for We Troubled the Waters
by Ntozake Shange
and Rod Brown
Stirring poems and paintings comprise an emotional volume focused on African American experience in the south in the mid-twentieth century. There are a few famous people here—Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X—but it is the lives and dreams, challenges and indignities faced by subjects without names or familiar faces that are most affecting. A “Cleaning Gal” can’t afford to rest or quit, so continues “scrubbin & scrubbin what aint mine.” Hungry “Garbage Boys” collect other people’s trash and “never understand / how folks throw way what’s still good to eat.” In “Crying Trees” poet Ntozake Shange asks, “how can our boys be some decorations in the forest / never to kiss good night again,” while artist Rod Brown’s accompanying painting shows young men hanging noosed and lifeless from trees. Shange and Brown confront a past that is disturbing but also inspiring in both the courage and strength of individuals known and nameless and in transcendent moments of the Civil Rights Movement. (Age 13 and older)
CCBC Choices 2010. © Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2010. Used with permission.
Jim Crow; Brown v. Board of Education; Bull Connor; KKK; Birmingham; the Lorraine Motel; Rosa; Martin; and Malcolm.
From slavery to the separation of "colored" and "white" and from horrifying oppression to inspiring courage, there are countless stories—both forgotten and immortalized—of everyday and extraordinary people who acted for justice during the civil rights movement that changed our nation.
Award-winning poet Ntozake Shange and illustrator Rod Brown give voice to all those who fought for their unalienable rights in a triumphant book about the power of the human spirit.
Publisher description retrieved from Google Books.