Long ago, when the earth had not settled in its turning and the stars had not found their places in the night sky, there were three kingdoms.
The first was the kingdom of the forest, ruled by the mighty Elephant. The second was the kingdom of the sea, ruled by the ferocious Shark. And the third was the kingdom of the air, ruled by the powerful Hawk.
And then there were the People, who needed the forest and sea and air for survival. But they were small and weakno match for the beast who dominated the kingdoms. Yet the People had a giftthe gift of storytelling.
With powerful prose and bold illustrations, Walter Dean Myers and Ashley Bryan tell how the People used their gift to outwit the rulers of the three kingdoms, making this triumphant story one worth reading again and again.
Author Biography: Walter Dean Myers is the author of many highly acclaimed books, including Scorpions, a 1989 Newbery Honor Book; Now Is Your Time: The African-American Struggle for Freedom, winner of the 1992 Coretta Scott King Author Award; The Mouse Rap, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults; and Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse. In 1994, he received the ALA's Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. Mr. Myers lives in New Jersey with his family.In His Own Words...
I am a product of Harlem and of the values, color, toughness and caring that I found there as a child. I learned my flat jump shot in the church basement and got my first kiss during recess at Bible school. I played the endless street games kids played in the pre-television days and paid enough attention to candy andjunk food to dutifully alarm my mother.
From my foster parents, the Deans, I received the love that was ultimately to strengthen me, even when I had forgotten its source. It was my foster mother, a half Indian-half German woman, who taught me to read, though she herself was barely literate.
I had a speech difficulty but didn't view it as anything special. It wasn't necessary for me to be much of a social creature once I discovered books. Books took me, not so much to foreign lands and fanciful adventures, but to a place within myself that I have been constantly exploring ever since.
The George Bruce Branch of the public Library was my most treasured place. I couldn't believe my luck in discovering what I enjoyed most reading was free. And I was tough enough to carry the books home through the streets without too many incidents.
At sixteen it seemed a good idea to leave school, and so I did. On my seventeenth birthday I joined the army. After the army there were jobs some good, some bad, few worth mentioning. Leaving school seemed less like a good idea.
Writing for me has been many things. It was a way to overcome the hindrance of speech problems as I tried to reach out to the world. It was a way of establishing my humanity in a world that often ignores the humanity of those in less favored positions. It was a way to make a few extra dollars when they were badly needed.
What I want to do with the writing keeps changing, too. Perhaps I just get clearer in what it is I am doing. I'm sure that after I'm dead someone will lay it all out nicely. I'd hate to see what kind of biography my cat, Askia, would write about me. Probably something like "Walter Dean Myers had enormous feet, didn't feed me on time, and often sat in my favorite chair." At any rate, what I think I'm doing now is rediscovering the innocence of children that I once took for granted. I cannot relive it or reclaim it, but I can expose it and celebrate it in the books I write. I really like people I mean I really like people and children are some of the best people I know.
I've always felt it a little pretentious to write about yourself, but it's not too bad if you don't write too much. Walter Dean Myers
About the Author
Walter Dean Myers is the New York Times bestselling author of Monster, the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award, the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, and inaugural NYC Literary Honoree. Myers has received every single major award in the field of children's literature. He is the author of two Newbery Honor Books and five Coretta Scott King Awardees. He is the recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults and is a three-time National Book Award Finalist as well as the first-ever recipient of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. He was the 2010 United States nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award, and is considered one of the preeminent writers for young people. Walter lives in Jersey City, New Jersey, with his family.
Ashley Bryan's numerous awards and honors include the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration, six Coretta Scott King Honors, the Arbuthnot Prize, and a Fulbright Scholarship. He illustrated The Story of the Three Kingdoms by Walter Dean Myers, A Nest Full of Stars by James Berry, and How God Fix Jonah by Lorenz Graham. He also wrote and illustrated Beautiful Blackbird and All Night, All Day: A Child's First Book of African-American Spirituals. Mr. Bryan studied at Cooper Union in New York City and earned a degree in philosophy at Columbia University. He lives in Isleford, Maine.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This story is of 3 kingdoms long ago: the kingdom of the forest ruled by the elephant, the kingdom of the sea ruled by the shark, and the kingdom of the air ruled by the hawk. The 3 kingdoms didn't interact much, and each thought that theirs was the best that ruled the Earth. Then, new creatures called people came to earth and all 3 kingdoms laughed because they were not as strong as an elephant, fierce as a shark, nor could they fly like a hawk. One day, the elephant fell into a pit and not he or any other animal was strong enough to pull him out. However, the people knew that there was strength in numbers and worked together to pull the elephant out. From then on, the elephant shared the forest with all the people. Next, the people worked together to weave a mat and used it as a net to catch the shark. They would only set the shark free under one condition, that he share the sea with all the people, and he did. Last, the people made a plan to capture the hawk, and when he landed, the people threw a loop made from vines around his neck. The people set him free only once he had agreed to share the air with all the people. The people lived in harmony, realizing that they did not need to rule the earth, but instead, share because it was wisest of all to do so.