Bronzeville Boys and Girls
Bronzeville Boys and Girls

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Annotation: Collection of poetry inspired by the author's childhood neighborhood.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #13548
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: HarperCollins
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition Date: c2007
Illustrator: Ringgold, Faith,
Pages: 41 p.
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-06-029505-8 Perma-Bound: 0-605-12134-6
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-06-029505-9 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-12134-8
Dewey: 811
LCCN: 2006001947
Dimensions: 28 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
With acute observation and feeling, Brooks captures moments of childhood. Ringgold wisely sets her pictures in the time (1956) and place (the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago) of the original writing. The strong colors help place the poems both in the real world and the imaginary world of childhood, where a tea party seems to float in the air on a raft of blue.
Kirkus Reviews
Brooks's gloriously universal celebration of African-American childhood here receives a respectful and joyous treatment from one of the pre-eminent illustrators of the same. Readers coming to "Narcissa," "Beulah at Church" and "Marie Lucille" for the first time will discover them accompanied by Ringgold's trademark folk-art interpretations, the expressive brown figures depicted for the most part as vignettes against bright backgrounds. They show a Bronzeville that bustles with activity, single-family homes sharing the streets with apartment buildings and the occasional vacant lot. The children run, braids and arms out straight, and contemplate in turns, their exuberance tempered by the solemnity of childhood. While it's regrettable that occasionally the specificity of the illustration robs a verse of its universality—the "special place" referenced in "Keziah" is shown to be underneath the kitchen table, for instance—the overall ebullience of the images more than compensates. There is a drop of truth in every single playful, piercing stanza, and anything that brings these poems to a new audience is to be cheered; a lovely package indeed. (Picture book/poetry. 7+)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-The Pulitzer Prize-winning poet first published this collection of 34 brief poems in 1956. Each one presents a different child involved in a pastime that still figures in the lives of contemporary children. Mexie and Bridie are enjoying a tea party, small Narcissa is sitting still while her imagination transforms her into an ancient queen, and Michael hopes no one will notice that he holds his mother's hand during a thunderstorm. Some of the selections, such as "Robert," are reflective: "Do you ever look in the looking-glass/And see a stranger there?/A child you know and do not know,/Wearing what you wear?" Others, such as "Otto," offer a bit of social commentary:" It's Christmas Day. I did not get/The presents that I hoped for. Yet,/It is not nice to frown or fret./To frown or fret would not be fair./My Dad must never know I care/It's hard enough for him to bear." The original illustrations were black-and-white line drawings, done by Ronni Solbert, and despite the fact that the Bronzeville area of Chicago was also known as the Black Metropolis, featured white children. Ringgold's trademark, vibrantly colored, stylized art features children of color. This book is an excellent opportunity to introduce the work of an important author to a new generation. It should be considered a first purchase for most libraries.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* This collection of 34 poems by Pulitzer Prize winner Brooks takes its title from a historically black neighborhood in Chicago, and the poems, each named for a child or children, come across as verbal snapshots of Bronzeville's young residents. When first published in 1956, the poems were paired with Ronni Solbert's occasional line illustrations, which often left the ethnicity of Brooks' subjects open to interpretation. Not so in this version, fully and exuberantly illustrated by the creator of the Caldecott Honor book Tar Beach (1991) and other titles. Ringgold envisions the poem's protagonists as members of an urban, African American community and renders them in the assertive colors and faux-naïf style for which she is best known. Thickly outlined in black and unmoored from traditional rules of perspective, Ringgold's depictions share the childlike sensibility of Brooks' words, whether expressed in skipping-rope rhythms or in coinages that children will relish ("When I hear Marian Anderson sing, / I am a STUFFless kind of thing"). Splashed edge to edge in wild color and activity, the large-format pages will draw children to the work in a way the previous edition's unassuming appearance did not, ensuring a wider audience for poems that honor the rich experiences of children as individuals, by turns mischievous and joyful, pensive and sad.
Word Count: 1,989
Reading Level: 3.7
Interest Level: 2-5
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 115022 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.3 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q01594
Lexile: NP

This classic picture book from Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks, paired with full-color illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Faith Ringgold, explores the lives and dreams of the children who live together in an urban neighborhood. In 1956, Gwendolyn Brooks created thirty-four poems that celebrated the joy, beauty, imagination, and freedom of childhood. Bronzeville Boys and Girls features these timeless poems, which remind us that whether we live in the Bronzeville section of Chicago or any other neighborhood, childhood is universal in its richness of emotions and new experiences.

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