Eloise Greenfield In this season of gift-giving we want to look at the gift of poetry, specifically the poetry and writing of Eloise Greenfield. Since publishing her first poem in 1962, she has written more than forty-five books for children and was the recipient of the 2018 Coretta Scott King Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Though our focus this month is on Javaka Steptoe, we want to begin this column with another book by his father, John Steptoe, Daddy is a Monster…Sometimes. This book is narrated by two children, Bweela and Javaka, who begin, “We are Bweela and Javaka and we have a daddy. He’s a nice daddy and all, but he got somethin’ wrong with him… .”
Poetry and the spoken word have prominent places in African American culture, due at least in part to a strong oral tradition that has been passed down through generations. Consider including poems from the books below in your read-alouds this month, and the year ahead, as a way to highlight the contributions of African Americans to our nation’s history and culture.… more
Bring Me Some Apples and I’ll Make You a Pie: A Story about Edna Lewis is a memorable book about growing food throughout the seasons and living off the land in Virginia. Wild strawberry, purslane, dandelions, sassafras, honey. As spring rides the breeze into summer, this extended family tends to their larder, taking full advantage of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables growing around them.… more
Jackie: Phyllis, the zucchini seeds you gave me have grown into a plant that knocked on our back door this morning. I gave it coffee and it retreated to the yard, heading toward the alley. When I was a kid one of my favorite stories was the tall tale of Paul Bunyan. I laughed at the exaggeration, the total wackiness of an ox so large his footprints made the Great Lakes.… more