The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton
American Black Folktales

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Synopsis

"The well-known author retells 24 black American folk tales in sure storytelling voice: animal tales, supernatural tales, fanciful and cautionary tales, and slave tales of freedom. All are beautifully readable. With the added attraction of 40 wonderfully expressive paintings by the Dillons, this collection should be snapped up."--(starred) School Library Journal. 

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards text Exemplar (Grade 6-8, Stories) in Appendix B.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Virginia Hamilton

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*  Virginia Hamilton, storyteller, lecturer, and biographer, was born and raised in Yellow Springs, OH, which is said to be a station on the Underground Railroad.  Her grandfather settled in the village after escaping slavery in Virginia.*  She was educated at Antioch College and Ohio State University and did further study in literature and the novel at the New School for Social Research.*  Virginia was the first African American woman to win the Newbery Award, for M.C. Higgins the Great.  Since then, she has won three Newbery Honors and three Coretta Scott King Awards.*  In 1992, Virginia was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, which is presented every two years by the International Board on Books for Young People, in recognition of her entire body of work.* Virginia writes first for the pleasure of using words and language to evoke characters and their world, and in historical accounts such as Anthony Burns, the lives of real people.  Secondly, Hamilton writes to entertain, to inspire in people the desire to read on and on good books made especially for them.  
 
Published January 1, 1988 by Walker Books Ltd. 192 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Young Adult, Children's Books, Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The People Could Fly

Kirkus Reviews

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When a mother and her baby are brutally whipped in the cotton fields, an old slave resurrects his magic and helps her and others fly away, free as birds, leaving the non-magical slaves behind to tell the tale.

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The New York Times

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But then you hear the magic words of old Toby -- no, you feel the magic words of old Toby: ''Kum .

Nov 14 2004 | Read Full Review of The People Could Fly: America...

Publishers Weekly

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This widely lauded anthology boasts stunning black-and-white artwork and stirringly told stories with such evocative titles as ``The Beautiful Girl of the Moon Tower'' and ``Wiley, His Mama, and the H

Jan 04 1993 | Read Full Review of The People Could Fly: America...

Publishers Weekly

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Toby helps others take flight as well (a stunning image shows seemingly hundreds linking hands and taking to the skies)--and eventually does so himself, sadly leaving some of the captives ""who could not fly"" behind to ""wait for a chance to run."" Art and language that are each, in turn, lyrica...

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USA Today

Hamilton's collection of two dozen African folk tales, accompanied by the Dillons' black-and-white illustrations, was published to much acclaim in 1985.

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Common Sense Media

Animal tales based on stories brought over from Africa by the slaves' forbears communicate through the antics of their clever underdog heroes the slaves' desires for freedom and triumph over their masters, while other fanciful stories convey hope for the future.

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