The story of America and African Americans is a story of hope and inspiration and unwavering courage. In Heart and Soul, Kadir Nelson's stirring paintings and words grace 100-plus pages of a gorgeous picture book—a beautiful gift for readers of all ages, a treasure to share across generations at home or in the classroom.
Heart and Soul is about the men, women, and children who toiled in the hot sun picking cotton; it's about the America ripped in two by Jim Crow laws; it's about the brothers and sisters of all colors who rallied against those who would dare bar a child from an education. It's a story of discrimination and broken promises, determination, and triumphs.
Kadir Nelson's Heart and Soul—the winner of numerous awards, including the Coretta Scott King Author Award and Illustrator Honor, and the recipient of five starred reviews—is told through the unique point of view and intimate voice of a one-hundred-year-old African-American female narrator.
This inspiring book demonstrates that in striving for freedom and equal rights, African Americans help our country on the journey toward its promise of liberty and justice—the true heart and soul of our nation.
As in We Are the Ship, Nelson knits together the nation's proudest moments with its most shameful, taking on the whole of African-American history, from Revolutionary-era slavery up to the election of President Obama. He handles this vast subject with easy grace, aided by the voice of a grandmotherly figure who's an amalgam of voices from Nelson's own family. She does not gloss over the sadness and outrage of her family's history, but her patient, sometimes weary tone ("The law didn't do a thing to stop it," she says about the Ku Klux Klan. "Shoot, some of the men wearing the sheets were lawmen") makes listeners feel the quiet power that survival requires. In jaw-dropping portraits that radiate determination and strength, Nelson paints heroes like Frederick Douglass and Joe Louis, conferring equal dignity on the slaves, workers, soldiers, and students who made up the backbone of the African-American community. The images convey strength and integrity as he recounts their contributions, including "the most important idea ever introduced to America by an African American" Dr. King's nonviolent protest. A tremendous achievement. Ages 9 up.