Pass It on: African-American Poetry for Children

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like Bernie Fuchs's illustrations for Ragtime Tumpie , Cooper's painterly, sun-drenched portraits for this collection are as rich and varied as the verses themselves. A potpourri of poems by Gwendolyn Brooks, Eloise Greenfield, Nikki Giovanni and Langston Hughes is interspersed with works by lesser known writers. Although some selections focus on experience unique to African Americans--such as Countee Cullen's ``Incident,'' about an eight-year-old who is called ``Nigger''--many of them deal with the common experiences of children of all races--eating chocolate, jumping in a puddle, taking a bath. Unfortunately, not all of the poems and illustrations are equally well chosen or designed. Occasionally two incompatible paintings are joined confusingly in the book's gutter, faces seem distorted, and dark backgrounds make the text hard to read. Despite these caveats, the warmly textured illustrations for ``Dream Keeper'' and ``Harriet Tubman,'' together with the expressive faces on the cover, will insure that the culture portrayed is--as intended--``passed from one generation to another.'' Ages 5-9. (Mar.)
Children's Literature - Deborah Zink Roffino
A treasure of rhythm and rhyme from superbly talented African-American poets, such as Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni, and Gwendolyn Brooks, this delightful book crosses all racial boundaries and glorifies the simple joys of childhood. The nineteen poems are skillfully illustrated with wistful and hazy pages, punctuated by an occasional splash of purple. Excellent collection for younger children.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Mr. Hudson chose poems that ring true to the oral tradition of African-Americans and each page is alive with Floyd Cooper's glowing faces of these children. Among the 20 poems are Mari Evans's "I Can" and Nikki Giovanni's "The Reason I Like Chocolate". Langston Hughes's "Dream Variations" sums up the feelings expressed in both books: "To fling my arms wide / In some place of the sun, / To whirl and to dance / Till the white day is done. / Then rest at cool evening / Beneath a tall tree / While night comes on gently, / Dark like me / That is my dream!"
School Library Journal
K Up-- A wide-ranging collection from sidhose musings go from chocolate to pickles; and other notable poets, such as Langston Hughes, Lucille Clifton, and Gwendolyn Brooks are represented in these 19 selections. Cooper's illustrations have the same glowing colors anewalk and rope-skipping rhymes to poetry, all celebrating the African-American experience. Eloise Greenfield, who writes with equal passion about the spirit of Harriet Tubman or the proper way to catch a fish; Nikki Giovanni, wd skillfully drawn faces and figures that have become familiar from his other books. They complement each poem with shades and composition that enhance the mood of the words. Many of the entries have appeared in the individual poets' own books, but putting them together has made this a collaboration with a powerful and singular voice. The endnotes about the contributors, as well as Hudson's introduction, round out this effort, making it a strong choice for most collections. --Jane Marino, White Plains Public Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780590457705
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Series: Poetry and Story Collections Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.25 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.33 (d)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2002

    The best book I've ever read

    This was one of the books that anyone could have ever given me as a child. I remember having it, and reading it every night. I memorized each and every poem. I would buy it and recommend it for everyone, it's extraordinary.

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