Ringgold, Faith Harlem Renaissance Party Amistad (Imprint HarperpCollins), 2015. $17.99 PICTURE BOOK
A little boy and his Uncle take a plane ride back in time to the
1920’s to meet all the great of the Harlem Renaissance. They meet Langston
Hughes, Josephine Baker, and W.E.B Du Bois and more. They dance and listened to
folktales. On the plane ride home the little boy tells his Uncle how proud he
is to “be black”, that he was inspired, and that he learned a lot.
This was an incredibly bizarre book. Why a plane ride back in
time? Then it’s a lightening quick meet and greet with tons of incredible people
of the Harlem Renaissance. So quick that students wouldn’t really get a sense
of the person, nor would it be helpful for a curriculum connection. Then to top
it off, the boy talks about his pride in being black, but he is for all intents and purposes to students, White.
His facial features appear a bit black, so we theorized he might be albino, or that the author has a strange way of relating the message about
color being irrelevant to heritage (which is can be depending on dominant/recessive alleles), but then why create a book promoting accomplishments of a group of people based
solely on skin color? If so, why not have an introduction where the boy is curious about his heritage, so at least the student reader will get the drift from the very start. So confused. Also those blue shorts are just awful. Awful! That's a lot of leg for young boy to be showing, ick. For an amazing unit on the Harlem Renaissance,
get video & music clips and some well written biographies instead.
EL (K-3) –NO Reviewer: Stephanie Elementary School Librarian & Author.