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Archive for the ‘African/African American’ Category

Nelson, V. M. (2009). Bad news for outlaws. Minneapolis: Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.
Bad News for Outlaws is a biography about Bass Reeves, a former slave who becomes a deputy U.S. marshal during the 1870s.  Nelson packs a great deal into a short picture book.  The story is not only a biography, but also a glimpse of history and the injustice of slavery.
Nelson sums up the importance of telling this story in her note at the end of the story when she discusses playing cowboys as a child.  “Many of the western heroes we idolized as children were fictional characters, dramatized by Hollywood.  But Bass Reeves was real.  How difference my childhood view of myself might have been if, when choosing who got the best parts, we’d fought over who got to play Bass Reeves.”

My grade:  A+
I particularly enjoyed reading this book because I had never heard Bass Reeves story.

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San Souci, R. D. (1992). Sukey and the mermaid. New York, NY: Macmillan Publishing Company.
Sukey lives on a small island off the coast of South Carolina with her mother and step-father.  This tale reminds me of the evil step-mother stories that we find in many fairy tales.  Sukey triumphs over her evil step-father with the help of the supernaturnal, which takes the form of Mama Jo the mermaid.   San Souci provides a note after the story which explains where he found the folktale on which he based this story.

My grade:  A
I would love to hear a great storyteller perform this story.  I can see how perfectly it lends itself to a live performance.  Pinkney’s illustrations are also really beautiful; he captures movement incredibly well.

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Herron, C. (1999). Nappy hair. New York, NY: Alfred A. Knopf.
Uncle Mordecai narrates the story of Brenda’s hair in Carolivia Herron’s Nappy Hair.  Told in a call and response style, Nappy Hair not only has a wonderful message, it also a great rhythm when read out loud.  Joe Cepeda’s illustrations compliment the story nicely.

My grade:  A

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