The Entrance Place of Wonders
Twenty poems written during the Harlem Renaissance are perfectly paired with exuberant oil paintings. Familiar poets such as Countee Cullen, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, and Claude McKay are joined by less immediately recognized names such as Effie Lee Newsome, Dorothy Vena Johnson, and Gladys May Caseley-Hayford. Their collective work, firmly grounded in this exciting explosion of African-American culture, affirms the joy of life and of personal growth and discovery. Madeline G. Allison's "Children of the Sun" reminds youngsters that "God in his Wisdom gave you hue/of which He's proud–yes, proud of you!" Some selections brim with hope, such as Langston Hughes's "To You." "To dream of vast horizons of the soul/Through dreams made whole,/Unfettered free–help me!" and Georgia Douglas Johnson's "Your World," which is "as big as you make it." Riley-Webb's vibrant, colorful illustrations employ a swirling contemporary realism in their joyful depictions of children exploring and interacting with their world. An introduction about the Harlem Renaissance is followed by brief biographical entries on the poets. Whether shared as a read-aloud to early elementary students or enjoyed individually by older readers, this collection provides delightful interaction with winsome words and images that will enhance poetry curricula and charm its pursuers.