Ashley Bryan's ABC of African American Poetry

by Ashley Bryan

Lines and images from African-American poetry form the foundation of this unusual... read more

Lines and images from African-American poetry form the foundation of this unusual alphabet book in which Ashley Bryan let form and content inspire one another. Rather than trying to arrange the names of 26 poets so that each corresponded to a single letter of the alphabet, or finding poems in which the first letter of the first word would do the same, Bryan was moved to create tempera and gouache images inspired by individual poems and then "use only the lines of each poem that inspired the image, and...capitalize the alphabet letter wherever it occurred in those lines."The result is an alphabet book for older children that offers a world of cultural richness and is not bound by traditional rules (though all 26 letters do make an appearance, in their usual order). Each dazzling page of this 12-1/2 x 9-1/2"volume features a full-page image in Bryan's vibrant color scheme. In the upper left- hand corner of the page is the alphabet letter, in the lower left-hand corner is the short poem or excerpted lines that relate directly to the art, with the featured letter emphasized. At the bottom of the page is the name of the African-American poet who wrote the words. An acknowledgments page is arranged by each letter of the alphabet and provides the full bibliographic citation for the cited poem or excerpt in this bold, dynamic book. (Ages 6 -12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1997

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