Posted on




Adedjouma, Davida. 1996.  The Palm of My Heart:  Poetry by African American Children.  Ill. By Gregory Christie. New York:  Lee & Low Books, Inc.  ISBN  1880000415


The Palm of My Heart:  Poetry by African American Children is a collection of poetry written by children who participated in Writing Between the Lines workshops.   This compilation of poetry gives authentic voices of what it is to be Black.  With a picture book feel, poems are enhanced with colorful, strong, and simple artwork in acrylic and colored pencils that work alongside the poetry to give a stunning visual account of Black culture in America.


Brought together through a series of workshops called Writing Between the Lines, this anthology gives readers a glimpse of how African American children view themselves within the social label of “Black”. 

To give a sense of strength and boldness, Adedjouma uses the word “Black” in a large, bolded font that stands out on almost every page of the book.   The children’s thoughts and feelings about this social label are evident in their seemingly simple, yet complex poetry.

This anthology would be an excellent teaching tool, when working with students on writing free poetry or developing voice in their writing.  As the words are spoken, you can feel the empowerment that the children must have experienced while writing these poems.   This is evident in the words of Andreya Renee Allen:
Black is beautiful

Black is me

Black is the color

          can’t you see


blue is nice,

And orange is neat

But they can’t compete


Black is beautiful

Black is me

Tall, dark, and wonderful


Andreya Renee Allen

After reading several pieces of poetry from this collection, students could be invited to create poems that explore a piece of their identity in free verse form.  This collection would serve as an excellent example of creating a class anthology of poetry.   Finally, included is an end page that gives more information about the poets.  When they were born, what their hobbies are, and what they hope to be when they grow up are all captured in short vignettes.


About lisamscott1

I am a school librarian completing my studies at Texas Woman's University. The focus of this blog is poetry, which I love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s