Caldecott Honor 1998
A poem celebrating the people, sights, and sounds of Harlem. Walter Dean Myers calls to life the deep, rich, and hope-filled history of Harlem, this crucible of American culture. Christopher Myers' boldly assembled collage art resonates with feeling and tells a tale all its own. Words and pictures together connect readers of all ages - to the spirit of Harlem in its music, art, literature, and everyday life, and to how it has helped shape us as a people. Harlem: “A promise of a better life. A place where a man didn’t have to know his place simply because he was black.” Those who came to Harlem brought with them a song, first heard in the villages of Ghana and Senegal, and now left flowing through this city: “a new sound, raucous and sassy.” Religion, music, and art fill the souls of the people of this city as they hope, and pray, and sing, and paint, and write. The voices of Langston, Countee, Du Bois, and Baldwin shape this city. And on the streets you can see “a carnival of children, stickball heroes, hide-and-seek knights, and ladies, waiting to sing their own sweet songs, living out their own slam dunk dreams, listening for the coming of the blues.” Barbecues, fried fish joints, Sunday Night Gospel, collard greens. A collective “sound, a celebration, memories of feelings, a place”. A journey that has not ended: Harlem.