We're celebrating Black History Month with a compilation of African-American poetry for kids. Reading the beautiful poems from poets from the past, and the present allows my child to have a deeper, and more profound appreciation of his African-American culture, and heritage.
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I came across this picture book as I strolled through the corridors of the library. What caught my attention was the stunning and beautiful artwork of Harriet Tubman on the cover. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a poetry and art children's book. With 20 poems each paired with 20 works of art by African American poets, and artists. Poems and poets from the nineteenth and twentieth century come alive with the beautiful painting illustrations.
Amongst the poems that I read to my 6 yr. old was "My People" by Langston Hughes a short beautiful poem (that was made into a children's book see my review below). The painting illustration that accompanied the poem allows for ample discussion, and although this book is geared for children ages 4-8, I can see it appropriate for older children.
This photography book by Langston Hughes is an expression of pride, joy, and love of the people in his life. Although this book has a few words per page, the sepia pictures that are of children, women, and men speaks volume of the message that the poet Langston Hughes wants to convey. This book is also wonderful for beginning readers.
I love this poetry children's book by Nikki Giovanni for the simple, yet beautiful poems from past and contemporary poets. The CD included offers the children an opportunity to listen to the poems, and follow along the words in the book. The poems are recited by the artists, and range from short (easier to read for little ones) to more complex, longer one (for older children). Kids now a day listen to Hip Hop on the radio, and this book help young children appreciate that Hip Hop is spoken words with music, thus a form of poetry.
Simple Kids Activity
After little one, and I read the poetry books we discussed African-American history. We discussed how important poetry was to convey words into rhyme, and prose. As an activity I encouraged him to write a poem.
I chuckle when I listen to my 6 yr. old's poem. It's a reflection of his passion for animals, and reptiles. I will encourage him to write poetry, and who knows maybe one day he'll be an acclaimed poet! :)