Written by: Nikki Giovanni
Illustrated by: Ashley Bryan
For ages: All ages
Topics Covered: Family, Love, Acceptance, POC-Centric Narratives.
Summary: This collection of poetry has been compiled to show a child how loved they are. They focus on family, cats, birds, nature, and much more! With beautiful illustrations to accompany each poem, the reader and listener alike. The last page includes a mirror, so the audience can remember exactly just how special they are!
Great early introduction to poetry! Anyone would be captivated and inspired by these phenomenal illustrations. Very quick read, and also great for a short before bed read-aloud.
- Which poem did you like the best?
- What subject resonates with you the most?
- Did this inspire you to try writing poetry?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Begin your own poetry book. Write about what is important to you, and draw your own illustrations to assist in bringing your art to life.
- Find a place that inspires you. What is special about this place, and why do you like it? How does being there make you feel?
- Write a poem for a special person in your life. How do they make you feel, and why are they special? How do you think receiving a poem about how special this person is make them feel?
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Yolanda Cornelia “Nikki” Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943, and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1960, she entered Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she worked with the school’s Writer’s Workshop and edited the literary magazine. After receiving her bachelor of arts degree in 1967, she organized the Black Arts Festival in Cincinnati before entering graduate school at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University. Giovanni is the author of numerous children books and poetry collections, including Chasing Utopia: A Hybrid (William Morrow, 2013), Bicycles: Love Poems (William Morrow, 2009); Acolytes (HarperCollins, 2007); The Collected Poetry of Nikki Giovanni: 1968-1998 (Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 2003); Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea: Poems and Not-Quite Poems (William Morrow, 2002); Blues For All the Changes: New Poems (William Morrow, 1999); Love Poems (William Morrow, 1997); and Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni (University Press of Mississippi, 1996). In her first two collections, Black Feeling, Black Talk (Harper Perennial, 1968) and Black Judgement (Broadside Press, 1969), Giovanni reflects on the African-American identity.
Ashley Bryan doesn’t speak his stories, he sings them, fingers snapping, feet tapping, his voice articulating. His entire body is immersed in the tale. Born in 1923, Ashley was raised in the Bronx, NY. At seventeen, he entered the tuition-free Cooper Union School of Art and Engineering, having been denied entry elsewhere because of his race. Encouraged by supportive high school teachers, Ashley was told, “Apply to Cooper Union; they do not see you there.” Admission was based solely on a student’s exam portfolio. Drafted out of art school into the segregated US army at age nineteen, Ashley preserved his humanity throughout World War II by drawing, stowing supplies in his gas mask when necessary. After the war, Ashley completed his Cooper Union degree, studied philosophy and literature at Columbia University on the GI Bill, and then went to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship, seeking to understand why humans choose war. In 1950, renowned cellist, Pablo Casals, agreed to break the vow of silence he had taken after Franco came to power in his native Spain. Ashley was permitted to draw Casals and his fellow musicians during rehearsals in Prades, France, where Casals was in exile. Through the power of Casals’ music sessions, something “broke free” for Ashley: “I found the rhythm in my hand.” Ashley returned to the United States, teaching art at several schools and universities, retiring in the 1980s to Maine’s Cranberry Isles as professor emeritus of Dartmouth College.