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Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry

by Ashley Bryan

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2521589,427 (3.98)2
Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a line from a poem by different African American poets, describing an aspect of the black experience.

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In my opinion this is a great book. Although an ABCs book it took a twist. Each letter had an excerpt of an African American poet or poem, which I thought was beautiful. Each piece of poem was engaging and encouraging. "My hair, a hive of honey bees Is a Queenly glory Crackles like castanets Hums like marimbas" I love this because it can be interpreted in a few ways. for example i see it as an expression of self love and acceptance. This book also has lively illustrations full of nothing but color! Each illustration perfectly depicting what each snippet of poem reads.
The big idea of this book was to present the work of many poets. ( )
  kdeahu1 | Sep 25, 2017 |
African American poetry is like no other. Ashley Bryan's ABCs of African American Poetry feature 26 poems by 26 African American poets accompanied with beautifully vibrant illustrations. It includes poems from the most prominent African American poets like Langston Hughes, Maya Angelou, and Robert Hayden. This is would be a great introduction to poetry for younger students. ( )
  ilonon | Apr 3, 2017 |
I thought this was a great book for two reasons. I liked that each poem in the book was related to a different letter in the alphabet. This organization made it easy to follow along with. For example, for the letter E, the poem begins with a word that starts with the letter E. In this case, the poem begins with "Each man a string on the harp..." Another aspect of this particular book that I enjoyed, was that it focused on representing the African American culture. I think that it is very important that we have texts which demonstrate and represent this culture. The big idea was that being African American is something to be proud of. ( )
  maddieburchell | Mar 8, 2016 |
Absolutely gorgeous alphabet book full of African American poetry and beautiful paintings. I really like that it has a poem for each letter with all these different authors. This would be a great book to have in the classroom and use while talking about Africa-American history and culture. ( )
  AmandaLK | Nov 27, 2015 |
1. Ashley Bryan’s ABC of African American poetry, written and illustrated by Ashley Bryan and published in 1997 by Atheneum Books for young readers, is a poetry picture book about the ABC’s that revolve around African American poets and their work. This was a fascinating book that opened my eyes to a different culture, had great illustrations, and had an organization unlike any book I have read this semester. This books purpose is not only to teach the ABC’s in an interesting way, but also to educate the reader on the culture of African American poetry. This book contains snippets of poems from influential African American poets like Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou. Langston Hughes Poem Freedom (under F) is about the African American’s struggle for freedom and acceptance through the Civil war to the civil rights movement. This poem alone offers a look into the African American culture that is not taught enough in schools. The illustrations are really interesting in this book. They are well detailed and show what the characters are going through. The illustration for Eloise Greenfield’s “Harriet Tubman” showed the feet of Tubman and the people she was leading to freedom. The illustrator took great detail to show how warns and cut Tubman’s feet are. There are speckles of red over her feet to represent blood from walking barefoot and we can see that she is using a walking stick to help her walk. What really brings this illustration together is how the background brings out Harriet and her travelers. The background is a dark night sky with some clouds in it. However the background is not cluttered and distracting. It actually helps to bring attention to the main characters of the poem. This style of drawing helped me to better make sense of the story. In the Forward to the book the author writes about how she organized this ABC book. She said that she originally planned to either organize the alphabet to the poems by using the first letter of the author, the first letter of the title of the poem, or the first letter of the line of the poem. She wrote that this turned out to be very problematic. The author then decided to use only the lines that inspired the artwork in her head. This is an ingenious way to organize the book as this brings the poem to life. This was a very unique way of writing an ABC book that I hope to use in the future. African American culture, hope and perseverance are central themes to the poems in this book. This book is written from African Americans and thus helps the reader to understand their culture. Many of these poems are written about slavery and the hope that people had that they would escape their slavery. Lastly many poems are about persevering through hard times and diversity. ( )
  cbower6 | Nov 11, 2013 |
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Each letter of the alphabet is represented by a line from a poem by different African American poets, describing an aspect of the black experience.

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