One Last Word: Wisdom From the Harlem Renaissance


Growing up is hard to do.  There are so many challenges, questions, unknowns for each one of us to figure out and growing up black in America carries its own challenges.  How many times do young black Americans turn on the news and hear another story that they will have to defend against?  How many times do young black Americans feel the small insidious slights or the loud, racist taunts of bullies seeking to feel big by insulting someone else's core self?

We all need parents, grandparents, mentors and people of our village to help us learn to see ourselves and to build that inner warrior core that will see us through dark times.  Nikki Grimes has done a magical thing.  She has reached back to the giants of the Harlem Renaissance and stood on their shoulders to create a series of poems for this generation and its affronts and obstacles.

Using Golden Shovel poetry, a method she found first in a volume of poems, The Golden Shovel Antholog, published by the University of Arkansas Press, she presents poems written by great African American poets of the Harlem Renaissance era and uses each word of a line of a poem to be the last word in a line of her newly crafted poem.

It's so important for our young people to understand where they come from, upon whose shoulders they now stand, and simultaneously to see themselves in the poetic art form to know that they are part of the tapestry, they are valued and that people understand and witness the challenges of their journeys today.


128 pages   978-1619635548    Ages 10 and up

Recommended by:  Barb Langridge,


"In this collection of poetry, Nikki Grimes looks afresh at the poets of the Harlem Renaissance -- including voices like Langston Hughes, Georgia Douglas Johnson, and many more writers of importance and resonance from this era -- by combining their work with her own original poetry. Using "The Golden Shovel" poetic method, Grimes has written a collection of poetry that is as gorgeous as it is thought-provoking.

This special book also includes original artwork in full-color from some of today's most exciting African American illustrators, who have created pieces of art based on Nikki's original poems. Featuring art by: Cozbi Cabrera, R. Gregory Christie, Pat Cummings, Jan Spivey Gilchrist, Ebony Glenn, Nikki Grimes, E. B. Lewis, Frank Morrison, Christopher Myers, Brian Pinkney, Sean Qualls, James Ransome, Javaka Steptoe, Shadra Strickland, and Elizabeth Zunon.

A foreword, an introduction to the history of the Harlem Renaissance, author's note, poet biographies, and index makes this not only a book to cherish, but a wonderful resource and reference as well."--from the publisher


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