“1. Coretta Scott King Award (1986)
“1. Coretta Scott King Award (1986)
3. A good book about African Slavery. the slaves that were taken from their homes once knew the magical words on how to fly. But when they were turned into slaves the words were forgotten. When they could not bear the torture any longer an old man, Toby, came to their rescue. He whispered the magical words so the slaves could fly away to freedom. The pictures use a lot of reds/yellows/oranges that really make you feel like you are hot, like it is in the south.
4. *African culture
* Different theories on how slaves gained freedom
* Slavery discussions”
“When I was small my mother would read me a story almost every night. I never got to choose. I always had to just sit wait and listen. She would put on this old African American Southern accent and I would listen as best I could. This books formed me in the midst of my childhood. While in kidergarten and first grade I went to a diverse school. Everyone was different, Christians, Musilms, jews, Blacks, Indians. Now as a teenager in a northern Michigan town everyone is a Christian and White. When I go downstate with my friends I never EVER look around and am like "Im the minority. Im the only white girl in the store" Some of my friends have said that. I just don't notice it. And I really believe that it is because of this book. ”Meg has a Life I PROMISE wrote this review Friday, August 6, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent book. ”Megan S wrote this review Monday, April 12, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“i have read this copy tons of times. it its one of my favorites i probaly cry ay least once thourgh the whole book everyone should read this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”abby c wrote this review Sunday, November 29, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“(Originally written for a college course):
I have always appreciated folktales, the earliest one actually being African. In the brief story, it is explained how giraffes wound up with long necks. A horse goes to the water to drink and is attacked be an alligator. In the act of pulling back against the attacking alligator, the horse extends his neck, and to this day… I cannot be for sure why, but I always loved that formula. Reading these stories and realizing that they were not factual explanations for the state of the world drove me to find the real theories behind these things (giraffes, I learned as a result of that folktale, evolved long necks to be able to eat the fruit other animals could not reach). I also was attracted by enchanted realism - or to borrow from the text, “exaggerated reality” - and the creativity it must have taken to conjure up these explanations (Hamilton 59). These qualities led me to write a short story for which I was elected to go to the Young Authors’ Conference around fourth grade. In my story, a lonely alligator eats an entire orchestra. The distraught conductor posts flyers looking for a new orchestra to lead. The alligator spots the ad and shows up to try out for the conductor. The yet-intact orchestra in the alligator’s belly strikes up for the audition and the alligator, now famous for his marvelous ability, goes on to perform for crowds of adoring fans.
Whereas my story lacks a clear lesson or moral, it retains some of the fudging of what is possible or plausible as in the stories enumerated in The People Could Fly. But in the end, that is what always attracted me to folktales, both as a young writer and a mature reader, the attraction of a world with new rules, a world shaped like ours and somehow familiar, different though it may be.
I could not help but wonder at the sorts of questions students in the high school class I will be teaching next semester would ask after reading The People Could Fly. Where is the value in reading these simplistic narratives? Why were these stories not updated into modern English? Why are these stories so silly? In my answers to my cynical, hypothetical students, I find my critical reaction to The People Could Fly. The value in these short folktales is tied up in the greater significance of the existence of the monomyth - that theory of Joseph Campbell’s that says all myths spring from the same place in the human soul, resulting in a resemblance to one another related through the depiction of the hero’s round. This serves, or should serve, to bring humankind closer to an understanding that we are all the same animals, different though we may be in color and origin. It says in effect that the only origin that matters, the only hometown that matters, is that mysterious spot in the human soul that is the same in everyone.
As for why these stories are not updated to modern English, there are lessons to be learned through reading these stories in a highly modified Gullah dialect. The lesson that I find is an extension of any history of the African American people who were deprived of a proper understanding of the English language or even their native languages (I cannot cite this, but I have heard that slaves were often kept apart from other slaves of their linguistic background in order to keep them from communicating). The result is a linguistic no-man’s-land, which led to the need to innovate a new dialect.
As for the simplicity of the stories - or even seeming simple mindedness - simple as they may seem, the morals are far from simple. With lessons for the proud, lessons for the slave and lessons for the slave master, these folktales are further proof of the innovation of slaves as they desperately sought ways to communicate and be understood.”
“Summary: "Retold Afro-American folk tales of animals, fantasy, the supernatural, and desire for freedom, born of the sorrow of the slaves, but passed on in hope." -CIP ”Jodi M wrote this review Tuesday, October 14, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a wonderful story/folktale with a deeper, underlying message of faith and deliverance. The illustrations are simply wonderful and it further makes me proud to be of Angor/Gullah descent. A must read for African-American children.”Swaggie wrote this review Monday, October 1, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No