by Ntozake Shange
illustrated by Kadir Nelson
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2004.
"it hasn't always been this way
ellington was not a street"
The opening line to this illustrated poem by noted poet Ntozake Shange takes us into a world before civil rights. Shange tries to explain what it was like as a young African American when some of the world's biggest names used to come to her house and talk politics with her father.
I think this is a simple, powerful tool to introduce children to some of the important African American names that have shaped our country.