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Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans (Jane Addams Honor Book (Awards)) Hardcover – September 27, 2011
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The dramatic oil paintings heighten the dignity of this story, whether they are of well-known historical figures, common folk or landscape…This intimate narrative makes the stories accessible to young readers and powerfully conveys how personal this history feels for many African-Americans. (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
Nelson…adds to his notable titles with this powerful view of African American history. Illustrated with 44 full-page paintings, this handsome volume is told in the fictionalized, informal voice of an African American senior looking back on her life and remembering what her elders told her. (Booklist (starred review))
Provocative and powerful, this book offers a much-needed perspective for individuals of all ages seeking to understand America’s past and present. (School Library Journal (starred review))
Nelson effectively creates a voice that is at once singular and representative. A tour de force in the career of an author/artist who continues to outdo himself. (Horn Book (starred review))
From the Back Cover
The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. But it is also the story of injustice; of a country divided by law, education, and wealth; of a people whose struggles and achievements helped define their country. This is the story of the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton for their masters; it’s about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it’s about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It’s a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination and triumphs.
Kadir Nelson, one of this generation’s most accomplished, award-winning artists, has created an epic yet intimate introduction to the history of America and African Americans, from colonial days through the civil rights movement. Written in the voice of an “Everywoman,” an unnamed narrator whose forebears came to this country on slave ships and who lived to cast her vote for the first African American president, heart and soul touches on some of the great transformative events and small victories of that history. This inspiring book demonstrates that in gaining their freedom and equal rights, African Americans helped our country achieve its promise of liberty and justice—the true heart and soul of our nation.
Top Customer Reviews
When I put out a display of books on this topic, it is such a relief to have books that I can give to a small child without worrying, can he/she handle this yet? There will be time, as they grow, for the Emmett Till horror, the lynchings, and so terribly much more! But when they are small, still, I need for them, and for their parents, to have a way to discuss this without causing night terrors. This book fills that need.
Bless you, Mr. Nelson! You were a delight on the radio, and this book is a delight in our library!
An old woman stands in front of a portrait in the Capitol rotunda in Washington D.C. Bent over she regards the art there, recounting how it was black hands that built the Capitol from sandstone. "Strange though . . . nary a black face in all those pretty pictures." Looking at them you would swear black people hadn't been here from the start, but that's simply not true. With that, the woman launches into the history of both our nation and the African Americans living in it, sometimes through the lens of her own family.Read more ›
The cover sets the tone for this future classic and... wow. This story is told through the voice of a woman (Kadir's grandmother) who has lived through the visit of the first slaves to the election of President Obama. The narrator transcends time, as does our history. In the telling of this story, our narrator is very honest. And not from the "chip on the shoulder" angle either. Just honest. One of the first stories that made me go "what?" was hearing why Pap wouldn't let his family eat black-eyed peas on New Years.
Another point was the picture of the whipping tree. I'm from South Carolina and we used to visit Charleston all the time. I hated it then but I miss it now. Anyway, there was a street in Charleston that was two way. In the middle of the street there was a large tree. I remember my mom telling me that slaves used to hang from that tree. The tree in this book isn't the same tree, but I got that same weird feeling that I got when I saw this painting. One of awe, horror, fascination, and sadness.
Grandmother continues her story and every once in a while, throws in a dash of humor. Suffice it to say that she wasn't the only woman who found Dr. King attractive. :- Hearing about our history from Grandmother is a treat, but what REALLY makes this book stand out are Kadir's paintings. And not just one or two.Read more ›
This whole book is a work of art, without being artsy. The pictures are just astonishing. Really. This book would be worth buying even without words. I can't imagine the time put into it and wonder if some of the illustrations are part of larger exhibits, on a mural somewhere etc. I also like the personal folksy story telling tone - although it sometimes seems to have a southern accent and sometimes doesn't.
At 100 pages and 12 chapters it's not a one night bedtime story for young kids . . . But in my mind it is totally deserving of required reading status for say ages 8 through . . . 108?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a lovely book. I fell in love with this book as soon as I saw and held it. I haven't read it. It was bought for daughters. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Stunning!!! My only regret is not getting the hardback! I can't wait to share this with my family. It's a beautiful addition to our homeschool library!Published 5 months ago by JTAAA