Synopses & Reviews
New York Times
bestselling author Walter Dean Myers and Caldecott Honor artist Christopher Myers, the father-son team who created harlem, celebrate the freedom dream that is America: our struggles, our ideals, and our hope that we can live up to them.
What is it to be an American?
To live in a strange and beautiful land of complexity, with a tumultuous history of epic proportions, among the people who were here first, who came after, who will come tomorrow.
We were the youth that could not fail
Planting our high ideals in virgin lands and eager hearts
Making vows forever brighter than the story we would live . . .
The lyrical free verse evocative of Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass and striking mural-like paintings are a testimonial to the heart and soul of our country: its ordinary and extraordinary people and the monumental events that have shaped our nation. With layered, sweeping panoramic paintings and text rich with historical allusion, this stunning picture book features passionate writings and vivid portraits of political Americans, from Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief, to Abraham Lincoln to Jimi Hendrix.
"The father and son team behind Jazz and other award-winning titles pays homage to the entire United States in a soul-searching, free-verse poem examining the people, ideals, and promise of America. The verse journeys along a rough historical chronology. 'Before the ships came... My Lakota heart pounded the rhythms/ Of this sacred land.' Following are dreams of and fights for freedom, and periods of unrest and abuse (slavery, Japanese internment), when 'Like clumsy children we fell/ As we learned to run.' Christopher Myers's evocative paintings often juxtapose different eras; a scene in which a firefighter turns his hose on a group of African-Americans melds into the Boston Tea Party. 'We were willing to die/ to forge our dream,' the accompanying verses begin. Like many passages, it has multiple interpretations. In opening, Walter Dean Myers writes, 'No words here have been penned lightly, no flag waved mindlessly,' and his introspective reflections offer proof. Closing notes explicate quotations that lace the pages and identify figures shown in the artwork. It's best appreciated by readers with some knowledge of American history, but few will be unmoved by this stirring and provocative collaboration. Ages 7 12. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Celebrate America's freedom dream with National Book Award finalist and New York Times
bestselling author Walter Dean Myers and Caldecott Honor artist Christopher Myers!
Over the centuries, from a blank canvas of mountains, plains, and canyons, the American landscape has been richly carved by revolution, progress, and possibility. Yet its story is still being written—by its diverse people who are united by the freedom in their hearts. With graceful, lyrical prose and evocative paintings, Newbery Honor author Walter Dean Myers and Coretta Scott King Honor artist Christopher Myers, the father-son team who created Harlem, pay tribute to the spirit and soul that is America.
About the Author
Five-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Walter Dean Myers was the acclaimed author of a wide variety of nonfiction and fiction for young people. His nonfiction includes We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart
; Now Is Your Time!: The African-American Struggle for Freedom
; I've Seen the Promised Land: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
; Malcom X: A Fire Burning Brightly
; and Patrol: An American Soldier in Vietnam
, a Jane Addams Children's Book Award winner. His illustrious list of young adult novels includes Darius & Twig
; All the Right Stuff
; Dope Sick
; Autobiography of My Dead Brother
; New York Times
, the first winner of the Michael L. Printz Award; and many more. He was a National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and an inaugural NYC Literary Honoree.
Christopher Myers is a graduate of Brown University and the Whitney Museum of Art Independent Studio Program. He is the acclaimed illustrator of Love: Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings; Harlem: A Poem, a Caldecott Honor Book; Jazz, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; Blues Journey, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book. He is also the author-illustrator of Black Cat and H.O.R.S.E.: A Game of Basketball and Imagination, both Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books; We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart; A Time to Love: Stories from the Old Testament; Looking Like Me; Wings; and Fly!