Harlem Renaissance Party

Harlem Renaissance Party

by Faith Ringgold
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Caldecott Honor artist Faith Ringgold takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the Harlem Renaissance.

Lonnie and his uncle go back to Harlem in the 1920s. Along the way, they meet famous writers, musicians, artists, and athletes, from Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois to Josephine Baker and Zora Neale Hurston and many more, who created this incredible period. And after an exciting day of walking with giants, Lonnie fully understands why the Harlem Renaissance is so important.

Faith Ringgold's bold and vibrant illustrations capture the song and dance of the Harlem Renaissance while her story will captivate young readers, teaching them all about this significant time in our history. A glossary and further reading list are included in the back of the book.

Faith Ringgold—painter, writer, speaker, mixed media sculptor, and performance artist—is the recipient of more than 75 awards, including 22 honorary doctor of fine arts degrees. Her work is in the permanent collections of numerous museums.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“The crowd roared. The celebration was on,” writes Caldecott Honoree artist Ringgold (Tar Beach), conjuring a magical celebration in which a boy named Lonnie and his uncle Bates meet the giants of the Harlem Renaissance. They eat chicken and waffles at Well’s, see a parade led by Marcus Garvey, meet a string of the era’s musicians and writers, and finally encounter the man Lonnie admires most—poet Langston Hughes. Lonnie is stage-struck. “Do you write, Mr. Lonnie?” Hughes asks him. “Yes, I guess so,” Lonnie answers. “Then you are a writer,” Hughes declares. Ringgold’s bold, heavily outlined figures give the heroes the look of icons, an effect enhanced by placing them against backdrops of hot red and bright blue. While the narrative and dialogue have the unfortunate air of textbook prose, cramming as much information into each episode as possible (“Mr. Robeson, you are a great singer, actor, and athlete”), there’s rich inspiration here, especially in Ringgold’s characterization of the African-American experience. “Black people didn’t come to America to be free,” Lonnie says. “We fought for our freedom by creating art, music, literature, and dance.” Ages 4–8. (Jan.)

School Library Journal

Gr 1–4—Accomplished artist, educator, and activist Ringgold gives readers a grounding in the Harlem Renaissance in this follow-up to her Dinner at Aunt Connie's House (Hyperion, 1993). Narrator and aspiring author Lonnie travels back in time with his uncle to meet the artists, musicians, and writers who reinvigorated African American culture in the early 20th century. As W.E.B. Du Bois comments when they see him at The Crisis magazine headquarters, "We black folk had a new desire to create as though we had just awakened from a deep, deep sleep." While visiting 1930s Harlem, the pair eat breakfast with Jack Johnson, watch a Marcus Garvey parade, and "cut a rug" at the Savoy Ballroom. At the Schomburg Library, they encounter Zora Neale Hurston, Carter G. Woodson, and Lonnie's hero, Langston Hughes. Back matter includes a glossary of terms and brief biographies of the legendary giants that Lonnie meets at the party. Ringgold's colorful acrylic illustrations will acquaint a new generation with cultural icons of the Harlem Renaissance. Librarians will want to follow up by sharing complementary titles in their collections, such as David Roessel's Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes (Sterling, 2006) and Dennis Brindell Fradin and Judith Bloom Fradin's biography Zora!: The Life of Zora Neale Hurston (Clarion, 2012).—Toby Rajput, National Louis University, Skokie, IL

Kirkus Reviews

Harlem Airlines flies a boy and his uncle back in time to a fanciful grand parade on Seventh Avenue, where they meet and greet a star-studded lineup of African-American luminaries. After a breakfast of "the best fried chicken and waffles this side of heaven" (at the legendary Well's Restaurant), the boy is on the lookout for Langston Hughes, his favorite poet. Marcus Garvey passes by, as does W.E.B. Du Bois. There's a visit to the Africana Art Gallery, Madame C.J. Walker's Beauty School and the Harlem Opera House, where they have a conversation with Paul Robeson. Florence Mills and Josephine Baker represent those who achieved fame overseas. At the Schomburg Library, they hear Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes, who recites "My People." A party at the Savoy with performances by Fletcher Henderson's band, Satchmo and Coleman Hawkins is a festive finale. On the flight home, the boy reiterates his racial pride and determination to write. Ringgold has a sure hand as she delivers her message and even references her own Aunt Connie's Dinner Party (1993). The acrylic paintings on textured canvas feature elongated figures that are boldly colored in all the primary hues. Her decision to depict her proud protagonist as light-skinned, red-haired and blue-eyed is an eloquent statement all by itself. Black pride is strong in this homage. (Harlem Renaissance glossary, further reading) (Picture book. 4-7)

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060579111
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/27/2015
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 635,374
Product dimensions: 8.70(w) x 11.40(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

Customer Reviews