School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 8 Up-Beginning with Phillis Wheatley, Otfinoski develops a historical perspective of African American literature as he traces the careers of 10 prominent writers: Charles W. Chesnutt, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Countee Cullen, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Lorraine Hansberry, and Alex Haley. The literary biographies open with vignettes-some of which appear to be fictionalized-from the authors' lives. Nevertheless, they capture readers' interest and proceed with solid, factual accounts of the writers' lives and works. The text is easy to read and contains generous excerpts from the subjects' writings to illustrate their styles and themes. Black-and-white photographs, although often of poor quality, have captions that add important information. Each sketch concludes with a chronology and a list for further reading that includes evaluations of each book listed; there is also an extensive index. Although individual entries in the ``Black Americans of Achievement'' series (Chelsea) offer more detailed information, this title will be helpful to students and to English teachers looking for supplementary classroom material.-Marilyn Makowski, Greenwood High School, SC
This book chronicles the lives and works of America's most prominent writers of African descent.
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