Saturday, October 17, 2009

Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange

Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange

My Thoughts:

Pictures by award-winning illustrator Kadir Nelson.

Text by poet Ntozake Shange.

Excellence. I anticipated excellence.

But perhaps poets are not the best authors of picture books. I had trouble following the text and I’m a grownup. I had to think too much about the words on the page and it wasn’t because they were so rich but because the writing wandered around so much. I’d hoped for powerful words, but I found them to be wobbly.

The children thought the pictures were very realistic. They were moved by the story of Coretta walking to school. The writing was a little too abstract for many of them and they weren’t clear in places about what the writer was trying to say.
The poetic writing, with its whimsical sentence structure, was unclear to them.

Nevertheless, they loved the sounds of the words and the beautiful pictures. They liked the pictures so much that they forgave the text for not serving them well and gave the book a high rating.

A Sample:

“white school bus
left a
funnel of dust
on their faces
songs and birds of all colors
and rich soil
where slaves fought freedom
steadied them
in the face of danger”

Children’s Comments:

Jayla, 5, said, "I liked the pictures."
Silvana, 6, said, "I liked how she changed the laws."
Abby, 5, said, "I liked them praying."
Gage, 6, said, "I liked the part where they had to walk five miles to school."
Jimmy, 6, said, "I liked the people gathering together in the book."

Children's Ratings: 5, 1, 5, 5, 1, 5, 5, 5, 5

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