Friday, February 16, 2007

Brown Angels

by Walter Dean Myers. Harpercollins, 1993. Walter Dean Myers has been collecting photographs of African American children for years. He finds them at antique shops, garage sales, yard sales and second-hand stores. The children aren’t identified; their families lost touch with these photos long ago. Somewhere a grandchild may come across this book and spot a family resemblance. Maybe one of your people is here, captured in their childhood solemnity or silliness. They could be the long-grown children-now-grandparents of anyone. Their clothing is old fashioned but their eyes speak of now.

Myers wrote poems inspired by these photographs and they are lovely and compelling. My favorite is one that Sharon Creech included in her book Love That Dog:

Love That Boy

Love that boy,
Like a rabbit loves to run
I said I love that boy
Like a rabbit loves to run
Love to call him in the morning
Love to call him
“Hey there, son!”

The boy in the photo has the same pouty lips that my son has and it brings tears to my eyes.

Another one I just can’t get enough of is here:


Shout my name to the angels
Sing my song to the skies
Anoint my ears with wisdom
Let beauty fill my eyes

For I am dark and precious
And have such gifts to give
Sweet joy, sweet love,
Sweet laughter
Sweet wondrous life to live

Read more about Walter Dean Myers here and here.


Anonymous said...

"love That Boy" is one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Wow...Myers is amazing for his fortitude, which must be summed up as a tenacious love. And he insists that we recognize, and honor, the boy-ness of our boys.

This book sounds so exciting.