From the Publisher
"With appeal for preliterate children, their great grandparents, and every generation between, this will be fun for families to share as they get their groove on. " - Booklist
"The variety of poetic forms and performance styles...makes this collection an excellent source of material not found together elsewhere." - Kirkus
"The beats would make any kid want to get up and dance, and I think the idea of incorporating music with the poetry will keep kids interested." - Savvy Verse & Wit
Like its companion volume, Poetry Speaks to Children, this eclectic collection is accompanied by a lively CD; the focus is on hip-hop, broadly defined as "poetry with a beat." In practice, Giovanni's definition yields a diverse crop of poems chiefly by African-Americans. Not all the works have a strong beat: the quiet lyricism of Hope Anita Smith has little in common with the pronounced rhythms of the Sugarhill Gang. The volume includes not only contemporary artists like Mos Def and Queen Latifah but poets from the Harlem Renaissance, W.E.B. Du Bois, Paul Laurence Dunbar and Elizabeth Swados. Even an edited version of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is offered. Altogether, there are 51 selections from 42 poets, with about 30 performances on the CD, some original to the collection. The illustrations, by six different artists, compete for attention in a crowded design; readers may be better off availing themselves of the CD, which, with its archival recordings of poems read by the poets themselves, reminds everyone that poetry springs from an oral tradition. Ages 6-up. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
With appeal for preliterate children, their great grandparents, and every generation between, this will be fun for families to share as they get their groove on.
School Library Journal
This anthology highlights the use of rhythm and vernacular in hip-hop, rap, and African-American poetry. The 51 pieces-which also include a passage from Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech-use gospel rhythms, "hambone" rhythms (which Giovanni explains in her informative introduction), jazz and blues rhythms, and language from the fields and the city streets. Artists range from Langston Hughes to Kanye West, from Eloise Greenfield to Queen Latifah. Much of the subject matter focuses on hope, self-esteem, respect for the past, and determination to make a better future. A few selections are more playful, like an excerpt from "Principal's Office" by Young MC. The accompanying CD enables readers to hear many of the pieces spoken or performed by the artists. Meanwhile, a team of five illustrators provides colorful, lively pictures that add atmosphere and personality (without a lot of depth, however). This volume is much denser than it first appears, and will provide classroom teachers with a substantial amount of material. The fact that an important historical writer like James Weldon Johnson appears in the same book as contemporary musician Lauryn Hill may help some kids see the older writers with a fresh eye, and may also introduce today's artists to teachers and librarians. Granted, not all of the rap and/or hip-hop verses have the concise nature of what has been considered "real" poetry, and, in this context, some of them work better in audio than on the printed page. Still, this is an interesting, worthwhile collection.-Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
The subtitle is more descriptive of the content of this engaging book than the title. There is a wealth of material, ranging from classic poems by Langston Hughes (several of them read by Hughes on the accompanying CD), Lucille Clifton, Eloise Greenfield, Maya Angelou, Walter Dean Myers, Jacqueline Woodson and others, to modern hip-hop and rap. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech is also included, both in the book and on the CD, with a performance in response by Giovanni and two of the advisory editors. Hope Anita Smith's recitation of her "Audition" is quiet and hauntingly beautiful. All of the poems emphasize the beat and draw on African-American tradition; they are richly and effectively illustrated by a corps of young illustrators whose biographical sketches are appended. Listening to the CD completes the experience. The variety of poetic forms and performance styles (sometimes elucidated on the CD, as well is in Giovanni's introduction) makes this collection an excellent source of material not found together elsewhere. (Poetry anthology. 7-12)