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Hip Hop Speaks to Children (2008)

Author: Nikki Giovanni Illustrator: Alicia Vergel de Dios, Damian Ward, Kristen Balouch, Jeremy Tugeau, Michele Noiset
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Number of pages: 80 pages

Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a celebration of poetry with a beat, created by National Book Award nominee, Spoken Word Grammy nominee and New York Times best-selling author Nikki Giovanni, who led an advisory board comprised of leading hip hop poet Willie Perdomo, Howard University professor Tony Medina and music specialist Michele Scott. Like Poetry Speaks to Children, the classic book and CD that started it all, this anthology is meant to be the beginning of a journey of discovery. Readers can immerse themselves in 51 selections from 42 poets and performers, and 30 performances on the audio CD, many recorded specially for this collection. Hip hop, like poetry, encompasses everything about the human experience. Its easy to forget that hip hop was born using creativity to improve circumstances. When slaves were prevented from learning to read and write, they used coded drumbeats to communicate. Gospel preachers refined the call and response as a means to educate and embed Gods word into peoples minds. Blues musicians turned the repeated cadence into the 20th centurys most influential music form. The first hip hop artists, inner-city kids, put all of these together and didnt let a lack of resources stop their creativity. Hip Hop Speaks to Children presents powerful messages from all of these creative expressions, from James Weldon Johnson to Langston Hughes to Gwendolyn Brooks to Queen Latifah, and shows how rhythm and rhyme form a common thread among them. Some tracks on the CD are performed by the artists who created them, others are unique interpretations by admiring poets and artists. Hear a musical interpretation of Sterling Browns poem Long Track Blues and a youth performance of Elizabeth Swadoss poem Me. The audio CD also includes contributions from Nikki Grimes, Eloise Greenfield, James Berry and A Tribe Called Quest, among others. Nikki Giovanni brings power and passion to everything she does, and is extremely enthusiastic with regard to the message of Hip Hop Speaks to Children and its ability to break ground and open up a new world to boys and girls. YES, poetry can be fun, hip hop can be hopeful and together they can inspire.

ISBN 13: 978-1402210488
Reading Level (grade): 3 and up

Available in English.