Winner, 2017 APA Audie Awards - Young Listeners
Narrators: Dion Graham, William Jackson Harper, Zainab Jah, January LaVoy, Robin Miles, Lizan Mitchell, Jonathan Earl Peck, Carter Woodson Redwood.
The 28 days of Black History Month are commemorated with descriptions of the men, women, and events that have been vital in defining our understanding of African American history. From Crispus Attucks to Barack Obama, Harriet Tubman to Malcolm X, Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the entries move chronologically from 1770 to the present and encompass all walks of life, from the armed forces and performing arts through sports and civil rights activism. Spectacular poetry and prose celebrate these important individuals and decisions that framed our country's history. A final 29th day challenges listeners to make their own historical contributions.
"This amalgam of facts, biographical snippets, poetry, court cases, and eulogies begins with an author's note that underlines the primary intended audience: teachers. Elementary students whose classroom instructors provide additional and much needed contexts for each entry will reap ample rewards as well. The eight different narrators bring a wide variety of accents, approaches, and vocal styles to the audio production, underscoring the diversity of the achievements and events - from medical to political to scientific to entrepreneurial to athletic - that are included in this unashamedly adulatory effort. On occasion, the too-clever structures imposed on the information (such as the countdown in the entry for astronauts Guion Bluford and Mae Jemison) seem to leave the cast floundering for coherence and pace. But other times, such as the back-and-forth choral reading of the entry for Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, the effect is as crisp as the tick-tock-tick of a tennis ball sailing back and forth over the net. Occasional sound effects and a nicely varied musical score add both a satisfying dimension and a sense of continuity to the performance as a whole." (Booklist)
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