Friday, February 05, 2016

Celebrating Black History Month with Poetry

February-- Black History Month-- is a great opportunity to showcase all the wonderful poetry created by African American poets who write for young people and there are so many great choices! Of course, we include this poetry in our programs, lessons, and special celebrations all year long, but this is a great opportunity to immerse ourselves in these great writers. 

First, I want to give a shout-out to Curious City for featuring 28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr. with audio versions of each excerpt free and accessible to all! Here's the link. Each poem is read by a range of professional narrators, complete with music and sound effects. Just listen to the first one and you'll be hooked! 


Poem Postcard

I featured a "theme" poem for Black History Month by Charles Waters from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations earlier. You'll find the poem postcard on Pinterest here

List of African American Poetry for Young People
There are so many wonderful African American poets writing for young people-- and who have been writing for years. In my book, The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists, I provide a list to get you started. Here it is updated a bit and as usual I welcome any suggestions for additions.

  1. Adedjouma, D. Ed.. 1996. The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children. New York: Lee & Low.
  2. Adoff, Arnold, comp. 1974. My Black Me: A Beginning Book of Black Poetry. New York: Dutton. Reprinted, 1994.
  3. Adoff, Arnold. 2010. Roots and Blues, A Celebration. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  4. Adoff, Jaime. 2005. Jimi & Me. New York: Hyperion.
  5. Adoff, Jaime. 2008. The Death of Jayson Porter. New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion. 
  6. Alexander, Elizabeth and Nelson, Marilyn. 2007.  Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong.
  7. Alexander, Kwame. 2014. The Crossover. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  8. Alexander, Kwame. 2016. Booked. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
  9. Angelou, Maya. 1993. Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. New York: Steward, Tabori, & Chang.
  10. Brooks, Gwendolyn. 1956/1984. Bronzeville Boys and Girls. New York: HarperCollins.
  11. Bryan, Ashley. 1997. Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry. New York: Atheneum.
  12. Bryan, Ashley. 2014. Ashley Bryan's Puppets: Making Something from Everything. New York: Atheneum.
  13. Clinton, Catherine. Ed. 1998. I, Too, Sing America: Three Centuries of African American Poetry. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  14. Crisler, Curtis. 2007. Tough Boy Sonatas. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
  15. Dunbar, Paul Laurence. Reissued, 1999. Jump Back Honey. New York: Hyperion.
  16. Feelings. Tom. 1993. Soul Looks Back in Wonder. New York: Dial.
  17. Giovanni, Nikki. 1994. Knoxville, Tennessee. New York: Scholastic.
  18. Giovanni, Nikki. 1996. The Sun Is So Quiet. New York: Henry Holt.
  19. Giovanni, Nikki. 1997. It’s Raining Laughter. New York: Dial.
  20. Giovanni, Nikki. Coll. 2008. Hip Hop Speaks to Children. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks.
  21. Greenfield, Eloise. 2004. In the Land of Words. New York: HarperCollins. 
  22. Greenfield, Eloise. 2006. The Friendly Four. Ill. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. New York: HarperCollins.
  23. Greenfield, Eloise. 2008. Brothers and Sisters: Family Poems. New York: Amistad/HarperCollins.
  24. Greenfield, Eloise. 2011. The Great Migration: Journey to the North. Ill. by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Amistad/HarperCollins. 
  25. Grimes, Nikki. 1994. Meet Danitra Brown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  26. Grimes, Nikki. 1996. Come Sunday. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans.
  27. Grimes, Nikki. 1997. It’s Raining Laughter: Poems. New York: Dial.
  28. Grimes, Nikki. 1998. A Dime a Dozen. New York: Dial.
  29. Grimes, Nikki. 1998. Jazmin’s Notebook. New York: Dial.
  30. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. At Break of Day. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman.
  31. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. At Jerusalem’s gate. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdman.
  32. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. Hopscotch Love: A Family Treasury of Love Poems. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  33. Grimes, Nikki. 1999. My Man Blue: Poems. New York: Dial.
  34. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Shoe Magic. New York: Orchard.
  35. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Is It Far to Zanzibar: Poems about Tanzania. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard. 
  36. Grimes, Nikki. 2000. Stepping out with Grandma Mac. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  37. Grimes, Nikki. 2001. A Pocketful of Poems. New York: Clarion.
  38. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Bronx Masquerade. New York: Dial.
  39. Grimes, Nikki. 2002. Danitra Brown Leaves Town. New York: HarperCollins.
  40. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. What is Goodbye? New York: Jump at the Sun/Hyperion.
  41. Grimes, Nikki. 2004. Tai Chi morning: Snapshots of China. Chicago: Cricket Books.
  42. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Danitra Brown, Class Clown. New York: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard.
  43. Grimes, Nikki. 2005. Dark Sons. New York: Hyperion.
  44. Grimes, Nikki. 2006. Thanks a Million. New York: Amistad.
  45. Grimes, Nikki. 2007. When Gorilla Goes Walking. New York: Orchard.
  46. Grimes, Nikki. 2011. Planet Middle School. New York: Bloomsbury.
  47. Grimes, Nikki. 2013. Words with Wings. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  48. Grimes, Nikki. 2015. Poems in the Attic. Ill. by Elizabeth Zunon. New York: Lee & Low. 
  49. Grimes, Nikki. 2016. Garvey’s Choice. Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  50. Gunning, Monica. 2004. A Shelter In Our Car. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  51. Gunning, Monica. 2004. America, My New Home. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  52. Hudson, Wade. Ed. 1993. Pass It On:  African American Poetry for Children.  New York: Scholastic. 
  53. Hughes, Langston. (75th anniversary edition) 2007. The Dream Keeper (and seven additional poems). New York: Knopf.
  54. Hughes, Langston. 2012. I, Too, Am America. Ill. by Bryan Collier. Simon & Schuster.
  55. Hughes, Langston. 2009. My People. Ill. by Charles R Smith Jr. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  56. Hughes, Langston. 2009. The Negro Speaks of Rivers. Ill. by E. B. Lewis. New York: Disney-Hyperion.
  57. Iyengar, Malathi Michelle. 2009. Tan to Tamarind: Poems About the Color Brown. Ill. by Jamel Akib. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press.
  58. Johnson, Angela. 1998. The Other Side: Shorter Poems. New York: Orchard.
  59. Johnson, James Weldon. 1995. Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing. New York: Scholastic.
  60. McKissack, Patricia. 2011. Never Forgotten. Ill. by Leo and Diane Dillon. New York: Schwartz & Wade.
  61. McKissack, Patricia. 2008. Stitchin’ and Pullin’; A Gee’s Bend Quilt. Illus. by Cozbi A. Cabrera. New York: Random House.
  62. Myers, Walter Dean. 1993. Brown Angels:  An Album of Pictures and Verse. New York: HarperCollins.  
  63. Myers, Walter Dean. 1995. Glorious Angels:  A Celebration of Children. New York: HarperCollins.  
  64. Myers, Walter Dean. 1997. Harlem: A Poem. New York: Scholastic.
  65. Myers, Walter Dean. 1998. Angel to Angel. New York: HarperCollins.
  66. Myers, Walter Dean. 2003. Blues Journey. New York: Holiday House.
  67. Myers, Walter Dean. 2004. Here in Harlem: Poems in Many Voices. New York: Holiday House.
  68. Myers, Walter Dean. 2006. Jazz. Ill. by Christopher Myers. New York: Holiday House.
  69. Myers, Walter Dean. 2009. Amiri and Odette: A Love Story. Ill. by Javaka Steptoe. New York: Scholastic.
  70. Myers, Walter Dean. 2011. We are America; A Tribute from the Heart. Ill. by Christopher Myers. HarperCollins.
  71. Nelson, Marilyn. 2001. Carver: A Life in Poems. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  72. Nelson, Marilyn. 2004. Fortune's Bones: The Manumission Requiem. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  73. Nelson, Marilyn. 2005. A Wreath for Emmett Till. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  74. Nelson, Marilyn. 2008. The Freedom Business. Asheville, NC: Front Street.
  75. Nelson, Marilyn. 2009. Sweethearts of Rhythm; The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World. Ill. by Jerry Pinkney. NY: Dial.
  76. Nelson, Marilyn. 1997. The Fields Of Praise: New and Selected Poems. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press.
  77. Nelson, Marilyn. 2015. My Seneca Village. Namelos.
  78. Nelson, Marilyn. 2014. How I Discovered Poetry. New York: Dial.
  79. Nelson, Marilyn. 2016. American Ace. Dial Books. 
  80. Neri, G. 2010. Yummy; The Last Days of a Southside Shorty. Ill. by Randy DuBurke. New York: Lee and Low.
  81. Neri, G. and Watson, Jesse Joshua. 2007. Chess Rumble. New York, NY: Lee & Low.
  82. Neri, Greg. 2014. Hello, I'm Johnny Cash. Ill. by A. G. Ford. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  83. Newsome, Effie Lee. 1999. Wonders: The Best Children’s Poems by Effie Lee Newsome. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills.
  84. Okutoro, L. O. 1999. Quiet Storm: Voices from Young Black Poets. New York: Hyperion.
  85. Pinkney, Andrea Davis. The Red Pencil. Ill. by Shane W. Evans. New York: Little, Brown.

  86. Shakur, Tupac. 1999. A Rose That Grew from Concrete. New York: Pocket Books.
  87. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2002. Perfect Harmony: A Musical Journey with the Boys Choir of Harlem. New York: Hyperion/Jump at the Sun.
  88. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2003. Hoop Queens. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  89. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2003. I am America. New York: Scholastic. 
  90. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 2004. Hoop Kings. Somerville, MA: Candlewick. 
  91. Smith, Charles R. Jr. Jr. 2007. Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  92. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2010. Black Jack; The Ballad of Jack Johnson. Roaring Brook.
  93. Smith, Charles R., Jr. 2012. Stars in the Shadows: The Negro League All-Star Game of 1934. Ill. by Frank Morrison. Atheneum.
  94. Smith, Charles R. Jr. 28 Days: Moments in Black History that Changed the World. Ill. by Shane W. Evans. New York: Macmillan.
  95. Smith, Hope Anita. 2003. The Way a Door Closes. New York: Henry Holt.
  96. Smith, Hope Anita. 2008. Keeping the Night Watch. New York: Henry Holt.
  97. Smith, Hope Anita. 2009. Mother; Poems. New York: Henry Holt. 
  98. Smith, Jr., Charles R. 2004. Diamond Life: Baseball Sights, Sounds, and Swings. New York: Orchard.
  99. Steptoe, Javaka. Ed. 1997. In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers. New York: Lee & Low.
  100. Strickland, Dorothy S. and Michael R. Strickland. Eds. 1994. Families: Poems Celebrating the African-American Experience. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills.
  101. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1993. Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea: Poems. New York:  HarperCollins.
  102. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 1995. Gingerbread Days. New York: HarperCollins.
  103. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2000. Hush Songs: African American Lullabies. New York: Hyperion. 
  104. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2001. A Mother’s Heart, A Daughter’s Love: Poems for Us to Share. New York: HarperCollins. 
  105. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2002. Crowning Glory. New York: HarperCollins. 
  106. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2007. Shouting! New York: Hyperion.
  107. Thomas, Joyce Carol. 2008. The Blacker the Berry. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Amistad.
  108. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2000. The Sound that Jazz Makes. New York: Walker.
  109. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2001. Sidewalk Chalk; Poems of the City. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press. 
  110. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2002. Remember the Bridge: Poems of a People. New York: Philomel. 
  111. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2006. Dear Mr. Rosenwald. Ill. by R. Gregory Christie. New York: Scholastic. 
  112. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2007. Birmingham, 1963. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  113. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2008. Becoming Billie Holiday. Honesdale, PA: Wordsong/Boyds Mills Press.
  114. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2008. I, Matthew Henson: Polar Explorer. Ill. by Eric Velasquez.
  115. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2014. Gordon Parks: How the Photographer Captured Black and White America. Ill. by Jamey Christoph. Chicago: Albert Whitman.
  116. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2014. Sugar Hill: Harlem's Historic Neighborhood. Ill. by R. Gregory Christie. Chicago: Whitman.
  117. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2015. Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer: The Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement. Somerville, MA: Candlewick.
  118. Weatherford, Carole Boston. 2016. You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen. Simon & Schuster.
  119. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2003. Locomotion. New York: Putnam.
  120. Woodson, Jacqueline. 2014. Brown Girl Dreaming. New York: Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin.

FYI: I have similar lists of poetry in The Poetry Teacher's Book of Lists, including:
*Asian American Poetry for Young People
*Hispanic/Latino/Latina Poetry for Young People
*Native American Poetry For Young People
*International Poetry for Young People
*Bilingual Poetry for Young People
and many more...

Previously
And here is a list of previous blog posts that feature poetry for young people by African American writers:
1. For my post, "Happy birthday, Maya Angelou," click here and for a tribute to her poetry for young people, click here.
2. For two posts on The Great Migration by Eloise Greenfield, click here and here.
3. For my post on Roots and Blues by Arnold Adoff, click here.
4. For my post on Shouting! by Joyce Carol Thomas, click here
5. For my post on Rosa Parks Day, click here.
6. For my post on I Am the Darker Brother by Arnold Adoff, click here.
7. For my post on Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton by Don Tate, click here
8. For my post on Marilyn Nelson's contribution to Poetry Tag, click here.

Now head on over to Tricia's place, The Miss Rumphius Effect, for more Poetry Friday fellowship. See you there!


4 comments:

Mary Lee said...

What a fabulous resource! Thank you...am sharing now!

Ramona said...

Sylvia, love this list! The link for Charles Water's poem on Pinterest doesn't work.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thanks, Mary Lee. Your compliments (and sharing) makes me SO happy!
And thank you, Ramona, for the kind words and the tip. I have fixed that link now.

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

What an amazing amazing resource, dear Sylvia. Thank you for all that you do.