Quote by James Baldwin, taken from the book, James Baldwin's Little Book of Selected Quotes.
We Are Here Lit! interviews Award-Winning Author Carole Boston Weatherford in honor of Women's History Month! We will celebrate her space in children's literature as an author who has given voice to Black historical people and places for all to learn. We also learn about her influence on her son Jeffery who is a Poet, MC, and Illustrator.
Welcome to the Cypher, by Khodi Dill, and illustrated by Awuradwoa Afful, is a layered story of the power of a Hip Hop MC and also the agency and power young people have when creating and using their voice.
Laid down in rhyme, Khodi invites the reader to free themselves from the fear of writing and rhyming to expressing their ideas with their heart, mind, and spirit so the world can hear it (see how I threw in that rhyme).
April is Poetry Month. This would be a perfect selection to introduce poetry, writing and rhyming and being yourself, fearlessly.
Check it our at your local or online Black bookstore and library.
That Tupac post had me thinking about poetry in the classroom.
Diggin in the shelves for this title because its #kidslitflashback! I've used this book in the classroom for fluency, comprehension, and inferencing.
But learning from Dr. Muhammad @gholdy.m and Dr. Tatum @gooseman50, pairing this book with some of the topics and themed of these poems, incorporating vocabulary with other interdisciplinary texts can add to the background knowledge, contexts, and intellectualism for our kids.
The CD, included with the book, has the reading of the poems so young people can understand the cadence of poetry and rhyme flow.
For example, the poem "Allow Me to Introduce Myself" read by Charles R. Smith would get my class hyped and they understood how to think about inflection, pause, tone, and rhythm.
This book compiled by Nikki GIovanni is such a good way to introduce a hard genre to teach. I would love to see another volume of this book with some @realjcoleworlld, @kendricklamar , @nas, @chancetherapper, or @rapsody would bring a whole new generation to bridge poetry and hip hop.
This can be extended in the classroom by having students find other lyrics to match the interdisciplinary themes, etc.
Google the following titles to incorporate literacy into interdisciplinary instruction:
-5 ways to use hip-hop in the classroom to build a better understanding of science by @kingadjapong
-Hip Hop in the Classroom/Youtube @iamcbritton
By Tupac Shakur
Did you hear about the rose that grew
from a crack in the concrete?
Proving nature’s law is wrong it
learned to walk with out having feet.
Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams,
it learned to breathe fresh air.
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else ever cared.
This poem hits different some 25 years after his death. The defiance is the same, but social changes give it a new perspective.
What does it bring to mind for you when you read it?
Have you read Tupac's book of poems or used them in your teaching?
Shakur, Tupac. The Rose That Grew from Concrete. New York: Pocket Books, 1999.
WE ARE HERE will provide you book reviews, discussions, news, and programming about literature and literacy by and about Black males. This site will also feature vlog conversations on topics related to the promoting literacy and voice for Black boys and young men.