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In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall

by Various  African-American Poets
Illustrated by Javaka Steptoe

Published by Lee & Low, 1997
32 pages
ISBN: 1-880000-31-8

Age 8 and older

Thirteen African-American writers explore and celebrate Black fathers in a collection that is illustrated with power and distinction by artist Javaka Steptoe. In poems that feel intensely personal at the same time they speak to broader cultural experiences, the poets write from the perspective of "child" in varying voices. Sometimes the voice is childlike and youthful and filled with pride and delight, as in the title poem "in daddy's arms" by Folami Abiade or "Tickle Tickle" by Dakari Hru, and sometimes it speaks straight from adulthood or echoes adult understanding of a world in which Black men face such great struggle, as in Davida Adedjouma's "Artist to Artist" or "The Things in Black Men's Closets" by E. Ethelbert Miller. Each writer contributed one poem, and collectively these works speak to the dignity and the grace, the comfort and the guidance, the joy and the heartbreak to be found in Black men's lives. The poems are paired with singular collage illustrations by Steptoe. His artwork takes each poem to heart and to mind, revealing insights into the words and extending the emotional experience on every two-page spread. Steptoe used a wide range of media to create the collages, from torn paper and paint to found objects such as sand, seeds, nails and pennies. Like the words they accompany, the illustrations are connected to life in a way that is both immediate and revealing. CCBC categories: Poetry (MS; Dec 1)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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