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 be
What you want to be
If you try to be
What you can be?
This lyrical, empowering poem celebrates black children and seeks to inspire all young people to dream big and achieve their goals.
Perkins's 1975 poem, originally written as song lyrics (and sometimes misattributed to Countee Cullen or Maya Angelou), features compact, rhythmic language that's both avuncular and commandingly rhetorical ("Hey Black Child/ Do you know who you are/ Who you really are"). Collier (City Shapes) uses a combination of dense, burnished watercolors the texture often mimics acrylics and photo collage to imagine the possibilities open to empowered African-American children. Each stanza begins with a close, almost photorealistic portrait of a confident, happy child; subsequent pages show how the child's passion, coupled with a proud sense of heritage, leads him or her to become someone who helps make "your nation/ what you want it to be." A girl with eager, bespectacled eyes and a bright smile stands beside a telescope and knows she can become an astronaut; a boy inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement sees a future in politics. Perkins's poem has always made for a stirring recitation; new and old fans will find that Collier's images do full justice to it. Ages 4 8. Illustrator's)