Celebrating the Men and Women Who Were the Heart of Harlem

Summary:

When Lonnie and Uncle Bates see the invitation to come to a Harlem Renaissance Party, they board a plane and travel back in time to the 1920s and 1930s. Uncle Bates knows many of the men and women, and through visits to various Harlem landmarks, Lonnie gets to meet them. Lonnie is most excited to meet his favorite poet, Langston Hughes. In their visit to Harlem, Lonnie met accomplished men and women in various fields: from heavyweight champion Jack Johnson and actress Josephine Baker to Dr. Carter G. Woodson, African American historian and founder of Black History Week, and art collector Alaine Locke, among others.


Parent Perspective:
It took me a couple readings to really absorb the story and get a full sense of Harlem. There are a lot of famous people, but the story is deeper and bigger than that. On the surface it appears that Lonnie is meeting a lot of performers, but when you slow down it is easier to see how these individuals were trailblazers who cut across every part of our culture.

My one disappointment is that the illustrations are not better. I like the bright colors, but I kept wishing for more to engage all of my senses. Lonnie tells a great story, but I would like to have had more accurate depictions to better visualize his descriptions of the places he went and the people he met.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Readers who are curious about African American artists and trailblazers of the past will enjoy this trip back in time.

Content Awareness Factors:

None.


Type of Book:
This is a picture book fantasy set in Harlem, introducing many of the people who became famous there.
Educational Themes:

As Lonnie travels throughout Harlem, he meets men and women who are famous for many talents. They are "introduced."  There is more detailed information in the back that can be used to explore the people and events in more depth.

Reading Level:
5.3
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
10 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
9 and Up
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. The book offers a parade of people kids should know about, some more well-known than others, but there are better stories out there.

Title Harlem Renaissance Party
Author Faith Ringgold
Publisher Amistad, Imprint HarperCollins Publishers © 2015
Illustrators Faith Ringgold
ISBN 9780060579111
Material Hard Cover
Cost $17.99
Genres Cultures and Tradition, Music, Historical Fiction, Art | Art History, Black History, History - 1900-1919

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