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Comment: Used Good copy may have signs of cover wear and/or marks on corners and page edges. Inside pages may have highlighting, writing and underlining.
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The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales Paperback – January 4, 1993

4.8 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Virginia Hamilton, Newbery Medal winner and recipient of the National Book Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award, teams up with two-time Caldecott Medal winners, Leo and Diane Dillon, in this classic collection of American black folktales, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award. By turns droll, grisly, and spine-tingling, the 24 stories celebrate the indomitable human spirit, surviving under the most crushing circumstances of slavery. Traditionally, storytelling has helped people to push through sorrow and pain, especially when the stories are saturated with magic, mysticism, and fantasy. Bruh Rabbit, He Lion, Tar Baby, and other animals populate many of the stories. In others, John, the traditional trickster hero, outwits the slave owner time after time to win his freedom.

Included with this very special edition is a CD featuring the commanding voices of Hamilton and actor James Earl Jones. Eleven selections, including "The Peculiar Such Thing," "John and the Devil's Daughter," "A Wolf and Little Daughter," and "The People Could Fly," bring to life the rhythm and lyrical energy of Hamilton's text. Leo and Diane Dillon's strikingly beautiful black and white illustrations continue to mesmerize and haunt the reader. (All ages) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

This widely lauded anthology boasts stunning black-and-white artwork and stirringly told stories with such evocative titles as "The Beautiful Girl of the Moon Tower" and "Wiley, His Mama, and the Hairy Man." All ages.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 660L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (January 4, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679843361
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679843368
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,804 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book, I am 9 year old. I read the book in about 2 days, it was about African-American folk tales. The best story in the book was "if the people could fly".
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By A Customer on March 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
This book rates way up there as a wonderful resource for anyone who is trying to raise children to have an appreciation for the cultures that make up our great country. As a home educator, I am always on the lookout for multi-cultural resources that provide a window into the backgrounds of others. Since the author writes from personal background experience, as well as research into the African-American folktales, I believe it is an excellent representation of stories that children would have grown up with in that culture. Besides, it's exciting, interesting, fun to read aloud, and has wonderful illustrations!
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Format: Paperback
I read this book when I was in elementary school and fell in love with it. Virginia Hamilton really captures the essence of West African story telling and transfers that essence into American form. As an educator and historian, the lessons in this book has stayed with me for well over 18 yrs and I suspect the lessons will remain with me forever. I recommend that this book is on the shelves of every African American family.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first heard of this book when I was in 5th grade (about 10-11 yrs. old)...I'm 28 now. My African-American teacher would read us stories from it. I remember enjoying the stories so much that I bought this book for my son about 2 yrs. ago. My son is almost 3 now & while he can't read yet, I know he will enjoy the stories as much as I have. This book comes with a CD & is narrated by the author & James Earl Jones...the narration was well done. I listened to the CD & I felt as if I had gone back in time. The narrators are so vivid & they really get your attention. The CD is definitely a plus & the book was well written. I really like that the stories have morals & life lessons that we can learn from. I recommend buying this version of the book because it comes with the CD. I also recommend this book for children 9 & up. This book would be a great addition to anyone's book collection. I hope my review is helpful.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had this book as a kid and sad that I couldn't find my copy. I ordered it to use in my high school English classroom to give students a different perspective. My own children enjoyed the stories (except the spookie ones). A wonderful book of slave narratives.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a classic book of American Black Folktales with stories that may enrich the youth. The author does an excellent job of relating the stories chosen for this publication. The many awards that this book has received, in my opinion, are well deserved. Books have a way of transporting the reader to another time or place, to captivate the reader to forget his or her surroundings and become one with the storyteller. This classic work fulfills this description.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first read this book while in the 5th grade and it has stuck with me all these years. I am now 33 years old and still remember the stories and still remember the author. There are not many books I can say that about from more than 20 years ago. I felt as though this book related to me and the stories were ones that touched me. I constantly told my son this was a book he should read and have no clue why I am just purchasing it now. This is one of those books everyone should have in their collection. While I have gone digital with all my other books this was one I wanted to sit on my bookshelf for my kids to read and future generations of my family to read. Do you and your family a favor and purchase this book. An African American Masterpiece.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
(My granddaughter, Miss Alicia, is giving me this review. She is ten and these are her words) These are different types of stories about black folktales. My favorite folktale was the last one 'The People Could Fly'.The characters in the story get together and they believe they can fly out of slavery and be free. The believe that they can fly because of one slave who told them about their tribe in Africa that could fly.
One reason its my favorites is because it reminds me of Harriet Tubman escaping slavery with other slaves. Another reason I liked the book is that most of the illustrations show what each story is telling about slavery. Other children should read it because it teaches them what was going back in the 1800 and 1700s.
The first time I read the book was with my grandmother when I was little and then I started reading it on my own.
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