Parents' Guide to

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales

By Mary Dixon Weidler, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Two dozen folktales full of humor and history.

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This anthology of stories told by and about African-American slaves, and accounts from their history, should be required reading for anyone studying American history. Animal tales based on stories brought over from Africa by the slaves' forebears communicate through the antics of their clever underdog heroes the slaves' desires for freedom and triumph over their masters, while other fanciful stories convey hope for the future.

Author Virginia Hamilton aptly captures the longing and the loss, the hope and the hurt, that carried these stories (often passed on orally) through the generations. The black-and-white drawings that illustrate some selections are rendered in a unique style. The compositions are bold, and some elements break free from their borders, echoing story themes. Moods and feelings are captured with shades and shadows.

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