In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers
In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers

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Annotation: A collection of poems celebrating African-American fathers by Angela Johnson, E. Ethelbert Miller, Carole Boston Weatherford, and others.
Genre: Poetry
Catalog Number: #152339
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 1997
Edition Date: 1997
Illustrator: Steptoe, Javaka,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-584-30016-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-46888-5
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-584-30016-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-46888-7
Dewey: 811.008
LCCN: 97007311
Dimensions: 23 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
The son of the late illustrator John Steptoe has made a stunning debut in a collection of poetry honoring African-American fathers. Images created by using a variety of materials and art forms are often a perfect match for poems by such writers as Angela Johnson, Davida Adedjouma, and E. Ethelbert Miller. This title will be as at home in art classrooms as in language arts classes and libraries.
Kirkus Reviews
Steptoe (son of the late John Steptoe) creates art for 13 poems that honor fathers, e.g., Sonia Sanchez's ``I have looked into/my father's eyes and seen an/african sunset.'' Among others who have contributed to the volume are Folami Abiade (with the title poem), Lenard D. Moore, Dakari Hru, and Dinah Johnson. At times, elements of the poets' subject matter are depicted—photographed pennies are the background for the portrait of one father. Some poems are better than others; some are more message than art, although all of them are appealing. A particularly memorable sentiment is found in Davida Adedjouma's ``Artist to Artist,'' in which a woman appreciates that her artist father sorted mail ``all night and into the day'' for the family, and passed on to her the ``urge to create/characters with meat on their bones, in flesh-colored tones written in words as vivid'' as her crayon-box colors. Each piece elicits a work of art that translates beautifully to the printed page, from the jacket's gallery of small paintings to the half-title's portrait of a family—with smudged limbs and torsos, and heads made from painted discs or buttons—framed by colorful wooden beads. Brief biographies of the contributors appear in the back of this inventive, evocative book. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Starred Review for Publishers Weekly
This stunning homage to fathers offers a textured potpourri of voices and visuals. Love, pain, respect, adoration and just plain fun resonate in the works contributed by 12 poets, including Angela Johnson, Dakari Hru and Folami Abiade. A child's giggle-filled excitement reaches fever pitch in Hru's """"Tickle Tickle"""" when he rough-houses with his dad: """"me papa tickle me feet/ he call it `finger treat'/ me scream and run (but OH, WHAT FUN!)/ when papa tickle me feet."""" In Abiade's piece, a father wraps his child in reassurance : """"in daddy's arms i am tall/ & close to the sun & warm/ in daddy's arms."""" Making his picture-book debut, Steptoe (son of the late Caldecott Honor artist John Steptoe) employs a wide variety of mixed-media techniques, offering a unique approach to each spread. The result is akin to strolling through an art gallery: wooden floor boards, burlap, buttons, pennies, seashells, tin and basketball leather are among the ingredients assembled here. Steptoe often renders central figures in cut- or torn-paper collage enhanced by chalk or pastel; one piece, inspired by Sanchez's """"My Father's Eyes,"""" measures 10 feet long and five feet high. Readers will find the poems universally accessible and the innovative artwork fresh and new at every turn. There is much to celebrate in this elegant volume, whether it's the strength and beauty of the poets' and artist's heritage or the loving bond between father and child that links all cultures. All ages. (Nov.)
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* The son of John Steptoe has a true winner in fact, receiving the 1998 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for his first picture book. Javaka Steptoe creates a splendid series of images in mixed media--from found objects, torn and cut paper, and color--to illustrate a series of short poems about fathers. From the stark simplicity of David Anderson's Promises, with its cut-paper silhouette figure of a child's hug seen from behind his dad, to the many-layered image of shells, kente cloth, and paper for Sonia Sanchez's My Father's Eyes, to the shirt made from a scrap of old tin ceiling in the evocative illustration for Carole Boston Weatherford's Farmer, these arresting illustrations are a rich foil for the singing tenderness of the poetry. Different in spirit and texture but with the same warmth and joy as Shelley Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly's Lots of Dads (1997), this promises read-aloud and read-to-share comfort for many readings and rereadings. (Reviewed February 15, 1998)
Word Count: 805
Reading Level: 3.1
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.1 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 46089 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:2.8 / points:2.0 / quiz:Q05774
Lexile: NP

In this intergenerational collection of poetry by new and established African American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor, and grace. Folami Abiade, Dinah Johnson, Carole Boston Weatherford, Dakari Hru, Michael Burgess, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lenard D. Moore, David Anderson, Angela Johnson, Sonia Sanchez, and Davida Adedjouma all contribute. Javaka Steptoe, who also offers a poem, employs an inventive range of media to bring each of the poems to life. In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall testifies to the powerful bond between father and child, recognizing family as our greatest gift, and identifying fathers as being among our most influential heroes.

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