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In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers Paperback – January 30, 2001


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books; Reprint edition (January 30, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584300167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584300168
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 8.8 x 0.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #57,274 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him." This simple, yet potentially double-edged Ashanti proverb begins Javaka Steptoe's picture-book debut, a powerful collection of poems celebrating African American fathers, by new and established African American writers. Breathtaking, evocative mixed-media spreads--bedecked with beads, burlap, and buttons--earned Steptoe's brilliant collection the 1998 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the 1997 Reading Magic Award. A full-time artist and art teacher, Steptoe is the son of the late John Steptoe, also an acclaimed children's book artist. Regarding the process of creating the book, Steptoe says, "I was able to think about my father and how he affected me, and how I affected him, and give something to him by honoring his memory."

One selection, "Black Father Man" by Lenard D. Moore, begins, "Black Father Man, / the supreme earth dweller. / We are his ripe black crop / at the beginning-of-the-harvest. / We all bleed his blood / summer-hot and thick / summer-hot and thick / as unstrained milk. / Black Father Man, / the word-music messenger." Steptoe's accompanying artwork depicts men planting seeds and children growing, using actual dirt, leaves, seeds, paint, and cut paper to communicate the regenerative "we are his ripe black crop" spirit of the poem. In Folami Abiade's title poem, readers will soar high with the boy in his father's arms: "I am big and strong & proud like him / in daddy's arms / my daddy." Other contributors--including Carole Boston Weatherford, Michael Burgess, Davida Adedjouma (editor of The Palm of My Heart), and more--add humor and power to this extraordinary tribute to fatherhood. (All ages) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 3 Up?This innovative, stunningly illustrated picture book celebrates the role of fathers in the African-American experience. The artist illustrates 13 poems with collages made from paper with pastel; applique; and a multitude of found objects, including fabric, coins, seashells, buttons, sand, seeds, and leaves. The artwork vibrates with emotion; even the simplest pieces, showing torn-paper figures on a solid background, capture the powerful bond between parent and child. The poems, written by Angela Johnson, Davida Adedjouma, Carole Boston Weatherford, and others, depict fathers working in the fields and in post offices, playing basketball, fishing, tickling, or hugging. Steptoe's own poem, "Seeds," is a tribute to his father: "You drew pictures of life/with your words." Libraries will want this title for Black History Month, National Poetry Month, Father's Day, or anytime a patron asks for a book about fathers. Teachers will find it inspiring in classroom units on poetry, or it can be used in conjunction with David Diaz's work to demonstrate collage techniques in an art class. Whatever its use, this lovely book deserves a place on library shelves.?Dawn Amsberry, Oakland Public Library, CA
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 23 customer reviews
Children will enjoy these unique and inspirational poems.
A Customer
This book is a great way to introduce poetry and its complexity to young learners.
jermainea1
I purchased this book for my great grandson because his dad is deployed.
jrt5xd

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 29, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I was eleven when I got the book. I didn't buy it because it was in my age bracket, I bought it because the art caught my attention, and then the title. It's time to celebrate the black father.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 25, 1998
Format: Hardcover
IN DADDY'S ARMS is a highly impressive collection of art and poetry. Javaka Steptoe's multimedia illustrations are as magnificent and varied as any Romare Bearden collage. The images will delight both children and adults, though some of the poetry may be too deep or symbolic for young children. However, poems like "Tickle, Tickle" and the title poem reach right to the target audience. This combination makes for a book that is just as at home on a child's bookshelf as it is on an adult's coffee table. Books like this one, including Tom Feelings's SOUL LOOKS BACK IN WONDER and Langston Hughes's THE BLOCK, are important representations of the African-American community and, as such, should be acquired and passed down from generation to generation. --Jan
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "shera@bet.com" on July 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I bought the book for me. I was in a bookstore just walking around when I ran into this book on one of the display tables and not in the African American section where it would normally be. I glanced through the book and knew that this book was something I wanted in my collection. Only problem I have with this book is I don't know whether to put it with my art books or with my poetry books. Hmmm, maybe I should buy a second copy. Excellent for the kids.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ardith M. Claussen on April 19, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This poetry book contains several poems written by a variety of authors all focusing on black fathers and father figures. It contains poems that seem to be told by children about why their fathers are important to them. The poems might contain fond thoughts of something a father may do or feelings of comfort and safety that a child might feel when being near his or her father. There are poems that are told by adults explaining how their fathers helped them to be what they are today. . One of my favorite poems entitled ¡°My Granddaddy is My Daddy Too,¡± is told from the point of view of a child that is proud to say that his granddaddy is the only daddy he knows, and that he has been a great one at that. When I read some of these poems to my second grade class, many of my students really identified with this one because so many of them do not even know their fathers. These poems would definitely appeal to all students due to their variety. Regardless of the race of the children they can all relate to parts of these poems that would in a way help students to understand different races a little better. Students may begin to understand that all children have similar feelings about their fathers, regardless of their race. This may help children to realize that they are not all that different from people of other cultures. My students really enjoyed these poems and I did too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 7, 2000
Format: Hardcover
The original incredible 4' to 6' collages that illustrate this book are currently on display at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, NY. Inventive, inspiring, beautiful work. The poetry is moving; the messages are very honest. Fabulous book. He continues his father's legacy quite well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By shopaholic on September 1, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
i thought that this was a story book that my son could read with my grandschild. its a poetry book and its not so bad.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jrt5xd on June 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I purchased this book for my great grandson because his dad is deployed. Although the book is too advanced for his age, he loves the pictures and he makes up a story to go with them. Anything that will help my sweet little great grandchild with his long wait for his dad is worth it. I love the pictures as well.
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Format: Hardcover
In Daddy's Arms is a collection of poetry that is devoted to celebrating African-American fathers, that also celebrates positive images of fathers as a whole. The poems are written by a number of different new and established African-American poets, and cover a variety of poetic styles. They range from Michael Burgess' haiku "Lightning Jumpshot" ("Daddy's voice thunders/he shoots a lightning jumpshot/though a sweaty storm") to longer pieces such as Dakari Hru's "Tickle Tickle", which has been separately published as a book previously reviewed here on Book Dads. Overall, the poems are all heartfelt and powerful descriptions of fatherhood.

But it is the illustrations by Javaka Steptoe that enhance the words of the poems and make this book exceptional. An afterward describes how the collages and papers in the book were created with a variety of materials and techniques, including torn paper, cut paper with pastel, appliqué, and a number of found objects with an interesting history. The unique appearance of these illustrations is sure to pique the interest of children, and their synergy with the words of the poems makes this an excellent book for reading to children.
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