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In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers


The 12 poems in this book deliver an important message to all readers about the powerful bonds between fathers, children, and grandchildren. Exuberance, grace, honor, pain, and humor all have their place in these intergenerational works. The poems reflect the contributions of both new and established African American writers whose outlooks on fatherhood vary widely. Six of the poets are women, six are men.

The innovative and award-winning illustrations by Javaka Steptoe bring the poems to life and support the potpourri of voices resonating throughout the book. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly described Javaka Steptoe’s stunning collage illustrations as “akin to strolling through an art gallery: wooden floor boards, burlap, buttons, pennies, seashells, tin, and basketball leather are among the ingredients assembled here.”

In this intergenerational collection of poetry by new and established African American writers, fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor, and grace. Folami Abiade, Dinah Johnson, Carole Boston Weatherford, Dakari Hru, Michael Burgess, E. Ethelbert Miller, Lenard D. Moore, David Anderson, Angela Johnson, Sonia Sanchez, and Davida Adedjouma all contribute. 

Javaka Steptoe is the illustrator of Lee & Low's In Daddy's Arms I Am Tall, winner of numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and an ALA Notable. His two other picture books, Do You Know What I'll Do? (HarperCollins) and A Pocketful of Poems (Chronicle) have received critical acclaim as well. Steptoe is renowned for his innovative collage constructions. The Jones Family Express is his first book as both author and illustrator. He received his degree in fine arts from Cooper Union in New York City, and currently teaches art to children. The son of the late Caldecott medalist, John Steptoe, Javaka marks his picture book debut with this collection. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

* Readers will find the poems universally accessible and the innovative artwork fresh and new at every turn. There is much to celebrate in this elegant volume, whether it's the strength and beauty of the poets' and artists' heritage or the loving bond between father and child that links all cultures. -- Publishers Weekly, starred review

* The son of John Steptoe has a true winner in fact, receiving the 1998 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for his first picture book. Javaka Steptoe creates a splendid series of images in mixed media... to illustrate a series of short poems about fathers... This promises read-aloud and read-to-share comfort for many readings and rereadings. -- Booklist, starred review

Each piece elicits a work of art that translates beautifully to the printed page. -- Kirkus Reviews

This lovely book deserves a place on library shelves. -- School Library Journal

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