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Harlem (Caldecott Honor Book) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 9 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Series: Caldecott Honor Book
  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; Library Binding edition (February 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0590543407
  • ISBN-13: 978-0590543408
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up. A visually striking, oversized picture book. Walter Dean Myers's songlike poem relates the story of a group of people who settled in New York City, hoping to improve their lots in life, only to discover that racism could still keep them from achieving success. Well-known Harlem landmarks, such as the Cotton Club and the Apollo Theater, are mentioned, as are famous African Americans, like Langston Hughes and Joe Louis. The pain of discrimination is made abundantly clear through Myers's forceful, often bitter words. The pride and determination of the people of Harlem are also demonstrated, as is their at times overwhelming despair. The bold collage and ink drawings complement the text well. Although the book paints a vibrant picture of the area and its residents, it is difficult to imagine its proposed audience. Many young people will not be able to grasp the subtleties and imagery of the poem or understand its frequent cultural references. The artwork is fresh and eye-catching, but it, too, is sophisticated. Overall, this is an arresting and heartfelt tribute to a well-known, but little understood, community that may take a bit of effort to sell.?Melissa Hudak, North Suburban District Library, Roscoe, IL
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 6^-12. The two Myerses--author and artist, father and son--celebrate Harlem, which they perceive both as a city and a "promise of a better life," in quite different but wonderfully complementary ways. The author views Harlem--where he grew up--as a symbol of African American aspiration; the artist shares a more concrete city composed of "colors loud enough to be heard." In a text that is as much song as poem, the author offers his impressionistic appreciation for a culture that is predominantly music-based, with its roots in "calls and songs and shouts" "first heard in the villages of Ghana/Mali/Senegal." In his hotly vibrant ink, gouache, and collage images, the artist shows us the textures of the city streets, the colors of "sun yellow shirts on burnt umber bodies," and even, it seems, the sounds the words themselves evoke. The very look of metaphorical moments is well served by the text, but it is Harlem as a visual experience that YAs will return to again and again, to admire and wonder at what is realized with truly extraordinary grace and power by this young artist of such wonderful promise. Michael Cart

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Nixon on March 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Walter Dean Myers is certainly better-known for his chapter books for children than for poetry. That being said, "Harlem" offers an insight into the place as well as the man. African-American culture has long had a close relationship with poetry and Myers cements that friendship. Kudos for a job well-done!
For teachers, this is a must-read during African-American History Month in February (as well as any other time of the year).
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The book Harlem was about how black and white people didn't get along in the past. They celebrated their journey to Harlem, and made a way for new a beginning in life. In their old town it was a lot of racism, so they moved to Harlem and all their problems were resolved with the help of postive leaders. The story was mostly based on 125th street in Harlem, New York.

I feel that the book was a good book because it taught me things about Harlem and how slaves moved from south to north just for freedom, and to get treated better.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book is for adults, not children. There is so much deep meaning in this book. Just because it is a picuture book does not mean that it is for children. I believe that adults will get much more out of it.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a problem. I'm a children's librarian at a moderately sized branch in Greenwich Village, New York City. I have a library assistant currently going to library school. Between the two of us, we're fairly good at covering almost all the topics and age group titles required of us. There is one notable exception to this, however. Poetry. Neither of us are particularly interested in it. By extension, neither of us know much about it. So when I set out to review all the great Caldecott Honor winners out there, I knew I'd be covering a lot of poetry gaps in my general children's knowledge. Living in New York, Walter Dean Myers', "Harlem" is an especially good book to know about. I live in Harlem. I have kids coming in needing books on different New York communities all the time. You'd think, therefore, that "Harlem" would be a kind of godsend. Unfortunately, it's Walter Dean Myers at his most sophisticated. Because of the adult nature of the poems, references, and illustrations in this book, I'm afraid I just can't recommend it to the swarming hoards of five to nine-year-olds that need picture books about the uptown area. For them, I'll be handing over Brian Collier's, "Uptown". For teens needing some Harlem beauty, "Harlem" is for them.

The book can be read as a bunch of little poems all talking about the history, magnificence, and glory of Harlem. It can also be read as a single continuing story that starts with a Great Migration from all over the world and ends on Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. We see people up and people down. We meet and view famous characters from history. We see Harlem residents' faith, their religion, and their everyday activities. Checkers players are viewed alongside pallbearers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ann Azuma on July 3, 2001
Format: Hardcover
As a book for four to eight year olds, I give it a three. As an adult, I give it five stars for an average rating of four. If you`ve never been to Harlem, or even New York, never met an American of African descent, if you`re too young to have heard of the likes of the Cotton Club, the Apollo, people like Sugar Ray, Langston Hughes, Lady Day, or even Malcolm X, your mama has a heck of alot of explaining to do: too much for the brief span of attention only just long enough to look at the pictures and feel the music of the poem. In terms of just words, I suppose this fits in the 4-8 reading level. However, as a work, this is more likely to be understood and therefore appreciated by older people. My kids, five, and seven, were completely mystified by the poem, although they loved the beautiful compositions that make you wish you could touch them. Having lived in Washington Heights, I can explain some basic things to them, but not enough. The ability to understand and appreciate this book is beyond their capacity at this time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on February 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The book Harlem was about how black and whites didn't get along. In the story they was mostly on 125th street in Harlem, New York. The plot was that to celebrate their journey to Harlem, making a way for new a beginning in life. In their old town it was alot of racism, so they moved to Harlem and all their problems were resolved with the help of postive leaders.

I feeled that the book was a good book because it taught me things about Harlem and that the slaves moved from south to north just for freedom, and to get treated better.
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