The People Could Fly: The Picture Book (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards))

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9780375824050: The People Could Fly: The Picture Book (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards))
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“THE PEOPLE COULD FLY,” the title story in Virginia Hamilton’s prize-winning American Black folktale collection, is a fantasy tale of the slaves who possessed the ancient magic words that enabled them to literally fly away to freedom. And it is a moving tale of those who did not have the opportunity to “fly” away, who remained slaves with only their imaginations to set them free as they told and retold this tale.

Leo and Diane Dillon have created powerful new illustrations in full color for every page of this picture book presentation of Virginia Hamilton’s most beloved tale. The author’s original historical note as well as her previously unpublished notes are included.

Awards for The People Could Fly collection:

A Coretta Scott King Award

A Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice

A School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

A Horn Book Fanfare

An ALA Notable Book

An NCTE Teachers’ Choice

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year

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About the Author:

Virginia Hamilton, the first Black to win a Newbery Medal and the first children’s book author to be awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant, won the Coretta Scott King Award for The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. She died in 2002 at the age of 66.

Leo and Diane Dillon, recepients of two Caldecott Medals, have illustrated five books by Virginia Hamilton, including the original black-and-white illustrations in The People Could Fly collection, Many Thousand Gone, and Her Stories. Leo and Diane Dillon live in Brooklyn, NY.

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Gr. 3-9. The stirring title story in the late Virginia Hamilton's 1985 collection of American black folktales is an unforgettable slave escape fantasy, retold here in terse, lyrical prose that stays true to the oral tradition Hamilton knew from her family and her scholarly research. Leo and Diane Dillons' illustrations for the collection were in black and white, but the art here is beautiful full color, in the style of the cover of the collection. The large paintings are magic realism at its finest, with clear portraits showing individuals and the enduring connections between them. The images depict mass cruelty close up, but the faces of the characters Hamilton names are always distinct, even in the packed hold of the slave ships, when those "who could fly" lost their wings. Laboring in the cotton field, Sarah and her baby are whipped by the overseer. When elderly Toby helps them escape, the rhythmic paintings dramatize people flying to freedom, joining hands together in the sky. Each one is an individual, exquisitely (and differently) dressed in traditional African garb, an inspiration to those left behind, who "had only their imaginations to set them free." A final portrait shows Hamilton in kente cloth smiling above a loving family at home. This special picture-book story will be told and retold everywhere. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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ISBN 10:  055350780X ISBN 13:  9780553507805
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