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Poetry for Young People: African American Poetry

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The newest addition to the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series shines a light on the power and beauty of African-American verse. Co-editors Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount—both towering figures in literary criticism—have put together an impressive anthology that will open up a world of wonderful word images for children. The classic poems come from some of the m The newest addition to the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series shines a light on the power and beauty of African-American verse. Co-editors Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount—both towering figures in literary criticism—have put together an impressive anthology that will open up a world of wonderful word images for children. The classic poems come from some of the most influential and celebrated African-American writers in history, including Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Lucille Clifton, and James Baldwin. Helpful and generous annotations, a lively introduction, and beautiful illustrations by Karen Barbour make this the ideal book to introduce young readers to the marvels of poetry.  


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The newest addition to the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series shines a light on the power and beauty of African-American verse. Co-editors Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount—both towering figures in literary criticism—have put together an impressive anthology that will open up a world of wonderful word images for children. The classic poems come from some of the m The newest addition to the acclaimed Poetry for Young People series shines a light on the power and beauty of African-American verse. Co-editors Arnold Rampersad and Marcellus Blount—both towering figures in literary criticism—have put together an impressive anthology that will open up a world of wonderful word images for children. The classic poems come from some of the most influential and celebrated African-American writers in history, including Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Countee Cullen, Lucille Clifton, and James Baldwin. Helpful and generous annotations, a lively introduction, and beautiful illustrations by Karen Barbour make this the ideal book to introduce young readers to the marvels of poetry.  

30 review for Poetry for Young People: African American Poetry

  1. 4 out of 5

    Amy Ballard

    Another great primer for those of us with major BIPOC gaps in our education.

  2. 4 out of 5

    K

    It's humbling to be an American of a certain age and realize that one's education did not include African-American poetry. The Langston Hughes volume of the Poetry for Young People Series made me want to read every single book in the whole series. In this volume, I learned of the poetry of Phillis Wheatley and her clever, yet mocking, poem 'On Being Brought from Africa to America.' I knew nothing of Paul Laurence Dunbar and his gorgeous poem 'Dawn.' It makes me want to search a volume of his poe It's humbling to be an American of a certain age and realize that one's education did not include African-American poetry. The Langston Hughes volume of the Poetry for Young People Series made me want to read every single book in the whole series. In this volume, I learned of the poetry of Phillis Wheatley and her clever, yet mocking, poem 'On Being Brought from Africa to America.' I knew nothing of Paul Laurence Dunbar and his gorgeous poem 'Dawn.' It makes me want to search a volume of his poems in their entirety. I loved the tenderness of 'My Father's First Baseball Game' by Afaa Michael Weaver. I have learned from consuming this outstanding series of poetry that I want to read anything literary critic and editor Arnold Rampersad has worked on. His name attached to any book instantly advertises its quality. It's quite extraordinary to think these slim delightful volumes are available for $15 each. What a value - the best in American letters for all of $15! Isn't it fun to imagine what the next 200 years of African-American poetry will be like? Will we still call these poets African-Americans? Or by then, will our nation call them just 'Americans' with no hyphens.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alicia

    We just purchased this series from a few years back so I'm going to dive into a few of them to get a feel for them and this was the first I've read. It shares enough about the background of African American poetry and then dives in to more than a dozen poets with one of their poems and a brief explanation of either their life or how the poem impacted literature. Definitely accessible. We just purchased this series from a few years back so I'm going to dive into a few of them to get a feel for them and this was the first I've read. It shares enough about the background of African American poetry and then dives in to more than a dozen poets with one of their poems and a brief explanation of either their life or how the poem impacted literature. Definitely accessible.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tarawyn Baxter

    This is called Poetry for Young People, but it's really not, at least not in the sense that the poems were written for young people. It's over 250 years of poems by African Americans with contextual explanations and word definitions young people might not know or understand. This is called Poetry for Young People, but it's really not, at least not in the sense that the poems were written for young people. It's over 250 years of poems by African Americans with contextual explanations and word definitions young people might not know or understand.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Twinkle

    Wonderful illustrations to go along with a fantastic and diverse array of poems.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Plain Mike

    Read to my kids. Loved it.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Esperanza

    Wonderful introduction to African American poetry. Wonderful read for black history month. Perfect for any age.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Denice Hein

    Intermediate Selection: Reading from the Introduction: “Phillis Wheatley dared to believe that she would be a poet. Taken by force from Africa to America in 1761 as a child of seven or eight years, Wheatley was sold to a Boston gentleman to be a servant in his house.” Students we have been learning about the civil rights movement, Phillis was brought to the United States 200 years before the movement started. She lived in a time when Africans and African Americans typically were not educated. The Intermediate Selection: Reading from the Introduction: “Phillis Wheatley dared to believe that she would be a poet. Taken by force from Africa to America in 1761 as a child of seven or eight years, Wheatley was sold to a Boston gentleman to be a servant in his house.” Students we have been learning about the civil rights movement, Phillis was brought to the United States 200 years before the movement started. She lived in a time when Africans and African Americans typically were not educated. They were used for labor, servants and were not paid. They were slaves. But Phillis’s owners did teach her to read and write and she even published poems. She was the second woman to be published in the US and the very first African American (man or woman). In this book, we will read her poem “On Being Brought from Africa to America” and several other African Americans’ poetry. It’s all kinds and all forms so we will find one for each of you to like, but all of them are about being African American. Opening moves: Lay the groundwork for children’s understanding of the diverse settings and people. Provide important background information. Draw attention to the genre. Raise interest in a topic. African American Poetry is a collection of poems with short biographies of their authors presented together. The range of information makes this book a great resource as part of civil rights/black history/or a people’s study text set. The authors range so that students will be able to identify at least one poem or style that they like, therefore bridging a gap with poetry and diversity. The subject matter is real but not ‘in your face’ and therefore safe for a younger audience.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Five stars just to Arnold Rampersad for writing such an amazing introduction, that outlines the history of 250 years of African-American poetry in a way that neither condescends to children or talks over their heads. Five stars to everything else, too. The poems represent a good mix of familiar and less well known, and span all the years from Phyllis Wheatley, the young slave who published the 2nd-ever-book of poetry by an American woman, to Elizabeth Alexander, a Yale professor who was invited Five stars just to Arnold Rampersad for writing such an amazing introduction, that outlines the history of 250 years of African-American poetry in a way that neither condescends to children or talks over their heads. Five stars to everything else, too. The poems represent a good mix of familiar and less well known, and span all the years from Phyllis Wheatley, the young slave who published the 2nd-ever-book of poetry by an American woman, to Elizabeth Alexander, a Yale professor who was invited to read her work at President Obama's 2009 inauguration. They also range in topic; some address race or discrimination overtly, others don't, or don't have anything to do with race at all. There aren't too many poems that young readers will become overwhelmed or be unable to appreciate the poems individually. The biographical sketches that introduce each poem provide historical context but also a little topical and stylistic guidance. Vocabulary words are occasionally glossed at the bottom of each page. Oh, and great illustrations too! Clearly I need to check out the other books in the Poetry for Young People series.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Johnson

    This is a great book of African American poetry, as it includes many poems from well-known poets that illustrate African American history and culture. I enjoyed the book because it includes short background knowledge on the time period and the poet before each poem, as well as definitions of words that might not be known or are not used very much anymore. I liked the illustrations in the book as well, and thought that the combination of the poems and the illustrations provided a good representat This is a great book of African American poetry, as it includes many poems from well-known poets that illustrate African American history and culture. I enjoyed the book because it includes short background knowledge on the time period and the poet before each poem, as well as definitions of words that might not be known or are not used very much anymore. I liked the illustrations in the book as well, and thought that the combination of the poems and the illustrations provided a good representation of what life was like for African American throughout history and what their culture is like. I would definitely use this book in my classroom, whether it is for teaching history, culture, or just poetry because it promotes diversity and a better understanding and appreciation for different cultures.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    An excellent anthology of poetry for any age. Not only are we given some of the most beautiful poetry ever written, but it is made all the more engaging with bios that illuminate the words to an almost palpable degree. By letting the reader know the historical time within which the piece was produced, the struggles the writer endured, their great accomplishments, and even a mini-lesson in the writing of poetry itself, we are undoubtedly left wanting more -the mark of any great book. Oh and one m An excellent anthology of poetry for any age. Not only are we given some of the most beautiful poetry ever written, but it is made all the more engaging with bios that illuminate the words to an almost palpable degree. By letting the reader know the historical time within which the piece was produced, the struggles the writer endured, their great accomplishments, and even a mini-lesson in the writing of poetry itself, we are undoubtedly left wanting more -the mark of any great book. Oh and one more thing: the illustrations by Karen Barbour are pure poetry in and of themselves!

  12. 5 out of 5

    N.

    4.5/5 I absolutely loved this collection of poetry, particularly the wonderful introduction and the descriptions at the beginning of each poem. The *only* reasons I took off anything at all were the fact that I didn't love the illustrations (they're colorful but just a little too one-dimensional for my taste) and the fact that I disagreed with the definitions of a few words. But, I did like the fact that the editor added definitions for context. A great book, useful for teaching and enjoyable fo 4.5/5 I absolutely loved this collection of poetry, particularly the wonderful introduction and the descriptions at the beginning of each poem. The *only* reasons I took off anything at all were the fact that I didn't love the illustrations (they're colorful but just a little too one-dimensional for my taste) and the fact that I disagreed with the definitions of a few words. But, I did like the fact that the editor added definitions for context. A great book, useful for teaching and enjoyable for both children and adults.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Claudia Fett

    Rampersad and Blount have done an admirable job of explaining the history of African American Poetry and the important authors that brought it about. The book makes the poems accessible to fourth graders who will need this during their social studies units on immigration, the Underground Railroad and American History.

  14. 5 out of 5

    ErikaR

    This is a great anthology that contains poem from the years 1773 to about 1963. The introduction gives significant information about the authors’ lives, their topics and time periods. The illustrations are great artwork. This book works as a great piece to add to an African American history class/unit.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Debby Baumgartner

    Collection poems from the past 200 years of African American poets. Besides the poems are brief accounts of their lives. This is addition to the series Poetry for Young People series.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    Caged Bird by Maya Angelou is my favorite poem in this small collection of poetry.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    Review copy of book sent by publisher. Tuesday Tales can be viewed here: http://www.theangelforever.com/2013/0... Review copy of book sent by publisher. Tuesday Tales can be viewed here: http://www.theangelforever.com/2013/0...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    poetry for young people : african american poetry by karen babour Great collection of poems with explanations and ideals expressed in poetry

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  20. 5 out of 5

    Renee Welstead

  21. 4 out of 5

    Marianne

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ardyth

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Mills

  25. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Naylor

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ahmed Talaat

  28. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Perrone

  29. 4 out of 5

    Deb

  30. 4 out of 5

    Erin

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