The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton
The Picture Book (New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Books (Awards))

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Synopsis

“THE PEOPLE COULD FLY,” the title story in Virginia Hamilton’s prize-winning American Black folktale collection, is a fantasy tale of the slaves who possessed the ancient magic words that enabled them to literally fly away to freedom. And it is a moving tale of those who did not have the opportunity to “fly” away, who remained slaves with only their imaginations to set them free as they told and retold this tale.

Leo and Diane Dillon have created powerful new illustrations in full color for every page of this picture book presentation of Virginia Hamilton’s most beloved tale. The author’s original historical note as well as her previously unpublished notes are included.

Awards for The People Could Fly collection:

A Coretta Scott King Award

A Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice

A School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

A Horn Book Fanfare

An ALA Notable Book

An NCTE Teachers’ Choice

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year
 

About Virginia Hamilton

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Virginia Hamilton, the first Black to win a Newbery Medal and the first children's book author to be awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant, won the Coretta Scott King Award for The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. She died in 2002 at the age of 66.Leo and Diane Dillon, recepients of two Caldecott Medals, have illustrated five books by Virginia Hamilton, including the original black-and-white illustrations in The People Could Fly collection, Many Thousand Gone, and Her Stories. Leo and Diane Dillon live in Brooklyn, NY.
 
Published January 6, 2015 by Knopf Books for Young Readers. 32 pages
Genres: Travel, Children's Books.

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.

Nov 09 2004 | Read Full Review of The People Could Fly: The Pic...

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: The Pic...

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."

Nov 22 2004 | Read Full Review of The People Could Fly: The Pic...

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 Hairy Man.'' All ages.

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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.

Jan 01 1985 | Read Full Review of The People Could Fly: The Pic...

Reader Rating for The People Could Fly
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