FREEDOM'S A CALLIN' ME is a series of poems, narrated by a runaway slave, chronicling his attempts to escape his life on a plantation in the south and travel north to freedom. Here area few samples:
FREEDOM’S A CALLING ME
the overseer’s got his hands busybut I hear that whip bouncing off somebody’s backbouncing like thousands of toddlers yelpingbut it aint but one or two slaves aint picking quick enoughbut he aint looking over herethis here is my chance to getright out of here…
But they are also hopeful.he got us hanging like hogs or fresh beefwith us wiggling underunder a rawhide whiplike that going to scare us…
THE NORTH STAR
This is not a poetry book for young children.The poems are vivid and graphic and strong, perfect for a middle or high school history class. I could also see myself using them in a writing lesson on voice or as an example for multigenre research reports. Or just simply reading the book aloud, because words this strong deserve to be/must be read aloud.…this is a time to follow the north star‘cause that’ll lead them to freedom somewhere ‘way from herethey sang about it/how the north star was goin to save themthey dreamed about it huddled in caves and under huge trees& every night they were on their way northcloser to freedomalways followin the north star
Ntozake Shanghe's words are accompanied by Rod Brown's gorgeous oil paintings. You can see a few of those illustrations and poems, here, at the publisher's website. (I believe I read somewhere that Shange wrote the poems after Brown did the paintings, but I could not find that to verify it this morning). Shange and Brown have evidently paired up at least once before, in WE TROUBLED THE WATERS. I don't know that book, but I will definitely be looking for it when I head to the library today.
This is a book I need to own. This is a book people need to know.
BOOK DRAGON also reviewed FREEDOM'S A-CALLIN ME.
POETRY FRIDAY is at TEACHER DANCE. Head over to Linda's blog and enjoy some great poetry.