The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

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Annotation: Retold Afro-American folktales of animals, fantasy, the supernatural, and desire for freedom, born of the sorrow of the slaves, but passed on in hope.
Genre: Fairy tales
Catalog Number: #231588
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
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Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Teaching Materials Receive a FREE Teacher's Guide for this title with a purchase of 20 or more copies of this book. You do not need to add a copy of the Teacher's Guide to your list, it will be automatically included with your order after the minimum number of copies is ordered.
Copyright Date: 1985
Edition Date: 1993
Illustrator: Dillon, Leo,, Dillon, Diane,
Pages: xii, 178 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-679-84336-1 Perma-Bound: 0-8479-2005-4
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-679-84336-8 Perma-Bound: 978-0-8479-2005-1
Dewey: 398.2
LCCN: 84025020
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
Publishers Weekly
This widely lauded anthology boasts stunning black-and-white artwork and stirringly told stories with such evocative titles as ``The Beautiful Girl of the Moon Tower'' and ``Wiley, His Mama, and the Hairy Man.'' All ages. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
Gr 4-7 The well-known author here retells 24 black American folk tales in sure storytelling voice. In four groupings she presents seven animal tales (including a tar-baby variant); six fanciful ones (including ``Wiley, His Mama, and the Hairy Man'' and a tale of which Harper's Gunniwulf Dutton, 1967 is a variant); five supernatural tales (including variants of the Tailypo, John and the Deviland a wild cautionary tale, ``Little Eight John''); and finally, six slave tales of freedom, closing with the moving title story. Depending on the sources, some of the tales use a modified dialect for flavor; one told with quite a few words of Gullah dialect has a glossary. All are beautifully readable. The book has a bibliography, and comments follow each tale, including one personal note of a family account involving one of her grandfathers. Two other collections of black folk tales, Courlander's Terrapin's Pot of Sense (Holt, 1957; o.p.) and Faulkner's The Days When the Animals Talked (Follett, 1977; o.p.) are both out of print. With the added attraction of 40 bordered full- and half-page illustrations by the Dillonswonderfully expressive paintings reproduced in black and whitethis collection should be snapped up. Ruth M. McConnell, San Antonio Public Library
Starred Review ALA Booklist
*Starred Review* Whether humorous or frightening, the American black folktales in this collection are emotionally compelling. Barnes deftly handles the dialect in which the tales were written, though younger listeners may find the authentic speech patterns challenging. For the most part, Barnes brings many well-known characters to life imal, human, or spirit parting care and respect for their place in African American lore. However, there are a handful of characters (for example, John in "Better Wait Till Martin Comes") who come across as stereotypical. But the balance of the production remains strong. A particular highlight is Barnes' soulful telling of the painful yet hopeful "The People Could Fly." With intermittent harmonica, fiddle, and banjo licks, this audio maintains an intimate feel and is both entertaining and educational.
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 175-178).
Word Count: 27,588
Reading Level: 4.3
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.3 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 44962 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:6.0 / quiz:Q08965
Lexile: 660L
Guided Reading Level: X
Fountas & Pinnell: X

"The well-known author retells 24 black American folk tales in sure storytelling voice: animal tales, supernatural tales, fanciful and cautionary tales, and slave tales of freedom. All are beautifully readable. With the added attraction of 40 wonderfully expressive paintings by the Dillons, this collection should be snapped up."--(starred) School Library Journal. 

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards text Exemplar (Grade 6-8, Stories) in Appendix B.

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