Hip Hop Speaks to Children : A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat [With CD]
by Nikki Giovanni

Overview -


Our consensus is Hip Hop Speaks to Children is the most essential poetry purchase to make this year.
The poetry is enough.
The illustrations are enough. 

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More About Hip Hop Speaks to Children by Nikki Giovanni


Our consensus is Hip Hop Speaks to Children is the most essential poetry purchase to make this year.
The poetry is enough.
The illustrations are enough.
The CD is enough.
Together, this book is a treasure of which you cannot get enough.
We shall accomplish much this year. Children will be encouraged to put their words to poetry and beats. Teachers will be encouraged to allow the artists to speak to children.
"--Diane Chen, School Library Journal blog "Practically Paradise""


Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a celebration of poetry with a beat.

Poetry can have both a rhyme and a rhythm. Sometimes it is obvious; sometimes it is hidden. But either way, make no mistake, poetry is as vibrant and exciting as it gets. And when you find yourself clapping your hands or tapping your feet, you know you've found poetry with a beat

Like "Poetry Speaks to Children," the New York Times Bestselling classic poetry book and CD that started it all, "Hip Hop Speaks to Children" is meant to be the beginning of a journey of discovery.

READ more than 50 remarkable poems and songs

HEAR poetry's rhymes and rhythms from Queen Latifah to Gwendolyn Brooks, Langston Hughes to A Tribe Called Quest and more * Also hear part of Martin Luther Kind's original "I Have a Dream" speech, followed by the remarkable live performance of the speech by Nikki Giovanni, Oni Lasana and Val Gray Ward. * The" Hip Hop Speaks to Children "CD contains more than 30 performances, either by the artists who created them, or as unique interpretations by admiring poets and artists.

DISCOVER Langston Hughes's elegant gospel "The Negro Speaks of Rivers," A Tribe Called Quest's playful "Ham 'N' Eggs," Sterling A. Brown's hard-luck "Long Track Blues," Gwendolyn Brooks's wake-up call "We Real Cool," Kanye West's lovely "Hey Mama," and Martin Luther King Jr.'s awe-inspiring "I Have a Dream."

This is a collection of rhymes and rhythms unlike any other poetry book

Celebrate with remarkable poets, including:
Eloise Greenfield
Mos Def
Lucille Clifton
Oscar Brown Jr.
Tupac Shakur
Maya Angelou
Queen Latifah
Nikki Grimes
Walter Dean Myers
and, of course, Nikki Giovanni

Poems Include:
Ego Tripping
Rapper's Delight
The Negro Speaks of Rivers
Hey Mama
Ham 'N' Eggs
Everything Is Everything
Ladies First


"With its archival recordings of poems read by the poets themselves, "Hip Hop"] reminds everyone that poetry springs from an oral tradition."
--"Publishers Weekly"

"This is the way to get children interested in reading and loving poetry. ... A great book for both teachers and parents."
"-- Valerie Lewis, owner of Hicklebee's children's bookstore"

"The poems, the artwork, the CD...all complement each other to create a wonderful experience."
"--Becky Laney, Becky Laney's Books blog"

"Love this book. I think it is a K-8 must-have for classrooms and libraries. Like I said it is packed and it may be (at first) intimidating to young readers. But, once they hear some of the audio, spend time with the illustrations, and experience some of the poetry, I think it will become a favorite."
"--Franki Sibberson, A Year of Reading blog"

"Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a wonderfully composed collection of poems from writers like Eloise Greenfield to late rapper and poet, Tupac Shakur. ... Whether you read poetry or you hear it in a rap song, Giovanni's genius endeavor will inspire children of all ages to have fun while listening to poetry. Rap is poetry, right?"
"--Amy Bowllan, Amy Bowllan's Blog (a School Library Journal Blog)"

"I highly recommend this one for all collections. If the title didn't include the word "children" it'd be an excellent book all the way to high school. My coworkers and I are already talking about doing a Hip Hop poetry story time for our elementary school kids."
"--Jennifer Rothschild, Biblio File blog"

"This is an incredibly powerful, beautiful and important book. Both the book and CD are stellar in quality and diversity. The artwork is amazing and I find myself pulling it out of the shelf over and over for just one more re-read. The grandchildren (ages 3 and 5) love it as well and ask to hear the CD while they pore over the pages and take breaks prancing around the room and singing to the beat. They KNOW all the poems in the book and learned them in a relatively short time, which I attribute to the power of the beat, and all the artists; the poets, the illustrators, the singers and spoken word artists. What an astounding thing when a book moves children so that they LEARN - quickly and enjoyably. This book is for all ages and I can't recommend it highly enough."
"--Gina Ruiz, Blogcritics Magazine"

  • ISBN-13: 9781402210488
  • ISBN-10: 1402210485
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks
  • Publish Date: October 2008
  • Page Count: 72
  • Reading Level: Ages 8-12

Series: Poetry Speaks Experience

Related Categories

Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Poetry - General
Books > Juvenile Nonfiction > Music - Rap & Hip Hop

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 73.
  • Review Date: 2008-08-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

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.)

BAM Customer Reviews