Here in Harlem by Walter Dean Myers
Poems in Many Voices (Bank Street College of Education Claudia Lewis Award (Awards))

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Synopsis

These fifty-four poems, all in different voices but written by one hand, do sing. They make a joyful noise as the author honors the people-the nurses, students, soldiers, and ministers-of his beloved hometown, Harlem. Worship with Deacon Allen, who loves "a shouting church," and study with Lois Smith, who wants "a school named after me." Don't get taken by Sweet Sam DuPree, who "conned a shark right outta his fin." And never turn your back on Delia Pierce, who claims she "ain't the kind to talk behind nobody's back" while doing precisely that-with panache. Inspired by Edgar Lee Masters's classic Spoon River Anthology, Walter Dean Myers celebrates the voices and aspirations of the residents of another American town, one that lies between two rivers on the north side of an island called Manhattan.
 

About Walter Dean Myers

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Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsberg, West Virginia, into a very poor family. When he was three years old, he was adopted by Herbert and Florence Dean, who lived in Harlem. He began writing stories while still in his teens but had little hope of becoming a professional writer because, coming from a family of laborers, he too was expected to work with his hands. However, Myers refused to accept the notion that because he was black and poor he was restricted in what he could do. He enlisted in the army on his 17th birthday, and while there he read everything he could. After completing his army service, he took what jobs he could while continuing to write. He entered and won a 1969 contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, which led to the publication of his first book for children, Where Does the Day Go? He has written more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. Aside from telling good stories, he strives to convey what he learned while young. His message to black youth is that although growing up is not easy and reality can be harsh, young African Americans can succeed despite the odds against them. His other works include Fallen Angels, The Righteous Revenge of Artemis Bonner, Now Is Your Time, and Jazz. He has won the Coretta Scott King Award for African American authors five times. In addition to the publication of his books, he leads a writing workshop for children in a school in Jersey City, New Jersey.
 
Published October 1, 2006 by Holiday House. 88 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Children's Books. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Here in Harlem

Kirkus Reviews

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In this Whitman-esque ode to time and the city, the “crazy quilt patterns” of Harlem are reflected in the voices of the neighborhood’s “big-time people and its struggling folk,” of little girls and blind old veterans, poets and mechanics, boxers and nannies, ballplayers and blues singers, laborer...

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Publishers Weekly

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When Fats offers Mark a way to make some fast cash, he feels funny about it ("You didn't make no five dollars in one night unless you were doing something a little on the shady side") but agrees, hoping he can parlay it into a chance to jam with Fats.

Mar 26 2007 | Read Full Review of Here in Harlem: Poems in Many...

Publishers Weekly

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But there is sadness too-a ""fleet of funeral cars"" or ""endless depths of pain/ Singing a capella on the street corners."" Throughout, the past overlays the present, like a legacy passed down (""A journey on the A train/ That started on the banks of the Niger/ And has not ended"").

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Publishers Weekly

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In nearly 60 poems, Myers (145th Street ) treats readers to a tour of Harlem's past and present, its hopes and fears, through the voices of narrators young and old.

Nov 15 2004 | Read Full Review of Here in Harlem: Poems in Many...

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