This moving and eloquent set of poems, brought to life by vivid and colorful artwork from Michele Wood, offers a timeless witness to the hardship endured by America's slaves. Each poem is supplemented by a historical note.
- ISBN-13: 9780802853868
- ISBN-10: 0802853862
- Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: October 2011
- Page Count: 34
- Reading Level: Ages 10-18
- Dimensions: 12.08 x 9.39 x 0.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.08 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-11-28
- Reviewer: Staff
Newcomer Grady’s compact poems about the lives of slaves cover an emotional range from gossamer (“Like the wren’s/ song, she hits the grace note just so”) to leaden (“drag my heart clean/ out of my chest”). Quilting runs through the poems as a theme (“Before I know, I’m rocking with the rhythm of the stitching”), and Wood (I See the Rhythm of Gospel) paints the slaves and their surroundings against backgrounds of quilt patterns and African textiles. Swirls of checks and triangles unfurl along with the movement of the stylized figures, softening the nightmare quality of scenes like one in which an overseer carries a girl away from her mother—“This morn he come for my baby girl—she/ done reach her breeding age. Fetch a good price.” The poems appear above detailed notes, opposite Wood’s paintings at right. The notes anticipate classroom use, where discussion will arise from the varied aspects of slavery—companionship between the master’s children and slave children, early horse racing’s domination by slave labor, and more—that Grady covers in this well-researched collection. Ages 10–up. Illustrator’s agent: Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Jan.)