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I Saw Your Face
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I Saw Your Face

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  22 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Before Tom Feelings passed away in August of 2003, he had been working on a picture book with his friend, poet Kwame Dawes. As Kwame explains, "One day, Tom gave me a folder of drawings of young people from his journeys around the world. I saw a story of resilience and pride, and wrote my poem as a response." These wonderful drawings, paired with lyrical text, offer a fres ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published December 29th 2004 by Dial
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(showing 1-29 of 32)
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So beautifully illustrated and written. Kwame Dawes, an award-winning poet introduces this book by telling of a game his mother always played who, whenever meeting or seeing a person of West African descent, tried to place them in a West African ethnic group. She was able to identify people living in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Dawes met the incredible artist, Tom Feelings and they spoke of the rich history of African people, and the history that is told through the multiplication of faces. ...more
Brooke Devarennes
Subgroup: Immigration

Genre: Caribbean Poetry

Topics: skin tone, facial structure within African race, geography

Synopsis: An artist named Tom Feelings had travelled the world and drew sketches of the faces of many African descendants. “I saw a story of resilience and pride in the faces. This [is] the story of Africa and her diaspora.” The author was inspired by Tom Feelings drawings and created this poem to go along with all of his great artistry. The faces come from around the world for example;
A poem and striking portraits of children of African descent from around the globe celebrate the thread that binds them all together. Dawes paints a word picture of the faces he has seen in world travels and how they seem to echo back to Africa. The beauty of this book lies in Tom Feelings’ graceful sketches. The simple drawings have a quiet elegance and dignity; each subject’s eyes hold a remarkable depth of soul. "I Saw Your Face" begs follow-up discussion and personal introspection. It is a c ...more
I loved the pictures, but was not thrilled with the text. The text was clunky and an afterthought. When I read the foreward, I understood why. Tom Feelings had done these wonderful line drawings of faces and they (the publisher?) just added text to make it a children's book. It shows. Look at and enjoy the pictures, but don't bother with the words.
This work of poetry explores African history and heritage and how it is seen in many faces around the world. The themes are geography, history, diversity, culture, and cultural diffusion. There is a map in the back of the book that could be used with children to identify the various places around the world that are mentioned in the book.
Fisal Ansari
Grades 9-YA


African experience


Personal response:
Amazing tale about people of African descent and the connections they carry around the world.

Curricular or programming connections:
Connections on Africans from around the world.
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Tom was a skilled cartoonist, illustrator, teacher, and activist for the African-American experience. For a time, he served in the Graphic Arts division of the U.S. Air Force. He created the cartoon Tommy Traveler in the World of Black History in 1958, received a Caldecott Honor in 1972, and two Coretta Scott King Awards in 1979 and 1994.

For more information, please see
More about Tom Feelings...
The Middle Passage: White Ships/ Black Cargo Daydreamers Soul Looks Back in Wonder Tommy Traveller in the World of Black History Quiet Place

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