Thursday, September 25, 2008

Hip Hop Speaks to Children edited by: Nikki Giovanni

Reading level: Ages 9-12

Hardcover: 80 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky; Har/Com edition (October 1, 2008)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1402210485

ISBN-13: 978-1402210488

Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a delightful and enlightening collection of poetry from various Poets, several performed by the authors themselves, on the included audio CD. With beautiful pictures depicting the poems and the contagious beat that the words pound out, this is a collection sure to capture the interest of all ages. Geared toward the 9 - 12 age group, this easily goes beyond that. As an adult, I greatly enjoyed each poem and as I read them out loud to my 6 year old daughter, she bopped around to the rhythm of my voice just reading the words. She was delighted with the rhyming, which easily draws the reader into the words.

While some of the poems within Hip Hop Speaks to Children are fun and playful, others speak of deep emotion. One that I found especially fun is as follows:

Funky Snowman
by: Calef Brown

Funky Snowman loves to dance.
You'd think he wouldn't
have much chance
without two legs
or even pants
Does that stop
Funky Snowman?

Turn up the music
with the disco beat,
when you're in the groove,
you don't need feet.
Crowds come out
and fill the street.

Kick it.
Funky Snowman!!

Another favorite that is more on the serious side and geared toward helping a child's self esteem, I feel, is as follows:

The Rose that Grew from the Concrete
by: Tupac Shakur

Did u hear about the rose that grew from a crack
in the concrete
Proving nature's laws wrong it learned 2 walk
without having feet
Funny it seems but by keeping its dreams
it learned 2 breathe fresh air
Long live the rose that grew from concrete
when no one else even cared!

Loneliness, anger and sadness are feelings that every child knows. More often than not, however, a child is not given or taught an appropriate way to express these strong emotions. The written word is a powerful tool ,that perhaps if given to children, would allow them to positively cleanse themselves and possibly even spark that creative fire that smolders within each soul. Hop Hop Speaks to Children is a positive collection of such emotional expressions. It does not matter what color your skin is, what nationality, race, economic position, size or shape a person is, the written word transcends each and every boundary. With Hip Hop Speaks to Children, you can introduce and excite children to celebrate within the written expression and beat and rhythm of words. I greatly enjoyed this collection and highly recommend it to everyone.


Product Description:

Hip Hop Speaks to Children is a celebration of poetry with a beat. Like Poetry Speaks to Children, the classic book and CD that started it all, it's 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 especially for this collection.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 Brown's poem "Long Track Blues" and a youth performance of Elizabeth Swados's poem "Me" plus much more!

The audio CD also includes contributions from:

Nikki Grimes

Queen Latifah

Langston Hughes

Sugarhill Gang

Charles R. Smith, Jr.


James Berry

A Tribe Called Quest

Gary Soto

Eloise Greenfield