Friday, February 01, 2013

Friday Poetry: In the Land of Milk and Honey

by Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Amistad, 2012. (review copy/F&G) I received an "F & G" from the publisher for this book. What that means is it is not the final bound version but just the printed and gathered pages. The illustrations are so beautiful in this book I think I am going to have to frame some of them, so having the pages unbound makes that easier! :)

In 1948 Joyce Carol Thomas took the train from Oklahoma to California, when her father moved the family there to be near extended family. The author recals lovely, flavorful details of the excitement and wonder of the trip. Some of my favorite lines:

"Daddy says,
"If the lemons are big as oranges
if the oranges are big as grapefruits
if you bit into a strawberry
and taste heaven in your mouth
why, you're in California
the Land of Milk and Honey."

..."where ships sit
anchored in the coastal waters..."

"where the music swings
and every voice rings
with its own true sound..."

"Beyond the bay
mountains topped with ice cream snow

Thomas employs sharp color words associated with wonderful tastes and smells to give readers sharp images that make those of us enduring a dreary northern winter long for southern California. If you are in need of some citrus and sunshine go find this book and drink it in!

Today's Friday Poetry round up is hosted at Teaching Authors.

Please come back here often in the coming weeks for lots of Black History Month featured children's literature!


jama said...

I definitely want to see this book now -- loved the excerpts you shared, especially the ice cream snow :).

Renee LaTulippe said...

Yup, that's a place I'd like to go! Love the excerpt you chose -- I'm write behind Jama in the line for ice cream snow. :)

Author Amok said...

It's beautiful, the way this poem sets up the tastes, visuals, smells of fruit first before we get to California.

Linda B said...

I just watched our librarians create a bulletin board of many book covers for February. I'll be sure to tell them about this one too, Andi. It looks wonderful. Fun to hear about the F & G too.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

Oh, I love this book! At first, I thought it was too "young" for my sixth graders, but then I used it as a mentor text for writing workshop (one of our make your writing juicy mini lessons) and they loved it too. The paintings are just glorious, as well.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

Yes, I agree it would make a fabulous mentor text! And I think I neglected to say enough about how fabulous the artwork is... I would love to take the pages and make a bulletin board if I were still in an elementary school... great use for an F&G!

Bridget Magee said...

Having grown up in Southern California (Anaheim to be exact) I loved the orange groves that surrounded our elementary school and the strawberry field behind our house. Alas, it's not like that anymore, but makes for great memories. Thanks for sharing. =)

Mary Lee said...

Can't wait to get my hands on this one!

Doraine said...

Just lovely! What beautiful word pictures. I'll have to go find this one.