Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill
Artist, Poet, Slave

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To us
it is just dirt,
the ground we walk on...
But to Dave
it was clay,
the plain and basic stuff
upon which he formed a life
as a slave nearly 200 years ago.

Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award nominee Laban Carrick Hill's elegantly simple text and award-winning artist Bryan Collier's resplendent, earth-toned illustrations tell Dave's story, a story rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.

About Laban Carrick Hill

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Laban Carrick Hill is the author of more than thirty books, including the 2004 National Book Award Finalist Harlem Stomp!, a book he researched for nearly a decade, and America Dreaming, which examines the legacy of the 1960s. He has taught writing at Columbia University, Baruch College, and St. Michael's College and is currently teaching at the Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Massachusetts. He is also the cofounder and codirector of the Writers Project of Ghana, based in the US and Ghana.Bryan Collier began painting at the age of fifteen and earned a B.F.A. with honors from the Pratt Institute in New York. He is the illustrator of over 10 picture books, including Martin's Big Words and Rosa (both Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award winners) and Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope, a New York Times bestseller. Mr. Collier lives in Harlem, where he directs mural programs throughout the city for any child who wants to paint.
Published September 7, 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. 40 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Children's Books.

Unrated Critic Reviews for Dave the Potter

The New York Times

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As Dave wrote on a pot just before the Civil War, after five owners and almost six decades in bondage: “I wonder where is all my relation / friendship to all — and, ­every nation.” Tony Horwitz, the author of “Confederates in the Attic,” is writing a book about John Brown’s rai...

Nov 05 2010 | Read Full Review of Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet...

New York Journal of Books

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Before the clay is hardened, Dave uses a stick to inscribe a short poem: “I wonder where is all my relations/ Friendship to all—and every nation.” The illustration shows Dave at work, dating it as “Aug 16, 1859.”The book concludes with an endnote that includes photographs of Dave’s pots, seven sa...

Sep 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet...

Common Sense Media

Instead, images of shackles and chains, and of slaves picking cotton in the fields, remind the reader that Dave was a slave.

Sep 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet...


However, the poetry and drawings of the book deal solely with Dave's artistry and craft, and parents can decide how much they want to discuss his life as a slave.

May 07 2016 | Read Full Review of Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet...

Shelf Awareness

"If a saloon and bookstore can't make it on the Upper West Side, what better evidence do you need than that of the decline of artistic and free thought?

| Read Full Review of Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet...

Arlington Library

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier won the Coretta Scott King Award for 2011.

Jun 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet...

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