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Our intention is to acquire and make available ALL picture books featuring Indigenous people and people of color published in the U.S. since 2002, including reprints. Inclusion of a title in the collection DOES NOT EQUAL recommendation. See our related readings page for suggested links for evaluating books.

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The people could fly

2015

by Virginia Hamilton, Diane Dillon and Leo Dillon

Resplendent, powerful paintings by these two-time Caldecott-winning artists bring new life to the title story from the late Hamilton's 1985 collection, The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales . Making dramatic use of shadow and light, Leo and Diane Dillon (whose half-tone illustrations also graced the original volume) ably convey the tale's simultaneous messages of oppression and freedom, of sadness and hope. "They say the people could fly. Say that long ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic," opens the narrative, as the full-color artwork reveals elegant, beautifully clothed individuals with feathered wings serenely ascending into the sky. On the following spread, images of the Middle Passage set a fittingly somber tone, depicting Africans who "were captured for Slavery. The ones that could fly shed their wings. They couldn't take their wings across the water on the slave ships. Too crowded, don't you know." The picture-book format allows room for the relationship to develop between Sarah, who labors in the cotton fields with an infant strapped to her back, and Toby, the "old man," who utters the magic African words that give her flight. Toby helps others take flight as well (a stunning image shows seemingly hundreds linking hands and taking to the skies)- and eventually does so himself, sadly leaving some of the captives "who could not fly" behind to "wait for a chance to run." Art and language that are each, in turn, lyrical and hard-hitting make an ideal pairing in this elegant volume that gracefully showcases the talent of its creators. All ages

Cross Group Folklore Oppression

A tangle of Brungles

2018

by Shobha Viswanath and Culpeo S. Fox

A coven of witches stirs up a spell using a quiver of cobras, a lounge of lizards, a mess of iguanas, and other animal ingredients. From publisher: "One of the things we wanted to do with A Tangle of Brungles was to portray witches in the manner they are represented in Indian folklore – the ‘dayan’ (or daayan) has feet that face the other way, for example. We also consciously avoided showing them sporting tall pointy hats or broomsticks. The head witch wears a forehead ornament that is commonly worn in India during special occasions. There are other subtle things – for example, cooking in a large pot out in the open is a practice often followed during Indian festivals that are of a celebratory nature, e.g. Pongal, the harvest festival. As for Brungle, we wanted to portray him as a handsome, dapper character whose casually slung scarf and dark sunglasses are reminiscent of Indian movie stars in posters."

Folklore

Many of the cover images on this site are from Google Books.

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