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My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me

Overview

Full color photographs. "Hello, Stranger-Friend" begins Maya Angelou's story about Thandi, a South African Ndebele girl, her mischievous brother, her beloved chicken, and the astonishing mural art produced by the women of her tribe.  With never-before-seen photographs of the very private Ndebele women and their paintings, this unique book shows the passing of traditions from parent to child and introduces young readers to a new culture through a new friend.

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Overview

Full color photographs. "Hello, Stranger-Friend" begins Maya Angelou's story about Thandi, a South African Ndebele girl, her mischievous brother, her beloved chicken, and the astonishing mural art produced by the women of her tribe.  With never-before-seen photographs of the very private Ndebele women and their paintings, this unique book shows the passing of traditions from parent to child and introduces young readers to a new culture through a new friend.

From one of the great voices of contemporary literature comes the story of a young South African girl and the remarkable art of her people. With never-before-seen photographs of the very private Ndebele women and their paintings, this beautiful book shows the passing of traditions from parent to child and introduces young readers to a new culture. Full-color photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The poet laureate here adopts the voice of an eight-year-old Ndebele girl of South Africa, who addresses the reader as her ``stranger-friend.'' Thandi, whose name means Hope, describes some of her favorite things: the chicken to whom she confides her secrets, the intricately painted houses in her village, the beads her mother strings. Thandi's narration is strong and direct, and provides a lively introduction to a long-neglected people and culture. Its attempts to embrace the reader, however, seem somewhat strained (``You may call me friend, and I would like to call you friend''), and the use of many sizes and arrangements of type creates some choppiness. The accompanying photographs, on the other hand, do full justice to the brilliant colors of the beadwork, blankets and decorated houses of Thandi's village, and to the various attitudes of the carefully adorned people in it. Regrettably, they offer no more than a glimpse of the landscape nor any larger view of the village as a whole, thus inadvertently narrowing the book's scope. Ages 6-10. (Oct.)
Publishers Weekly
"The poet here adopts the voice of an eight-year-old Ndebele girl of South Africa, who describes some of her favorite things. Strong and direct, the narration provides a lively introduction to a long-neglected people and culture," wrote PW. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-A superb portrayal of Ndebele village life and art for young children. ``Hello Stranger-friend'' begins eight-year-old Thandi as she stands in front of a brightly painted house. In a thoroughly child-true voice, she tells about her beloved chicken, her people's ideas of ``good'' (which is as close as they come to saying ``beautiful''), their ways of making designs in paint or beads, her brother, and going to town. Courtney-Clarke's full-color photographs are stunning. The bold geometric wall-painting designs, for which the Ndebele are famous, dominate the attractively laid out pages, and the typeface varies with the information and emotions expressed by the narrator. This should be a particularly good choice for reading aloud, given its special qualities of language and its visual vitality. Beyond the delights it offers aesthetically, it will leave children with important impressions about the Ndebele (and thus about South Africa): that village life is warm and fun; that village and town life are different; that people there care a lot about beauty, that they care about doing well, and that they are very talented. A unique book that honors Africa by projecting images that are true and honors American children by giving them the very best.-Loretta Kreider Andrews, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780517888155
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 11/5/1996
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 48
  • Product dimensions: 8.02 (w) x 9.99 (h) x 0.21 (d)

Meet the Author

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
An author whose series of autobiographies is as admired for its lyricism as its politics, Maya Angelou is a writer who’s done it all. Angelou's poetry and prose -- and her refusal to shy away from writing about the difficult times in her past -- have made her an inspiration to her readers.

Biography

As a chronicler of her own story and the larger civil rights movement in which she took part, Maya Angelou is remarkable in equal measure for her lyrical gifts as well as her distinct sense of justice, both politically and personally.

Angelou was among the first, if not the first, to create a literary franchise based on autobiographical writings. In the series' six titles -- beginning with the classic I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and followed by Gather Together in My Name, Singin' and Swingin' and Gettin' Merry Like Christmas, Heart of a Woman, All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes, and 2002's A Song Flung Up to Heaven -- Angelou tells her story in language both no-nonsense and intensely spiritual.

Angelou's facility with language, both on paper and as a suede-voiced speaker, have made her a populist poet. Her 1995 poem "Phenomenal Woman" is still passed along the Web among women as inspiration ("It's in the reach of my arms/The span of my hips/The stride of my steps/The curl of my lips./I'm a woman/Phenomenally/Phenomenal woman/That's me"), and her 1993 poem "On the Pulse of the Morning," written for Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration, was later released as a Grammy-winning album.

Angelou often cites other writers (from Kenzaburo Oe to James Baldwin) both in text and name. But as often as not, her major mentors were not writers – she had been set to work with Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. before each was assassinated, stories she recounts in A Song Flung Up to Heaven.

Given her rollercoaster existence -- from poverty in Arkansas to journalism in Egypt and Ghana and ultimately, to her destiny as a successful writer and professor in the States – it's no surprise that Angelou hasn't limited herself to one or two genres. Angelou has also written for stage and screen, acted, and directed. She is the rare author from whom inspiration can be derived both from her approach to life as from her talent in writing about it. Reading her books is like taking counsel from your wisest, favorite aunt.

Good To Know

Angelou was nominated for an Emmy for her performance as Nyo Boto in the 1977 miniseries Roots. She has also appeared in films such as How to Make an American Quilt and Poetic Justice, and she directed 1998's Down in the Delta.

Angelou speaks six languages, including West African Fanti.

She taught modern dance at the Rome Opera House and the Hambina Theatre in Tel Aviv.

Before she became famous as a writer, Maya Angelou was a singer. Miss Calypso is a CD of her singing calypso songs.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Margeurite Johnson
      Maya Angelou
    2. Hometown:
      Winston-Salem, North Carolina
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 4, 1928
    2. Place of Birth:
      St. Louis, Missouri
    1. Education:
      High school in Atlanta and San Francisco

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