Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins

Hey Black Child

Six-time Coretta Scott King Award winner and four-time Caldecott Honor recipient Bryan Collier brings this classic, inspirational poem to life, written by poet Useni Eugene Perkins. Hey black child,Do you know who you are?Who really are? Do you know you can beWhat you want to beIf you try to beWhat you can be? This lyrical, empowering poem celebrates black children and se...

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Hey Black Child Reviews

  • Julie Kirchner

    I first saw and read this book at ALA last summer. I recently sat down to re-read it more completely and to take time with the illustrations. What a lovely, empowering book. It is encouraging and motivating. The author, Useni Eugene Perkins, in his own words in the note says he “wanted to inspire and motivate all black children to achieve their God-given potential, regardless of the challenges they face in life.” Reading the author and illustrator’s notes at the end, I loved learning of the back

    I first saw and read this book at ALA last summer. I recently sat down to re-read it more completely and to take time with the illustrations. What a lovely, empowering book. It is encouraging and motivating. The author, Useni Eugene Perkins, in his own words in the note says he “wanted to inspire and motivate all black children to achieve their God-given potential, regardless of the challenges they face in life.” Reading the author and illustrator’s notes at the end, I loved learning of the background of this poem and now I want to see the musical! Reading about Bryan Collier’s inspiration for his illustrations and why he chose the medium he did adds to the beauty of the story. Love this book and I’m excited to share it and add it to our library.

  • Margie

    There are books which fill readers with a surge of joy, welling up inside us and growing stronger with each page turn. There are books you want to read aloud and alone standing in a grassy meadow at the top of a hill you navigate with difficulty. There are books you wish to share in a sanctuary filled with people, reading each phrase slowly with purpose so those gathered together can feel the power of those words.

    There are books brimming with glorious illustrations, lifting the narrative to new

    There are books which fill readers with a surge of joy, welling up inside us and growing stronger with each page turn. There are books you want to read aloud and alone standing in a grassy meadow at the top of a hill you navigate with difficulty. There are books you wish to share in a sanctuary filled with people, reading each phrase slowly with purpose so those gathered together can feel the power of those words.

    There are books brimming with glorious illustrations, lifting the narrative to new heights. There are books with colors, patterns, light and shadow carefully pieced and placed together, singing off the page like a melody straight from the creator's soul to our hearts. There are books with words and images complementing each other in such excellence they are engraved in our memories. Hey Black Child (Little, Brown And Company, November 14, 2017) written by Useni Eugene Perkins with illustrations by Bryan Collier is all of those books.

    My full recommendation:

  • Stacey Giglio

    "Hey Black Child" by Useni Eugene Perkins addresses the changes in the world that need to be made. In this poem the black child is told they can be what they want to be but first they need to learn what they need to learn, do what they need to do and then they will be able to make this a nation they want it to be. The illustrator, Bryan Collier, does an amazing job of using words in the illustrations to convey the feeling of the poem. The message of this poem is loud and clear. The author believ

    "Hey Black Child" by Useni Eugene Perkins addresses the changes in the world that need to be made. In this poem the black child is told they can be what they want to be but first they need to learn what they need to learn, do what they need to do and then they will be able to make this a nation they want it to be. The illustrator, Bryan Collier, does an amazing job of using words in the illustrations to convey the feeling of the poem. The message of this poem is loud and clear. The author believes in the "black child" and in the possibility of change but not without hard work.

    I would use this poem as a link to social studies for fourth graders and then have students identify figures in history who have made positive changes in our nation. I would love to connect this poem with a biography about a historical figure who made changes in our nation. This poem could also be used to develop students writing. Students could create their own poems that could rhyme or be in poetic prose responding to Perkins about how they are going to learn what they need to learn and do what they need to do to make changes in the world.

  • Earl

    An inspiring celebration of the potential of children. Based on a poem, the possibilities for what they can do and can be are opened up for them to explore.

  • Brittany J Thurman

    This book is so needed! Glad it's out in the world!

  • Desiree

    This book is written from a poem by Useni Eugene Perkins. Floyd Cooper does a wonderful job of creating awesome mixed media images to compliment the text on the page. The beauty of black children are shown through vibrantly hued illustrations and large text. Good book for one on one reading, or a unit on self actualization.

  • Mary Librarian

    Bryan Collier is a master artist and storyteller through his illustrations. There is so much to examine on each page that re-reads are a must.

    The poetic words of Useni Eugene Perkins are almost a tongue twister in places but so inspiring and timeless.

  • Bailey Sulfridge

    There are books which fill readers with a surge of joy, welling up inside us and growing stronger with each page turn. There are books you want to read aloud and alone standing in a grassy meadow at the top of a hill you navigate with difficulty. There are books you wish to share in a sanctuary filled with people, reading each phrase slowly with purpose so those gathered together can feel the power of those words.

  • Marissa García

    A call to action, a parade of encouragement, inspiration for all the black children in the world. Wonderful.

  • Emma

    Really lovely and hopeful. I could see this being wonderful in a story time celebrating different cultures too. I wish there had been some mention of the figures Collier nods to in his illustrations although I appreciate that there are any author/illustrator notes at all.

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