Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Non-Fiction
Heart and Soul

Heart and Soul

Fall 2011 Non-Fiction
Ages: 9 & Up
Author: Kadir Nelson
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0061730740
Hardcover Price: $19.99

An unnamed African American woman decides that it is time to tell a young relative the story of their family's trials and triumphs; "So it's important that you pay attention, honey, because I'm only going to tell this story but once."

After telling the child of the roles African Americans played in the Revolutionary War, the narrator begins the family's personal history with her grandfather, Joseph, called "Pap." He was one of the last of the African-born slaves. In 1850, he had been kidnapped, endured the Middle Passage, and sold into slavery when he was only six-years-old. Pap escaped and served as a Union Soldier in the Civil War. After the war, he moved west, married a Seminole woman, moved back to Virginia and ultimately joined the Great Migration of African Americans moving north for jobs. Pap and his family settled in Chicago. The family's story continues with the tales of other relatives who become involved in the seminal racial events as both participants and observers.

The clear text is understated and riveting. The dark-hued palette is appropriate to the experiences of his subjects, who are depicted as vigorous and beautiful. Nelson's extraordinary work conveys the strength and character of his subjects. This is nothing short of a masterpiece.

Kemie Nix   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Kemie Nix is Chairman of Children's Literature for Children (CLC), a non-profit, tax-exempt, educational organization dedicated to bringing children and books together. Mrs. Nix, a senior book editor for Parents' Choice, has a remarkable sense of selecting books children love to read.

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