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3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  382 ratings  ·  87 reviews
Walter Dean Myers calls to life the deep, rich, and hope-filled history of Harlem, this crucible of American culture.
Christopher Myers' boldly assembled collage art resonates with feeling, and tells a tale all its own. Words and pictures together connect readers -of all ages - to the spirit of Harlem in its music, art, literature, and everyday life, and to how it has helpe...more
Hardback, 32 pages
Published 1997 by Scholastic Press, New York
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Winner of the Coretta Scott King award as well as the Caldecott, Harlem is a potent description of the Black American experience in this country. Students may not recognize the powerful prose as poetry but the word rhythms sing evoking strong emotional pictures.

Myer's distinctive voice is supported and highlighted by the vivid and energetic pictures of Christopher Myers. Recomended for students K-8 this book is an excellent choice for anyone wanting to share superb literature with their student...more
Harlem, by Walter Dean Myers, has a cadence to it that makes the reader want to close his eyes and just listen to the smooth rhythm of the words. The rhythm of of the poem adds so much to the poem, but the words are also extremely educational. Myers alludes to so many people and historical events, that this poem could be read and students could read and then pick a portion to do a research assignment. After reading them poem, Harlem becomes more real, and made me want to visit, and reminded me o...more
Summary/Thoughtful Reflection:
This book would best be used with upper elementary/middle school students. It's illustrations, for which it won a Caldecott Honor Award, are beautifully constructed with torn paper. It is amazing how the illustrator, Christopher Myers, created such intricate images of people, depicting their detailed facial features and expressive emotions. I personally read this text online (http://www.childrenslibrary.org/icdl/...) at the International Children's Digital Library,...more
I read this with my 9 y/o foster son the second night he was with us. He loved it - The poetry is great, there are always new things to explain (like who some of the historical figures are that are talked about in the poem). He loves looking at the pictures and listening to the cadence of the poem. The poem can be used, if you want to, as an opening to bring up various Black history topics. Or it can just be read and enjoyed for its rhythm and beautiful illustrations. My kid is a light-skinned m...more
Text Summary
Harlem: “A promise of a better life... A place where a man didn’t have to know his place simply because he was black.” Those who came to Harlem brought with them a song, first heard in the villages of Ghana and Senegal, and now left flowing through this city: “a new sound, raucous and sassy.” Religion, music, and art fill the souls of the people of this city as they hope, and pray, and sing, and paint, and write. The voices of Langston, Countee, Du Bois, and Baldwin shape this city....more
CH13_Lisa Matthews
Harlem: A Poem is a picture book that is a free verse format, which does not follow a rhyme scheme or pattern give the readers a glimpse into Harlem’s past and present with references of famous African American such as Joe Louis, Sugar Ray, DuBois, and Langston Hughes. “Harlem” also has references to famous places and streets in Harlem like the Cotton Club, Lenox Avenue and 110th street.

The illustration on each page are collages of small pieces of paper, hand drawing and photographs that has bee...more
Swear Ahmed
Harlem is an award winning poem of the experience of African Americans in America. It won all the following awards: Caldecott Honor Book, 1998; Coretta Scott King Award; Selected title of the White Ravens, 1998; Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Fiction Honor, 1997. It is appropriate for children in the age range of 9-12.
The description of the journey the people took to Harlem was so long and once they get their was very strong. It weighed very heavily on my heart to think of the journey, their s...more
Kate Reilly
Harlem is a poem about Harlem. It discusses it's rich history and gives great insight into it's culture. It discusses the music, art, food and people of Harlem, emphasizing the rich culture and history of the area. I love how this book displays the several different types of people and different types of dreams coming together to make up Harlem.

Im my future classroom I would love to spend a good bit of time of this book. I feel that it would be good for incorporating several different standards...more
1. Myers, Walter Dean. 1997. Harlem. New York: Scholastic Press.
2. This single illustrated poem depicts the sights, sounds and people of Harlem. Though the pangs of enduring discrimination are still present, this vibrant neighborhood is filled with a strong celebratory cultural and artistic presence.
3. The book uses vivid and loud images which really extenuate the words of the poem and connect the reader to the deeper meaning of the poetry. The picture are full of emotion, expression, and draw...more
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I love Walter Dean Myers and his son Christopher Myers because they create such emotionally deep works. This book telling the history of Harlem in a poetic style demonstrates their strengths. I had difficulty rating this book because of its content-it looks like a children's picture book but the complexity of the poem requires at minimum an adult to explain it to the child. Therefore I gave it the average of 4 stars as an adult book and 2 stars as a children's book. This book is a wonderful work...more
The beautiful, strong, imposing illustrations depict both the beauty and the ugliness of Harlem, the joy and sadness, the strengths and weaknesses.
The artwork in Walter Dean Myers book, Harlem: A Poem, is rich in color, feeling and expression. Each page is a beautiful depiction of life in Harlem showing everyday life, yet telling the story of the remarkable people who came from there during Harlem's heyday. From the streets came Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Leonard, Langston Huges, Count Basie, W.E.B. DeBois, just to name a few. Harlem is a place rich in Black history, where religion was important and music was a guiding force.

The strength of thi...more
Reviewed at: http://www.unleashingreaders.com/?p=2129

After reading this book the first time, I knew I was going to have to tackle it differently than just reading a picture book. I wanted to make sense of it and I knew that I didn't have the background knowledge and I know that the power of all of the words had not sunk in yet. So, I typed up the poem in Google Drive and begun doing my very own close reading of the poem. I started with research of terms and names that I didn't know building my k...more
May 26, 2008 Jodysegal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 2nd grade and Up
Shelves: poetry
Christopher Myers' wonderfully expressive collages portray Harlem with a stylized realism saturated with pan-African reds, greens, yellows and blacks and they provide the perfect accompaniment to Walter Dean Myers' poetic tour of the streets of the neighborhood. Filled with allusions to people, places and traditions- from Ghana and other African nations to Coltrane, Wright and Baldwin, to the spirituals, Jive and Jehovah of the storefronts, Myers' poem brings this neighborhood to life. Try readi...more
Genre: Junior – Poetry

Summary: Harlem is a collection of poetry that captures the reality and beauty in the culture, music and varied people of Harlem. The collage illustrations done by Christopher Myers add depth and strength to the gritty poems.

Literary Critique: (a.) Use of figurative language (themed as music terms) to describe life in Harlem
(b.) Myers weaves musical imagery and sound throughout his poetic Harlem to reveal the essence of the people and culture of Harlem. As he introduces how...more
This a beautifully woven poem that threads the reader into the neighborhood of Harlem. The poem starts the reader describing the journey of the neighborhood's conception then celebrates Harlem for what it means to it's citizens.

This book is a wonderful introspection into the concept of identity. While the reader learns about the beauty and complexity of Harlem, they also begin to wonder what their neighborhood is made of and how that impacts them as individuals. The color and textures of the pic...more
Erin Ramai
I gave this book a 4 star rating. Harlem is intended for grades 6 through adult, but I feel that along with a rich social studies curriculum, it could be used in younger grades. In 1998, it was awarded the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award. It was also a 1998 Caldecott Honor Book illustrated in collage by Christopher Myers, the son of Walter Dean Myers. The book is written in verse and is viewed as Walter Dean Myers' interpretation of Harlem. And he is surely not the first to revel in the mus...more
karrie's corner
The artwork in Walter Dean Myers book, Harlem: A Poem, is rich in color, feeling and expression. Each page is a beautiful depiction of life in Harlem showing everyday life, yet telling the story of the remarkable people who came from there during Harlem's heyday. From the streets came Joe Louis, Sugar Ray Leonard, Langston Huges, Count Basie, W.E.B. DeBois, just to name a few. Harlem is a place rich in Black history, where religion was important and music was a guiding force.

The strength of thi...more
Ashleigh Pollard
I was really drawn to this book because of the Title. I had the opportunity to visit Harlem New York and wanted to read a book for reminiscence purposes. I think my expectations were too high before reading because the story was not what I expected. The book included an assortment of poems that tried to describe the overall experience, history and culture of Harlem. I thought the collage artwork was creative, because in real life the city in a sense reminds me of a giant collage. The imperfectio...more
Patricia Holland
I think that this unique book is great because it shines a different light on a place that is usually viewed in a negative way. As you read the poem you can feel the rhythm the author is trying to portray. It keeps you turning the page. I love the collage art illustration. On the negative side I find it difficult to understand and I think that school aged children might find it even more difficult. I believe that middle school aged boys would really like the words as well as the illustration of...more
Kendrick Blackwood
Title: Harlem
Author: Walter Dean Myers
Illustrator: Christopher Myers
Genre: Poem/Picture book

Summary: Harlem is a place that African Americans gravitated toward because it was a long way away from the “know your place” Deep South. They brought with them a rhythm of speech, music and life. They brought with them roots that snaked back to Africa. They brought with them color, and faith, and celebrations, and work, and sport. The multi-media illustrations of chopped up photos and paint echo the word...more
Fisal Ansari
Grades 8-YA


Perspectives on African Americans and their origins related back to the African Continent and parts of the Middle East.

Pictures of Harlem, minorities shown in daily life struggles and routines. Lots of colors used.

Personal response:
The poems by Walter Dean Myers were amazing and brought out a sense of pride for all people of color particularly African Americans. The last line, "Place sound, celebration, memories of feelings, of pl...more
Let me first say that I love the poem that Walter Dean Myers wrote as well as the illustrations by Christopher Myers. The poem flows with beautiful images and language and is packed full of historical references. I can see using this poem in a literature or a history class with young adults. I think they would enjoy the art and the historical exploration that many of them would have to take in order to find it.

I found the copy of the book that I read in the children's room at the local library....more
Charles Martin
Walter Dean Myers writes lyrical, rhythmic poetry to accompany Christopher Myers' incredible collage art. This poetic book is great for practicing rhythm, but more importantly, this book provides a number of references to important African American artists (Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, and James Baldwin) as well as various movements and relocations. I would encourage students to further research these individuals and then share what they learn, providing a catalyst for a greater depth in lea...more
Ayana Mishelle

The book , Harlem: A Poem by Walter Dean Myers is filled with words and pictures that connect the reader with that time period. If a picture is worth a thousand words then this book would be very long indeed but it is not. This book has words but is in itself a picture walk. Great for social studies . This book tells the story of Harlem which is rich in Black History where religion and music were the guiding forces for many well known and not so well know people of color .The pictures show Harle...more
I would use this book with students at least middle school students through adult, but if it is a rich social studies classroom maybe younger. The strength in this book I found was in the beautiful illustrations, and not the verse, which is more disjointed and difficult to follow, written in the form of a poem. This book was awarded the Caldecott Honor Award and they Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award for the great work of the illustrator Christopher Myers (the son of Walter Dean).

This book i...more
Walter Dean Myers depicts "Harlem" in his poetry, describing a place rich with african american history and diversity, a place that promises life. The macabre illustrations by Christopher Myers add layers of meaning and texture, making the words almost something to reach out and touch. Walter Dean Myers references culture of the past and present, big and small, from the villages of Ghana to Langston Hughes. His words take you in:

"The uptown A
Rattles past 110th Street
Unreal to real
Relaxing the...more
This novel depicts the life of the city of Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance. This Book of poems focuses on the importance of Harlem to the black man’s success as an artist in America. The book states that a black man didn’t have to know his place, he could just come and be himself. The book also includes prominent historical blacks that made significance contributions to African American literature and music. The book includes individuals such as Jack Johnson, Joe Lewis, Sugar Ray, Web Duboi...more
Jun 12, 2010 Susan rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: home
Course evaluation:

Personal Response: This is a lovely yet challenging poem. The prose is beautiful, allusions to history subtle yet powerful, and the artwork reflects a gamut of emotions. I really enjoyed the color illustrations and how they reflect the mood of the prose.

Evaluation: The author utilizes rhythmic free verse that reflects the variety of topics covered and has a song-like quality. The illustrations are colorful collages, showing the variety of people and landscapes in Harlem. Both t...more
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Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsburg, West Virginia but moved to Harlem with his foster parents at age three. He was brought up and went to public school there. He attended Stuyvesant High School until the age of seventeen when he joined the army.

After serving four years in the army, he worked at various jobs and earned a BA from Empi...more
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