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We Troubled the Waters Hardcover – October 20, 2009
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I Will Follow Jesus Bible Storybook
Kids will learn about God and about Jesus’ life and purpose on earth through Bible stories from both the Old and New Testaments. Hardcover
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About the Author
Ntozake Shange is a celebrated poet and author of many novels and plays, including the Obie Award-winning play For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, which was made into a feature film. Ms. Shange is also the author of several children’s books, including the Coretta Scott King Award-winning book Ellington Was Not a Street, illustrated by Kadir Nelson.
Rod Brown is a fine artist and the illustrator of We Troubled the Waters by Ntozake Shange, and From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults. His artwork has been displayed at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and on the Nickelodeon program Nick News with Linda Ellerbee, among other places. A native of Columbia, South Carolina, Rod lives with his wife in a suburb of Washington, DC.
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Top Customer Reviews
It was a white world and what wasn't white was labeled "colored." A young boy, holding his little brother's hand, shows him two words he mustn't forget. Colored. White. He has to know the difference in a Jim Crow world. Shot gun houses can fit thirteen people or more and a little boy can sleep "right neath the kitchen table/ ever so warm & smellin so good." Then there are the "Crying Trees" where someone's son is hanging. They aren't much better than "Roadkill" in some people's eyes. Later Rosa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Brother Malcolm would care and the signs would come down. No more colored. No more white. Just people.
When I read this book I had no idea where to place it in the realm of children's literature. It is one of the most amazing, shocking and touching visual and poetic treatises on man's inequality to man I've seen in a book intended for the middle school child. The artwork was hauntingly beautiful. I've never quite seen anything like it and probably won't again for some time. Perfection is very difficult to duplicate. This is a masterpiece that you won't want to pass up if you are interested in the history of the African American!
Then, all through this collection of astonishing poems--astonishing, yes, because tersely, briefly, vividly, they paint pictures just as brilliant as the ones on the pages they grace, somehow--there are the twined threads of terrible, terrible grief, and aspiring, uplifting hope.
I am fifty, white, and grew up in the North; I remember so many of the scenes from this book played out on the nightly news, and I still cannot believe it went on, don't want to believe it went on, but I know it did. It hurts to know it, but it helps, and somehow heals a little bit, to read great, great works like this one.
Thank you, Ms. Shange, and Mr. Brown. I cannot say enough good things about this book.
Ntozake Shange and Rod Brown bring together powerful images of familiar history to those who lived through these times. WE TROUBLED THE WATER makes history come alive, allowing the reader/viewer to feel the suffering and the courage of those who lived through that time. WE TROUBLED THE WATER strikes the emotions in a very visceral way. The images and verse about real historic figures provide an educational resource for children (ages 9-12). Several lesser known historical figures (Marcus Garvey and Bull Connor) are mentioned, giving direction for those inquisitive readers who want to explore more history of the Civil Rights Movement. Some of the most compelling and shocking images emerge from the authors use of nature in the beginning river scene, "Crying Trees" and "Road Kill." These images trouble one deeply and yet few images anywhere capture the emotion behind the suffering and call for justice as these do. These images and words are not for the faint of heart.Read more ›
There's a poem about Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Brown's painting of Dr. King is amazing. Overall, Brown's art made me pause and take notice. They are simply could be hanging in a museum beautiful.
The three poems that stand out for me - Crying Trees, The Ku Klux Klan and Brother Malcolm.
Crying Trees - Is about Black men being lynched. Shange's words are enough to touch a readers heart. Though for this particular poem I noticed Brown's art first. A picture is worth a thousand words is a saying for a reason. Black men hanging from trees is an ugly truth of this countries past.
The Ku Klux Klan - This poem stood out for me for two reasons. 1. Like lynching, I think the Klan tends to get overlooked. 2. The last line is lovely.
"hatred dies hard death and the Klan aint dead yet"
Brother Malcolm - Malcolm X, seems to be excluded or forgotten from children's books. I am not sure which.
Fans of Ntozake Shange and Rod Brown will love We Troubled The Waters. This is a wonderful place to begin for people unfamiliar with their work. This collection will make you think, remember, teach and lead to discussions.
Ages 10 up