Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

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Overview

The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it's about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it's about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It's a story of discrimination and broken promises, ...

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Overview

The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it's about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it's about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It's a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination, and triumphs.

Winner of the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award
A 2012 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

In his Coretta Scott King Award-winning We Are The Ship, artist Kadir Nelson told the story of Negro League baseball. In Heart and Soul, he widens his scope to cover a wide range of African-American history, from centuries of brutal slavery to the Civil Rights era to the presidential election of Barack Obama. Nelson's focus is on African-American women and men who struggled through adversity while somehow maintain their integrity. This beautifully illustrated hardcover with a message for us all.

Booklist (starred review)
Nelson…adds to his notable titles with this powerful view of African American history. Illustrated with 44 full-page paintings, this handsome volume is told in the fictionalized, informal voice of an African American senior looking back on her life and remembering what her elders told her.
Horn Book (starred review)
Nelson effectively creates a voice that is at once singular and representative. A tour de force in the career of an author/artist who continues to outdo himself.
Walter Dean Myers
This latest book by Kadir Nelson…announces its ambition with its title. This is a grand and awe-inspiring survey of the black experience in America, delivered in 108 pages with lushly painted illustrations…The images are typical Nelson, depicting his subjects with strength and dignity…And the book offers page after page of American history in a way that welcomes young readers to stand beside the historical figures and be part of their story.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
As in We Are the Ship, Nelson knits together the nation's proudest moments with its most shameful, taking on the whole of African-American history, from Revolutionary-era slavery up to the election of President Obama. He handles this vast subject with easy grace, aided by the voice of a grandmotherly figure who's an amalgam of voices from Nelson's own family. She does not gloss over the sadness and outrage of her family's history, but her patient, sometimes weary tone ("The law didn't do a thing to stop it," she says about the Ku Klux Klan. "Shoot, some of the men wearing the sheets were lawmen") makes listeners feel the quiet power that survival requires. In jaw-dropping portraits that radiate determination and strength, Nelson paints heroes like Frederick Douglass and Joe Louis, conferring equal dignity on the slaves, workers, soldiers, and students who made up the backbone of the African-American community. The images convey strength and integrity as he recounts their contributions, including "the most important idea ever introduced to America by an African American"—Dr. King's nonviolent protest. A tremendous achievement. Ages 9–up. (Aug.)
Horn Book
Nelson effectively creates a voice that is at once singular and representative. A tour de force in the career of an author/artist who continues to outdo himself.
Booklist
Nelson…adds to his notable titles with this powerful view of African American history. Illustrated with 44 full-page paintings, this handsome volume is told in the fictionalized, informal voice of an African American senior looking back on her life and remembering what her elders told her.
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Taking on the history of African Americans can seem a daunting task, but Nelson does so succinctly, informatively, and clearly. He conveys that African Americans have not been on the periphery of American history, but rather have been an integral and important part of it. The reader learns the history through the voice of an elderly woman. Each chapter comes alive through stories of her family members and other individuals. They are intertwined with the painful difficulties and the achievements gained since the 1600s. The twelve chapter headings and quotes were carefully chosen. They provide a preview of the chapter and can even be sources of discussion. Among the chapters are: "Declaration of Independence," "Lincoln's War," "Black Innovation," and the final chapter called "Revolution." The Prologue and Epilogue round out the book and provide cohesion. Using the large format of WE ARE THE SHIP, every turn of the page offers a dramatic illustration. Nelson is a master of portraiture. Here, portraits of individuals and groups give insights into the character of the individuals and beg to be studied. The final illustration in the book is entitled "Voting poll, Chicago, 2008" and shows strong black hands holding a pin that reads, "I VOTED." It sums up the history and pride that unfolds here, beckons the reader to pause and contemplate, and captures the title of the book. Inviting in both text and illustration, this is a must for every library, and would also make a beautiful gift. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
VOYA - Suzanne Osman
A sumptuous feast of exquisite oil paintings and compelling text, Nelson's newest literary gift dazzles the senses, awakens the mind, and inspires emotion as it teaches readers about the historical experience of African Americans. Each short, simple chapter is poetically narrated by a feisty unnamed black woman. A collection of luscious paintings, so realistic one might mistake some of them for photographs, accompany the text. The book starts with how African Americans fought in the American Revolution to help free America from England, but in the end "we were stuck in a country that kept most of us as slaves." Next, Nelson writes about the horrendous conditions of slavery, Harriet Tubman's heroism, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Ku Klux Klan, the Great Migration, Duke Ellington, Joe Louis, the Tuskegee Airmen, Jim Crow laws, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr., to name a few. The book ends with President Lyndon Johnson's signing of the Civil Rights Act into law in 1964. The topics are not new, but pulling them all together in one comprehensive historical stream feels fresh and helps the past come alive. History has never been taught so clearly. This would be an excellent book to share with teens who think they are not interested in history. Gazing at the stunning pictures and reading about the fascinating historical details written in such a straightforward yet powerful manner should cure anyone of historical apathy. The book includes a handy time line, bibliography, and index. Reviewer: Suzanne Osman
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Expanding his focus from the close-up view of history applied in previous books, Nelson uses his formidable skills for the larger landscape: the black experience in America from slavery to the presidency. Like most surveys, the book is organized by struggles and wars; unlike traditional overviews, the facts are filtered through the eyes of a black woman with attitude to spare. This invented narrator, whose "Pap" was kidnapped as a child in Africa and whose brothers fought in World War II, does not suffer fools. Her colloquial commentary, addressed to "honey" or "chile," introduces and interprets the events. Occasionally her voice drops out, and a more textbooklike tone prevails, but mostly her presence provides the heart and soul of the story; readers will care about this information because they care about her. Nelson's oil portraits and tableaux consistently display technical virtuosity, drama, and dignity. From single-page compositions of historical personalities (Frederick Douglass, Joe Louis, Rosa Parks) and representative characters (a Revolutionary War soldier, students at Woolworth's) to full-spread, murallike scenes of a slave ship, a battle, a big band, Nelson varies the viewpoint and contrasts light and darkness to tell a riveting tale. The purpose is presented in the prologue and recast in the epilogue and author's note: "You have to know where you came from so you can move forward." Provocative and powerful, this book offers a much-needed perspective for individuals of all ages seeking to understand America's past and present.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061730795
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/23/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 203,167
  • Age range: 6 - 10 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.90 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Kadir Nelson is one of the most accomplished, award-winning illustrators working today and is known for his stunning oil paintings depicting the African-American experience. He won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He received Caldecott Honors for Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he also garnered a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and won an NAACP Image Award; Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Nelson's authorial debut, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, was a New York Times bestseller, a Coretta Scott King Author Award winner, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book. Baby Bear was his first picture book for the very youngest readers.

Kadir Nelson's paintings have been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, both in Los Angeles; the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit; the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, DC; the Citizen's Gallery of Yokohama, Japan; and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He is also the cover artist for Michael Jackson's posthumous album, Michael.

Kadir Nelson lives in Southern California.

Kadir Nelson is one of the most accomplished, award-winning illustrators working today and is known for his stunning oil paintings depicting the African-American experience. He won the 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor for Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. He received Caldecott Honors for Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground Railroad by Ellen Levine, and Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford, for which he also garnered a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and won an NAACP Image Award; Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. Nelson's authorial debut, We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, was a New York Times bestseller, a Coretta Scott King Author Award winner, and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor book. Baby Bear was his first picture book for the very youngest readers.

Kadir Nelson's paintings have been exhibited in many galleries and museums around the world, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, both in Los Angeles; the Charles H. Wright Museum of African-American History in Detroit; the Smithsonian's Anacostia Community Museum in Washington, DC; the Citizen's Gallery of Yokohama, Japan; and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He is also the cover artist for Michael Jackson's posthumous album, Michael.

Kadir Nelson lives in Southern California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    I thought this book went into great detail in showing the histor

    I thought this book went into great detail in showing the history of African Americans. I think it should be used in a classroom setting to inform students about what African Americans had to go through after coming to America. The pictures in the book allows the reader to visualize what the times were actually like back then. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to people of all ages. 

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  • Posted November 26, 2012

    This is a great chapter book with wonderful illustrations. This

    This is a great chapter book with wonderful illustrations. This book would be great to share with students around middle school age during black history month. This book is great in showing students events that took place in history that has led to equal rights.

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  • Posted November 25, 2012

    This is such a beautiful book. The illustrations are breath tak

    This is such a beautiful book. The illustrations are breath taking. The story is of a race of people ,worked to death to line the pockets of those who claimed ownership of another human, and continued the practice for as long as they could. It is very embracing, powerful and a must read for all Americans who want to know the truth about America and the toll it took on the black man to this day. I think adults will enjoy it just as much as children.

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  • Posted November 24, 2012

    I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book. It was one of t

    I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book. It was one of the best illustrated books within the books that I reviewed. The author seemed to have really done his research before writing this amazing book. It would be a great lesson in the classroom to teach children about African Americans. It shows the inequality of the black man, and when explained and understood this is a very good book for children.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Progress at a Price.

    *Beautiful color illustrations with vivid, eye-catching, and detailed oriented drawings, sure to capture the reader's attention. * This was a well researched book. *The time line is a great resource and the story of the African American in America is rich and worth reading about. This is a great book to begin learning about African Americans and would be a great addition to any social studies school library for classroom use, or for students to learn during silent sustained reading time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2011

    Wow! this book tells the true story of slavery and how it made southern families wealthy and destroyed the family unit of slaves.

    This is a beautiful book. the illustrations are beautiful. The story of a race of people ,worked to death to line the pockets of those who claimed ownership of another human, and continued the practice for as long as they could. Powerful, beautiful, and a must to read for all Americans who want to know the truth about America and the toll it took on the black man to this day.......the idea of the black man as inferior has lasted to this day because of the negative input of our culture for so many years is still being felt today. Is it a book for children. Yes, when a parent takes the time to explain the truth it is relevant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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