December 4, 2015

A walk in Harlem

a poem by Walter Dean Myers
pictures by Christopher Myers

Myers usually writes novels, so it's interesting to see a poem written by him. In free verse, he describes the sights and sounds of a vibrant neighborhood and the people who make it their home. He celebrates Harlem's streets, historic places, and notable African Americans like Joe Louis, Du Bois, and Lady Day. There is joy, bitterness, and despair, but overall the poem has a sense of pride. 

The oversized format is perfect for showcasing the art of Christopher Myers (Walter's son) whose gouache and collage pictures earned him a Caldecott Honor.  Visually striking, his pictures will draw children in even more than the text. The subtleties and cultural references within the poem are sure to be missed unless readers are aware of African American history. Nonetheless, this is a very handsome book.

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