Thursday, March 22, 2018

Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson

Okay, listen. I KNOW I took too many pictures. I am fully aware of that. But I would like to see you try to narrow it down to only a handful. Kadir Nelson is INCREDIBLE. That cover? Swoony. 

This book is an "everywoman" sharing her story. While historically accurate, this is not a biography. Rather it telling the American story, adding in the parts black people played that were later left out of the history books. 

Slaves fighting for the American colonies in the Revolution. Those that fought were freed.

All the slaves could have been freed right then and there while they were writing the constitution, but as our narrator says, slavery was like mother's milk to America. The founding fathers thought they had to have slaves to keep the country going. 

I love how Nelson paints this black into the shadow, just as the founding fathers did with the slaves.

Importing slaves became illegal in the early 1800's but still happened up until the Civil War. 

Cotton picker

There are several different sections in this book, focusing on different parts of the African-American experience. 

Each one begins with several quotes and the section itself is the perfect length for reading to my fourth grade class in one half hour class. Of course, we had to stop and discuss it, so the actual reading time is shorter, but you kind of NEED to discuss it. We had some really great discussions. 

Honestly, this might be one of the greatest books to open this conversation. It really made an impact on my fourth graders. Or.... at least it did for the half hour class I had them for. After they left the library and went to the lunchroom, it may have gone completely out of their head, but I like to think it didn't. Because, otherwise, most of what I do is pointless. Sigh. 

There have been some difficult days with middle schoolers recently, which makes me question the whole school librarian thing. So I try to convince myself I AM making a difference and expanding student's minds....

I was enchanted with spanish moss covered avenues when I was young. I cut out a picture from a magazine and tacked it up to my wall when I was ten. 

Fighting in the Civil War

Freed slaves

Intimidation tactics


On of the reasons I love Kadir Nelson's pictures so much is the dignity, love, and humanity radiating from these images. I want to be this woman's best friend. She looks like she could teach me a thing or two about handling middle schoolers effectively. 

The Great Migration north

Civil rights protests

The jazz age

Integrating schools

The march on Washington

And finally, at long last, voting rights. 

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