Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

by Kadir Nelson

“Most folks my age and complexion don’t speak much about the past. Sometimes... read more

“Most folks my age and complexion don’t speak much about the past. Sometimes it’s just too hard to talk about— nothing we want to share with you young folk.” As the unnamed narrator of Kadir Nelson’s stirring work continues, she bares her heart and soul to recount the oral history that’s been passed down in her own family from pre-slavery times to the present day, and in doing so traces the history of African Americans. The narrative technique gives readers a view of history that is both sweeping and intimate. Every page of text is accompanied by a full-page, hauntingly realistic painting. Some are of well-known historical figures such as Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, and others are anonymous men and women who represent the scope of African American lives. Each one shows determination in facial expression and body posture, a resolve to move their families forward. The personal story culminates with the elderly narrator voting in 2008 for the man who would become the first African American president. (Ages 8–14)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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