A Voice for the People: The Life and Work of Harold Courlander

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up--Courlander--storyteller, novelist, folklorist, and collector of folk music--is best known through the Haitian, Ethiopian, Far Eastern, African-American, and Hopi stories he collected, beginning in the 1930s. This readable biography introduces the man behind the story collections, who survived a difficult childhood, the hardships of the Depression, and World War II with his curiosity about and respect for the world's peoples intact. He began early on to examine the ties between the stories and music of African Americans, Caribbean cultures, and the African cultures that provide their roots. While living in various parts of the world, he listened carefully, befriended the people he met, and asked questions about their music and stories. His influence has been great. This biography includes stories, letters, and Courlander's own comments on his work, as well as photographs of his family and of the tellers and musicians from whom he learned. Young people may not think of Courlander for a biography assignment, but students interested in folklore, anthropology, and storytelling will find this volume informative and interesting.--Barbara Chatton, College of Education, University of Wyoming, Laramie
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805034448
  • Publisher: Holt, Henry & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 177
  • Age range: 9 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.68 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 0.85 (d)

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  • Posted January 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Voice for Haiti

    Nina Jaffe, in the book, A Voice for the People, tells the story of Harold Courlander, a young man in 1932 who took a life-changing voyage to Haiti. Courlander became the most prolific writer and storyteller ever to describe the people of Haiti, during his literary career from 1932 till he passed away in 1996. Many an Anansi tale (passed down orally by the Haitians) have been recorded into children's books by Courlander. He loved Haiti and its inhabitants. Through his intense and detailed writings, we can learn about a beautiful land and its people.

    The happy songs of the Haitian people have been silenced by a horrific earthquate, but in time, hopefully, their songs will grow strong again. Jaffe said, "Harold Courlander believed in the essential oneness of humanity. He believed that people are linked inextricably to each other through history, to their common past, and to the future." Our hearts pour out to the people of Haiti.

    This book is a heart touching read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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