Legacy: Women Poets of the Harlem Renaissance

legacy by nikki grimes

From Children's Literature Legacy Award-winning author Nikki Grimes comes a feminist-forward new collection of poetry celebrating the little-known women poets of the Harlem Renaissance--paired with full-color, original art from today's most talented female African-American illustrators.

For centuries, accomplished women--of all races--have fallen out of the historical records. The same is true for gifted, prolific, women poets of the Harlem Renaissance who are little known, especially as compared to their male counterparts.

In this poetry collection, bestselling author Nikki Grimes uses "The Golden Shovel" poetic method to create wholly original poems based on the works of these groundbreaking women-and to introduce readers to their work.

Each poem is paired with one-of-a-kind art from today's most exciting female African-American illustrators, including: Vanessa Brantley-Newton, Cozbi Cabrera, Pat Cummings, Nina Crews, Laura Freeman, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, April Harrison, Ekua Holmes, Keisha Morrison, Daria Peoples-Riley, Andrea Pippins, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon.

Legacy also includes a foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author's note, and poet biographies, which make this a wonderful resource and a book to cherish.---from the publisher

144 pages                    978-1681199443                       Ages 10-14

Keywords:  poems, poetry, African American, African American author, women, diversity, diverse books, Harlem Renaissance, 10 year old, 11 year old, 12 year old, 13 year old, 14 year old

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The preface explains that the accomplishments of women have often been forgotten (or erased) from history, so readers should not be surprised if they have never heard of the writers included in this collection. There is also a brief introduction to the Harlem Renaissance for those who are not familiar with the period and its incredible artistic outflow. Grimes also explains the form she has chosen to use in her response to each poem, the Golden Shovel. I must honestly say that it seems particularly difficult, but she says she enjoys the challenge of it. That  must be true, because she does an amazing job of putting it to use.  Back matter includes biographies of all the poets and all the artists featured in the book.
Now, on to the main body of the book. The poems she has chosen from these historical writers show a range of emotions and cover various topics. They are grouped into sections of Heritage, Earth Mother, and Taking Notice. Each poem has her response using a featured line in the Golden Shovel method. And each is also accompanied by an illustration from a talented female African-American illustrator. While the poets may not be well-known, the illustrators are a who's who of children's literature.
I would have read this book just because Nikki Grimes wrote it, or just because of the illustrators included in the project, or just because I love literature from the Harlem Renaissance. Finding all three in one book is a perfect blend of celebrating the past while showing how it inspires the present, and we may hope that it will continue to do so into the future.
Highly recommended for poetry lovers, fans of the Harlem Renaissance, or teachers putting together a unit on either.
Recommended by:  Suzanne Costner, Librarian, Tennessee USA
See more of her recommendations:  https://fveslibrary.blogspot.com/

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