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The People Could Fly: The Picture Book (New…

The People Could Fly: The Picture Book (New York Times Best Illustrated… (original 2004; edition 2004)

by Virginia Hamilton, Leo Dillon (Illustrator), Diane Dillon Ph.D. (Illustrator)

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1742868,238 (4.3)None
Title:The People Could Fly: The Picture Book (New York Times Best Illustrated Books (Awards))
Authors:Virginia Hamilton
Other authors:Leo Dillon (Illustrator), Diane Dillon Ph.D. (Illustrator)
Info:Knopf Books for Young Readers (2004), Hardcover, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, children's book, Charlie, public library book, 1001 Children's Books

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The People Could Fly: The Picture Book by Virginia Hamilton (2004)



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I liked this book a lot because it showed the issues of slavery even though this book was fiction. The language through out the book showed how slaves were spoken to and how they were treated. For example when the slave Sarah was so weak from working so many long hours with a crying baby on her back, the slave mster did not pity her and instead said "Get up, you black cow." It showed how horrible African Americans were treated in the times of slavery. In my opinion this book is a historical fiction, because even though it is about people flying away from the slave fields, it portrays true events that were happening during the time of slavery. I liked the character that came to the slaves and made them fly. To me this character represented God because he would come to some of them in their most time of need and help them fly away from the hardships they were facing being a slave. The book was obviously fiction, but the character that helped them fly away seemed so real. It made the reader think about issues that we might not normally talk about, and made them try to make connections to what was happening the book. With everything that is going on with today's racial problems, I think this would be a sensative book to read in schools, but it would be beneficial. The illustrations also through out the book were so powerful in meaning. Instead of just reading the text you could see the expressions on the characters faces to make it that much more believable and real. ( )
  hpetti1 | Feb 27, 2017 |
Age appropriateness: grade 8 and up
Review: It is a powerful, inspiring and heartbreaking, poetic story. It is beautifully told and illustrated. The beauty of this story is that flying is being used as an analogy for many things: of escape from slavery, of hope, of the lost African traditions and culture, of second chances.However, there are a lot of whipping slaves, weaping, and sorrow through out the book, so I think it would be suitable for older kids.
It is a folktale because it has all four parts it needs for it to be one.It has no author (co-rewrite the whole story), having super powers, had a lesson or a message-nothing is impossible if you have faith and believe in yourself, and is based on a African culture. ( )
  kliu16 | Feb 15, 2017 |
This is a moving and deep story about slavery and emancipation. It is from the oral tradition of American black folktales and is eloquently put into words by Virginia Hamilton. It is difficult to write a review that expresses the emotions this story invokes. The woman Sarah, who is so cruelly treated as a slave in this story and is the first to fly away with her little baby, reminds me of the great-grandmother Sarah who first came to Sarah's mountain with her baby in Virginia Hamilton's novel M.C. Higgins the Great. The illustrations are by the Caldecott Medal winning husband and wife Leo and Diane Dillon. Their illustrations as always are beyond words captivating. Amazon recommends this book for age 7 and up and it is about 32 pages long.
  jmjobes | Jul 23, 2016 |
I am so fortunate that I have never suffered enough to be able to empathize with how this story would be felt by those who have. Spectacular endpapers - I want a roll! ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
This is an awesome folktale based on African-American legend. It's about a tribe in Africa that could fly that got sold into slavery and lost their wings, but the old sorcerer gave them their wings back. The illustrations are lovely and the implications of the story would be really interesting to unfold with older students. This would also be a good text for celebrating African American history and culture. ( )
  AmandaLK | Nov 27, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Virginia Hamiltonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
This is a vibrant, both in prize-winning illustration and writing, re-tell of a Black folktale about slaves who had the magic ability to "fly" to freedom. While those who didn't have the ability used the power of imagination in passing along the story to set themselves free. This book could be a powerful dialogue opener regarding slavery and freedom - hope and change in general - and the larger issue of equality/inequality we still face today; likely a topic for grade school level, maybe even tied to an equality lesson of some sort or Black history month etc.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375824057, Hardcover)

“THE PEOPLE COULD FLY,” the title story in Virginia Hamilton’s prize-winning American Black folktale collection, is a fantasy tale of the slaves who possessed the ancient magic words that enabled them to literally fly away to freedom. And it is a moving tale of those who did not have the opportunity to “fly” away, who remained slaves with only their imaginations to set them free as they told and retold this tale.

Leo and Diane Dillon have created powerful new illustrations in full color for every page of this picture book presentation of Virginia Hamilton’s most beloved tale. The author’s original historical note as well as her previously unpublished notes are included.

Awards for The People Could Fly collection:

A Coretta Scott King Award

A Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice

A School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

A Horn Book Fanfare

An ALA Notable Book

An NCTE Teachers’ Choice

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:34 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In this retelling of a folktale, a group of slaves, unable to bear their sadness and starvation any longer, calls upon the African magic that allows them to fly away.

(summary from another edition)

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