In This Compelling Collection Of Words And Pictures, The Voices Of Thirteen Major Poets, Including Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, And Walter Dean Myers, Rise In Response To The Dazzling Vistas And Emotionally Vivid Portraits Of Award Winning Artist Tom Feelings A Unique And Moving Collaboration That Celebrates The Sustaining Spirit Of African Creativity Now is a time, maybethan ever, that the African American spirit needs celebrating And Soul Looks Back in Wonder accomplishes this Illustrator Tom Feelings reached out to many amazing black poets to contribute to this anthology, and none of them let the readers down The poems contained within exult and celebrate blackness, they detail the struggles and strife that African Americans have dealt with since their forefathers were forcibly taken to America centuries ago, and they tell the story that so often isn t, because as Feelings writes in his intro, Today the present is a dangerous place for children of African descent, children of the sun And this is great for obvious reasons, but also because modern poets tend to be relatable to modern audiences but not to young audiences Not this book This book, in fact, was curated carefully for young audiences, and speaks to childhood dreams and sorrows that the black writers who penned them experienced themselves.I find it somewhat frustrating when children s poetry is sort of lumped all together and seen as immature and always humorous It s true that kids like humorous poetry, but that doesn t mean they hate everything else I honestly can t fathom kids disliking this book, and thinking about children not being able to access it, quite frankly, makes me very upset It s filled with heartwarming tributes to children who may be questioning their very value on this earth right now because of our political climate Consider this bit from Mari Evans Who Can Be Born Black Whocan be born blackand notsing the wonder of itthe joythe challenge Where else are kids seeing messages like that I certainly don t know This book has them in spades, though, and the influence it could have is endless I don t think there s an age group that wouldn t benefit from reading this. A book of poems about creativity in African American culture.I read this book as part of the Coretta Scott King Book Awards 50th anniversary challenge promoted through the LA Public Libraries. Soul Looks Back in Wonder combines the poetic talents of great African American writers such as Maya Angelou and Walter Dean Myers with the beautiful collage illustrations of Tom Feelings Feelings describes African Americans past, in a forward of the book, as a time when their creativity was stiffled Now, where it was once oppressed, creativity is overflowing through visual art, music, and dance This book was written, according to Feelings, because African American children of today need to have a strong hope for the future They need to know that together, they can reverse the destruction and capture tomorrow My favorite phrase from the book is, I am the creativity keeping my people alive Some of the themes I found in this book are togetherness, human connection to nature, cultural pride, community, and the belief that the past can keep you strong Another beautiful book and an important one to add to a classroom or school library. Education is an important element in the struggle for human rights It is the means to help our children and people rediscover their identity and thereby increase self respect Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today Malcolm X I loved the collection of poems this book has There are so many talented writers in this book and their poems are beautiful They are uplifting and encouraging to the reader The positivity and the good vibes I get when I read through the poems creates an amazing reading experience The poems are touching and definitely something I would use for a read aloud and discussion starters Great book A collection of short poems for young Africans African Americans. The poems and the illustrations are equally wonderful I bought this book in hardcover many, many years ago I just reread it Still powerful. I can not remember where I came across this title, but it arrived in my reserve selections at the library and I have loved reading it, taking in the beauty and texture of the illustrations, and immersing myself in the verse.I think the best way for me to review this gem and remind myself of its contents is simply to include the introduction printed before the first poemTom Feelings selected drawings of people he sketched while in Ghana and Senegal, West Africa Guyana, South America as well as the United States He blueprinted his finished line drawings onto sepia toned sheets, and worked colour into the figures with coloured pencils He then cut out and cemented down various shapes in coloured papers textured, flat, plain, marbleised, as well as wallpaper to create the final overall collage effect Some stencilled cut outs were spray painted for instance the art for Haki R Madhubuti composed Destiny was spray painted on silver paper.This is the first book Tom Feelings has done in full colour.And from Tom Feelings Today the present is a dangerous place for children of African descent children of the sun They are standing between childhood and adulthood, midway between the past and the future, pulled away from their center They are removed from the benefits of ancient initiation rites rites of passage designed to ease young people into manhood and womanhood, into the responsibilities and protection of full communal life Too many teenagers are growing up in an environment where indifference and hostility are bullets aimed straight at the core of their spirits.For four hundred years African creativity has been struggling to counter the narrow constraints of oppression, to circle it, turn it around, to seek order and meaning in the midst of chaos My soul looks back in wonder at how African creativity has sustained us and how it still flows seeking, searching for new ways to connect the ancient with the new, the young with the old, the unborn with the ancestors Our creativity, moving, circling, improvising within the restricted form of oppression, reminds us that we must remain responsible to each other we are not only individuals, but part of a collective that shares a common history and future This book is a part if that flow if creativity.The artists who came together to create Soul Looks Back In Wonder understand that one way to protect our positive hopes for the future is for young people to see their own beauty reflected in our eyes, through our work And so this book is for our precious young African sisters and brother, who are out today and tomorrow..Published in 1993, nearly 20 years have gone by, so much has not changed, and so much can easily be translated here to the Australian experience.Absolute favourite for me is the final poem by Mari Evans, Who Can Be Born BlackWHO CAN BE BORN BLACKWhocan be born blackand notsingthe wonder of itthe joythe challengeAnd to come togetherin a coming togethernessvibrating with the fires of pure knowingreeling with powerringing with the sound above sound above soundto explode in the majesty of our onenessour comingtogetherin a comingtogethernessWhocan be bornblackand not exult Soul Looks Back in Wonder is a collection of poems by various writers meant to inspire younger generations of African American children and remind them of their roots Illustrator, Tom Feelings, illustrates all of the poems Much of the artwork throughout the book is very abstract, meshing shapes, designs, outlines, and images in a way that symbolizes the ideas of the poems While the poems use poetic abstract language, the illustrations are similarly poetic The abstractness between the relationship of the illustrations and the poetic words pulls the audience to deeper thinking to discover the underlying messages that each offers Feelings uses similar techniques in the illustrations throughout the book, many of which include African people and backgrounds incorporated with lines, circles, and other shapes Feelings uses lots of colors throughout the book, but brown remains the most dominant color, incorporated on every page, and in some illustrations, takes up the majority of the entire picture The repeated and dominant use of the color brown symbolically relates to the theme of African culture, which the book celebrates Overall, while this book is rich in culture, it is very abstract and I do not think many younger readers will be drawn to it The figurative language and abstract illustrations make it very difficult to discern what is going on This would be a good book to teach about abstract poetry and art As a class, you might choose one specific poem to evaluate and talk about Afterwards, students might be encouraged to write their own abstract poem and draw an abstract picture to go with it Feelings, T 1993 Soul Looks Back in Wonder New York, NY Dial Books.
Tom was a skilled cartoonist, illustrator, teacher, and activist for the African American experience For a time, he served in the Graphic Arts division of the U.S Air Force He created the cartoon Tommy Traveler in the World of Black History in 1958, received a Caldecott Honor in 1972, and two Coretta Scott King Awards in 1979 and 1994.For information, please see
- 32 pages
- Soul Looks Back in Wonder
- Tom Feelings
- 24 May 2019 Tom Feelings