Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse

Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse

by Walter Dean Myers
     
 

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Join acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers in a heartwarming celebration of African-American childhood in words and pictures. Sharing favorites from his collection of long-forgotten turn-of-the-century photographs, and punctuating them with his own moving poetry, Mr. Myers has created a beautiful album that reminds us that "the child in each of us is our most

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Overview

Join acclaimed author Walter Dean Myers in a heartwarming celebration of African-American childhood in words and pictures. Sharing favorites from his collection of long-forgotten turn-of-the-century photographs, and punctuating them with his own moving poetry, Mr. Myers has created a beautiful album that reminds us that "the child in each of us is our most precious part."

Author Biography: Walter Dean Myers is the author of many highly acclaimed books, including Scorpions, a 1989 Newbery Honor Book; Now Is Your Time: The African-American Struggle for Freedom, winner of the 1992 Coretta Scott King Author Award; The Mouse Rap, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; and Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse. In 1994, he received the ALA's Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Mr. Myers lives in New Jersey with his family.In His Own Words...

I am a product of Harlem and of the values, color, toughness and caring that I found there as a child. I learned my flat jump shot in the church basement and got my first kiss during recess at Bible school. I played the endless street games kids played in the pre-television days and paid enough attention to candy and junk food to dutifully alarm my mother.

From my foster parents, the Deans, I received the love that was ultimately to strengthen me, even when I had forgotten its source. It was my foster mother, a half Indian-half German woman, who taught me to read, though she herself was barely literate.

I had a speech difficulty but didn't view it as anything special. It wasn't necessary for me to be much of a social creature once I discoveredbooks. Books took me, not so much to foreign lands and fanciful adventures, but to a place within myself that I have been constantly exploring ever since.

The George Bruce Branch of the public Library was my most treasured place. I couldn't believe my luck in discovering what I enjoyed most — reading — was free. And I was tough enough to carry the books home through the streets without too many incidents.

At sixteen it seemed a good idea to leave school, and so I did. On my seventeenth birthday I joined the army. After the army there were jobs — some good, some bad, few worth mentioning. Leaving school seemed less like a good idea.

Writing for me has been many things. It was a way to overcome the hindrance of speech problems as I tried to reach out to the world. It was a way of establishing my humanity in a world that often ignores the humanity of those in less favored positions. It was a way to make a few extra dollars when they were badly needed.

What I want to do with the writing keeps changing, too. Perhaps I just get clearer in what it is I am doing. I'm sure that after I'm dead someone will lay it all out nicely. I'd hate to see what kind of biography my cat, Askia, would write about me. Probably something like "Walter Dean Myers had enormous feet, didn't feed me on time, and often sat in my favorite chair." At any rate, what I think I'm doing now is rediscovering the innocence of children that I once took for granted. I cannot relive it or reclaim it, but I can expose it and celebrate it in the books I write. I really like people — I mean I really like people — and children are some of the best people I know.

I've always felt it a little pretentious to write about yourself, but it's not too bad if you don't write too much.— Walter Dean Myers

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Editorial Reviews

Boston Sunday Globe
Beautifully crafted, a labor of love. Myers has written wonderful, expressive poems that clearly celebrate the children in the pictures and the history of African-American childhood.
Boston Sunday Globe
Beautifully crafted, a labor of love. Myers has written wonderful, expressive poems that clearly celebrate the children in the pictures and the history of African-American childhood.
San Francisco Chronicle Book Review
Humor, reverence, and celebration blend quietly in this evocative album.
Carolyn Phelan
This unusual book pairs photographs of black children from the early part of this century with verses written by Myers. The short rhymes are pleasant enough, but there's nothing memorable about the writing, and occasionally, it seems detached from the adjacent pictures. Myers' collection of photographs, though, is extraordinary: snapshots and posed studio portraits, capturing a great range of personalities and moods in the children's expressions. Some are haunting for their beauty, others for the stories implicit in those faces, stories that readers now can only wonder about or imagine for themselves. The photos may appeal more to adults than to kids, but teachers will find the book a good starting place for black history, family history, or creative writing assignments.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780606091060
Publisher:
San Val, Incorporated
Publication date:
09/01/1996
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Read an Excerpt

Love That Boy

Love that boy,
like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
love to call him
"Hey there, son!"

He walk like his grandpa
grins like his uncle Ben
I said he walk like his grandpa
and grins like his uncle Ben
Grins when he happy
when he sad he grind again

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