105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: Black History Month

Still feeling fine, but struggling to catch up from the family’s sick days. And thus, still doing some cutting and pasting from earlier posts to round out the Black History Month list of picture books. Today’s focus is on picture books of poetry.

My PeopleMy People
by Langston Hughes, photography Charles R. Smith Jr.
Langston Hughes’ 1923 classic poem provides the muse for a photographic tribute of African Americans through different stages of life, shades of color, and state of being. The short poem is portioned out a bit at a time, allowing each word and picture space to resonate. Quiet, joyful, and ultimately moving, this book forces the reader to slow down to appreciate the beauty of heritage.

Stitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend QuiltStitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt,
by Patricia McKissack

A child grows up watching the quilting of her community, and then under the tutelage of the women, she begins her own quilt. With each stitch, the women are keeping tradition and history alive. The illustrations drench the reader with the vibrant colors of the quilts and the stories they represent, while the poems themselves are about quilts and relationships, tradition and community, heritage and history.

Speak To Me (And I Will LIsten Between The Lines)Speak To Me (And I Will Listen Between The Lines)
by Karen English, illustrated by Amy Bates

Set in an urban school, this book nicely reflects the lives of third graders. Feeling pride in an eighth birthday. Worrying about losing a best friend to another girl in the class. Daydreaming. Saving a seat at lunch. Each poem is told from the point of the view of one of the kids in the class, most of whom are African American. The illustrations capture the feel of the kids and the poems in every nuance of expression.

To continue on my topic areas today, visit Poetry Friday, hosted today by Great Kid Books, and check out the profiles of African American authors and illustrators continuing throughout the month at The Brown Bookshelf. And (unrelated) wish me luck in this weekend’s 48 Hour Film Project, where our team will be working on a Go Green theme. We are ever confident having Robin Brande writing our screenplay, but less secure in our own tenuous health and energy. As in the past, it should be an interesting weekend.

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