The People Could Fly

by

Author: Hamilton, Virginia

Title: The People Could Fly

Genre: Folktale, African-American

Publication Date: 1985 (Hardcover), 1993 (First paper back printing)

 

Number of Pages: 178 p.

Geographical Setting: A somewhat mythical antebellum Southern United States

Time Period: Prior to 1865, each tale is essential timeless

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: The People Could Fly is a collection of Black American folk tale passed down through oral traditions from the arrival of enslaved Africans in the North America, through slavery, to this very day. The collection can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. There are tales that are somewhat familiar (i.e. “Doc Rabbit, Bruh Fox, and Tar Baby.) and other tales that should be new to the casual reader. A Coretta Scott King Honor Book, its beautiful illustration won the award in 1986. The book divides the tales into 4 thematic sections: animal tales, tales of the Real, Extravagant, and Fanciful, tales of the supernatural, and slave tales of freedom. And after every story the origin cultural and geographic origins of that tale are broken down for the reader. This tome contains humorous yarns, weird stories, and inspirational tales great for all ages.

Subject Headings: Freedom, slavery, folklore, animal tales, Black American culture, oral traditions

Appeal: great read-a-loud book, short chapters, imaginative, weird, inspirational, memorable characters, beautiful illustrations, dialect, funny, Issue-oriented, Relaxed pace, heartwarming, homespun.

3 terms that best describe this book: Witty, humorous, timeless

3 Relevant Non Fiction Works and Authors

1.)  African folktales: traditional stories of the Black world by Roger D. Abrahams – Another collection of folk tales, this time including tales from the nations and people of West Africa.

2.) Italian folktales by Italo Calvino: A collection of 200 Italian folk tales.

 

3.) Dee Brown’s folktales of the Native American, retold for our times by Dee Alexander Brown: Thirty six stories of various Native American oral traditions retold for the common era

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1.) Best African-American fiction, 2010 edited by Gerald Early & Nikki Giovanni. – A collection of short stories and novel excerpts from the years catalog of black fiction writers.

2.)  Best African-American fiction, 2009 edited by Gerald Early & E. Lynn Harris. – A collection of short stories and novel excerpts from the years catalog of black fiction writers.

3.) The monkey suit: and other short fiction on African Americans and justice by David Dante Troutt – Ten short fictional stories based off of actual case of documenting the African American struggle against segregation and for civil/human rights.

Morgan

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