In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers

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9781880000311: In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers

In this collection of poetry by new and established African-American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor and grace. Contributors include Carole Boston Weatherford, Michael Burgess, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lenard D. Moore, David Anderson, Angela Johnson, Sonia Sanchez and Davida Adedjouma. Full color.

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Review:

"When you follow in the path of your father, you learn to walk like him." This simple, yet potentially double-edged Ashanti proverb begins Javaka Steptoe's picture-book debut, a powerful collection of poems celebrating African American fathers, by new and established African American writers. Breathtaking, evocative mixed-media spreads--bedecked with beads, burlap, and buttons--earned Steptoe's brilliant collection the 1998 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and the 1997 Reading Magic Award. A full-time artist and art teacher, Steptoe is the son of the late John Steptoe, also an acclaimed children's book artist. Regarding the process of creating the book, Steptoe says, "I was able to think about my father and how he affected me, and how I affected him, and give something to him by honoring his memory."

One selection, "Black Father Man" by Lenard D. Moore, begins, "Black Father Man, / the supreme earth dweller. / We are his ripe black crop / at the beginning-of-the-harvest. / We all bleed his blood / summer-hot and thick / summer-hot and thick / as unstrained milk. / Black Father Man, / the word-music messenger." Steptoe's accompanying artwork depicts men planting seeds and children growing, using actual dirt, leaves, seeds, paint, and cut paper to communicate the regenerative "we are his ripe black crop" spirit of the poem. In Folami Abiade's title poem, readers will soar high with the boy in his father's arms: "I am big and strong & proud like him / in daddy's arms / my daddy." Other contributors--including Carole Boston Weatherford, Michael Burgess, Davida Adedjouma (editor of The Palm of My Heart), and more--add humor and power to this extraordinary tribute to fatherhood. (All ages)

About the Author:

Javaka is the illustrator of Lee & Low's In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall, winner of numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and an ALA Notable. His two other picture books, Do You Know What I'll Do? (HarperCollins) and A Pocketful of Poems (Chronicle) have received critical acclaim as well. Steptoe is renowned for his innovative collage constructions. The Jones Family Express is his first book as both author and illustrator. He received his degree in fine arts from Cooper Union in New York City, and currently teaches art to children. The son of the late Caldecott medalist, John Steptoe, Javaka marks his picture book debut with this collection. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

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Javaka Steptoe
Published by Lee & Low Books (1997)
ISBN 10: 1880000318 ISBN 13: 9781880000311
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