Friday, August 28, 2009

Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat

Edited by Nikki Giovanni


I wish Hip Hop Speaks to Children: A Celebration of Poetry with a Beat (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2008) had been around when I was in elementary school. For most of my life I had a blind spot when it came to poetry, because nobody, not even a teacher or a librarian, introduced me to good poetry. If I had been introduced to poetry through Hip Hop Speaks to Children as a child, I know I would have been made a poetry lover much earlier in life.

Hip Hop Speaks to Children is an amazing collection of more than 50 poems and songs by poets and artists like Jacqueline Woodson, Gwendolyn Brooks, A Tribe Called Quest, Gary Soto, Kanye West, Langston Hughes, Queen Latifah, Mos Def, Charles R. Smith Jr., Maya Angelou, Walter Dean Myers, Lauryn Hill, James Berry, and W.E.B. Du Bois. These poems and songs with great rhythm come with an introduction by the book's editor, Nikki Giovanni - an introduction that really opened my eyes to the history and significance of hip hop.

And it's not just the literature in the book that has a beat. The book design, from the different fonts to the different layouts, and the illustrations by Kristen Balouch, Michele Noiset, Jeremy Tugeau, Alicia Vergel de Dios, Damian Ward, and Caroline Wolf are all fresh, colorful, and alive. The book also comes with an audio CD of more than 30 performances of the poems and songs.

I highly recommend this book, especially for children who are reluctant poetry readers. (I should know, I used to be one of them!) Hip Hop Speaks to Children makes poetry fun, incredibly accessible, and meaningful for children.


[My copy of Hip Hop Speaks to Children was provided by the publisher.]


Check Book Aunt for this week's roundup of blog posts on poetry from around the kidlitosphere.

11 comments:

Michelle said...

We have had this at our library for a while now, and it circulates like crazy. The teachers and homeschool parents love it.

Tarie said...

Hi, Michelle! I will definitely use this book when I go back to teaching. :D It's a teacher's dream!

Kelly said...

I've been meaning to read this book! I know I would love it! Thanks for the reminder!

Andromeda Jazmon said...

We love this book too. I have the CD on my ipod and we listen to it in the car on long drives.

Tarie said...

Kelly, go read it! :D

Andi, awww, that sounds lovely.

Niranjana said...

The book sounds great; I was wondering what age it's apropriate for?

Tarie said...

Hi, Niranjana. :D There's a variety of topics and themes in the poems, from school and music to identity and racism, so I'd say that it's appropriate for grades 3-7!

Zoe said...

Hi Michelle,
I've just found your blog via Technorati and it was wonderful to find this review of Hip Hop speaks to children - it's been on my list of things to check out, and your review will now make sure it gets added to my wishlist! Hopefully I'll be able to add a review of it on my blog too - where I write about the play and craftiness inspired by the books we're reading and reviewing in our family!

Tarie said...

Hi, Zoe. I think it is so cool that you and your family create crafts inspired by the books you read, and read books inspired by the crafts you create!

Marinela said...

The book sounds really great!

Tarie said...

Hi, Marinela! It IS great. Especially for classes. :D