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Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
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Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  2,531 ratings  ·  361 reviews
To us
it is just dirt,
the ground we walk on...
But to Dave
it was clay,
the plain and basic stuff
upon which he formed a life
as a slave nearly 200 years ago.

Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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Community Reviews

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I can understand why Laban Carrick Hill garnered the Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in this book. The rich, warm, earthy tones of the watercolor painting mixed with the depth achieved by the technique of collage make for effective and inviting pictures. I felt not that I was watching this man from a remote outside place, but rather that I was there, watching him work his magic with the clay. As if I were watching the reenactment of what the everyday life might have been like for ...more
I am not capable of dealing with the whole verse non-fiction trend objectively, my dears. I don't get it, I never will! It's a factual book, it's SUPPOSED to give us details and context, not make us guess at meaning with metaphor, simile and generic imagery.

I had a much more enjoyable time reading the historical notes at the back of the book and looking at the one photo of Dave the Potter's actual work than I did reading the poem itself. The poem text is mostly about the process ANY potter uses
Lisa Vegan
Mar 06, 2011 Lisa Vegan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: all potters and artists; American history buffs; those interested in art history
Recommended to Lisa by: Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I’m blown away by the man, even with the many gaps in what is known about him, and this book is a fine tribute to him; I think the book does Dave justice, and so I am pleased.

Powerful true story, and I think I liked all the background information ever better than the story proper. I enjoyed the story, but the writing style might not have appealed to me when I was a child; I’m not certain.

The illustrations are absolutely riveting. I love how what’s going on in the background is shown. I love the
Beautifully simple, simply beautiful. Little known artist, poet, slave, brought to life through Hill's words and Collier's paintings. Hill's words, like Dave's are poetic, starting with his repetitive "To us . . . But for Dave. . . " to his use of one of Dave's poems to close. A fold-over page using a larger font size, announces our first few of the magic coming from Dave's hands. The creamy color of clay on Dave's dark hands make the hands, and their magic, stand out. There are few details of D ...more
Arretta Johnson
As I hold up a glazed piece of pottery shaped into a pitcher, I will ask the class, "Can anyone can tell me what this is and what it is made of?" After several answers are given, I will explain that I have a pitcher that was handed down to me from my grandmother to my mother and then to me. This pitcher was hand made and painted (not by my grandmother) many, many years ago and I was told my grandmother used it to hold hot chocolate. Then I would ask, "Who would like to explain to me your idea of ...more
Jun 10, 2014 Samantha added it
Shelves: multicultural
Text-to-self: In high school, I took several pottery classes and enjoyed making pottery like Dave in the book. I know how difficult it can be to create well constructed pieces of pottery with modern technology. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been back then. He must have been a very skilled artist.

Remembering: Name two things Dave did in the process of making his pottery.
Understanding:What do you think the author meant when they said "Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat,
Joanna Marple
Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living as a slave in South Carolina in the 1800s. A potter and a poet. This is story of strength (both spiritually and physically, for it is difficult to throw clay pots of the size and scope Dave made – 20 to 40 gallons) and creativity. It also présents the reader with a mystery, for so little is really know about Dave . . . how was he trained when so few slaves were? How did he learn to read? The artwork is beautiful, but the foldout picture o ...more
Dave the Potter was an outstanding artist, poet and potter whose influence is still evident in South Carolina pottery. He lived in the 1800s and created his pottery with amazing skill, building enormous pots that could up to 40 gallons. He was one of only two potters known to have the strength and skill to create such large pieces. Dave was also a poet, inscribing his verse on his pottery, offering two lines of poetry and then a date. His poems have the beauty and simplicity of Haiku and offer a ...more
Anna Garland
Plot: Although this looks like a fictional book from its cover, Dave was a real person; a slave who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. He was a potter who somehow learned to read and write, and inscribed many of his pots with whimsical short poems, and the date they were created. Although we do not know much about Dave’s life his work and writings make him a most inspirational character and teaches the young reader about the value art and the messages that it can carry. The story, written in ...more
Ch13_megan Carlisle
Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill is a Caldecott Honor Book. The book centers on Dave, a potter, poet and slave. It describes in great detail the steps that Dave went through to create his pots. At the end of the book the author gives a greater set of details regarding the life of Dave. He also includes many of the inscriptions that were found on Dave's pottery pieces.

The piece I most enjoyed about the book was the illustrations. The illustrator pastes images on a page in a fashion similar
Pamela ☼what?!? you want more gruel☼ Tee
I had purposed this book to be apart of an ongoing History discussion I was having with my children --boy and girl, 8 and 10 -- on the Civil War. I meant to personalize the historical era which is basically incomprehensible to children this young if you don't give them someone they can understand. And eventually we did get around to this discussion, but first it had to wait. Why? Because my children were awestruck by Bryan Collier's beautiful illustrations. His drawings just grabbed their attent ...more
This book, by Laban Carrick Hill, is narrative poem about a man named Dave who, for most of his life, was a slave. However, Dave has become more well-known recently for his contribution to American art. The pots he created were magnificent in their own right. However, the words he put onto the side of his pottery are what he is remembered for. Occasionally, he would put a short poem on a piece of pottery. For example, "Dave belongs to Mr. Miles/wher the oven bakes & the bot biles/// July 31, ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This book is one of the 2011 Caldecott Honor books and a Coretta Scott King Award winner for its illustrations. Dave, for whom we have no last name, was a slave and a potter in South Carolina. We know of him primarily from his pots, upon which he inscribed short poems from time to time. What a clever way to immortalize oneself! Laban Carrick Hill takes us through the process Dave must have used to create his pots, while Bryan Collier illustrates it. We don't even know what Dave really looked lik ...more
What a fascinating book. I recently watched an episode of "History Detectives" on PBS where one of the mysteries surrounded a face jar (also called an "ugly jar") from a pre-Civil War pottery in South Carolina. Although the researchers weren't able to discover who the potter was, they were able to find another piece that was obviously made by the same person. The jars were made to hold personal possessions, and as protection against evil spirits. What I found so touching is that the jars were of ...more
This book is a sweet remembrance to an important artist and poet in American history. The book takes children step by step through the process of making a piece of pottery with Dave. The words truly make the potter come to life as they describe his hands, motions and artistry used in creating each piece. This book would appeal to boys and girls from K-3rd grade. The words are challenging yet perfectly inviting for beginning readers. I would encourage teachers to share the story of Dave the Potte ...more
Laban Carrick Hill, author, and Bryan Collier, illustrator teamed up to produce a book beautiful, Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. This story tells of the life and amazing pottery of Dave, a 19th century slave from South Carolina.

There are several classroom applications for this wonderful story. Not only is the text itself worth focusing on, but the informational pages in the back of the book as well as the author and illustrator notes are a MUST read! This book creates many avenues to spar
Dave the Potter describes the life and craft of an African American slave in South Carolina in the late 1800’s. The short and powerful text lines, describe the remarkable skill of this important potter and poet in American history. Within the pages, the author, Laban Carrick Hill includes the actual stanzas inscribed on many of Dave's pieces. The earth toned water colored illustrations emphasis the strength needed to mold and spin the large pots which Dave was famous for. Dave the Potter include ...more
You are going to want this book.

This is a rare story, beautifully told, illustrated with power, and it has ties to things that children can touch and do.

What, you want more?

Heh, just kidding. Of course you do. How about you want a story that will help educate children about the time when slavery was legal in the United States, that does not flinch from the tragic inequities of that period, but which nonetheless is not unremittingly bleak? A story that celebrates a person whose skill and artistry
Karen Witzler
Dave was a real person, an enslaved person, who escaped the annals of the anonymous by signing his name and sometimes lines of poetry to his balanced and beautiful glazed clay jars. Laban Carrick Hill's words and Bryan Collier's illustrations are lovely and bring to life the world of this famous folk potter and craftsman who lived his life as a slave in Edgefield , South Carolina.
I really enjoyed this book. The part that I liked the best was the end of the book where some of his original poems and messages were depicted, analyzed and explained. It was very interesting to know the reasoning behind some of his messages and what he was trying to tell people. I also really liked how the book explained how hard Dave had to work to create his pots. In this day and age, not a lot of younger children know that people had to make pots by hand and the amount of effort it took to p ...more
Loved this! Makes me want to learn more about Dave the Potter. This could also have been called "Dave the Poet" or "Dave the Artist" - although I just now noticed that the subtitle takes care of that! I've enjoyed other books illustrated by Bryan Collier, but I think this is my favorite so far. For kids to understand the act of throwing a pot on a potter's wheel, though, I think they would need to have seen it in person or at least a video of it. The extra author information at the end is vital. ...more
Adriana Villagomez
Have you ever had the passion to do something but had some obstacles put in front of you? In a time that didn't allow a person of color to learn special skills, Dave the Potter was one of the few slaves that were able to learn this special skill, however, none were quite as good as he. Dave the Potter is a Biography and Poem about a slave from South Carolina. He was one of the few slaves who knew how to make pottery. It is set in the point of view of the author. This story details how Dave made ...more
Kayla Davis
This book is about Dave, a slave, who works as a potter. While Dave’s primary tool, that is, the dirt, seems insignificant to others, it is extremely valuable to Dave and ultimately provides him a living as well as a means to create. The book details the laborious process Dave goes through in order to sculpt and craft a large jar, which exposes Dave’s deep connection to the pieces he foresees in his mind’s eye and then brings to life. Later, the audience discovers that Dave is also skilled in re ...more
Alyssa Wilger
Text-to-self: Throughout middle and high school, pottery was always my favorite part of art. There is something about molding and manipulating clay that make pottery very different from other art forms. Looking at the picture brings back wonderful memories of squishy cold clay between my fingers, the smooth wet clay on the wheel ready to be spun, and gooey dirty hands. While my feelings for pottery are not the same as Dave's, there is an understanding of appreciation as more the just dirt.
Nani Yanagi
Dave the Potter is about a real African American artist/potter named Dave who was a slave for most of his life during the 1800s. Dave was unlike any potter, for his passion and dedication all came from his experiences, emotions, and hopes. Pot making did not only mean storage for flowers and other objects, but for a season’s harvest and meat which held memories close to him. It was said that Dave would make a pot without effort or struggle. Carrying sixty pounds of clay and forming it into a bea ...more
Karen Hughes
The book, “Dave the Potter, Artist, Poet, Slave” by Laban Carrick Hill is a fascinating story about a man known only as Dave. Dave was an artist, a potter, and a poet. He was also a slave in South Carolina during the early to mid-1800. The vivid illustrations by Bryan Collier bring to life Dave’s story about hope.
I would begin this story by asking the students if they have hobbies that they enjoy and that they are really good at. Then I would want the students to tell me how they would feel if
Trey Stuthman
Dave the Potter is a brief story of the work Dave goes through to make his well-crafted pots. It explains how we see dirt while Dave sees clay; we see a pot for holding food, Dave sees a work of art he created.

Text-to-Self: When relating this book to myself, I relate to the perspective the author had while writing this book. Many times the author would make comparisons of how one person sees one thing while another person sees another thing. I typically live my life like this. Many times I will
This is the story of Dave: an artist, a poet and a slave. Dave was a potter and a poet about 200 years ago in South Carolina, despite being a slave. Dave loved clay and the book illustrates how he created a large pot and eventually wrote a short poem on it. At the back of the book there are facts about Dave and the clay pots that he made. In 2011, this book won the Correta Scott King award for the best illustration.
For text-to-self, I can relate to Dave and his love of pottery because when I wa
Kelsey Kalinski
This book is a biography is about a real man named Dave who was a slave and he enjoyed making pottery jars and putting poems on them. A child would be able to connect this book to themselves if they have a love of pottery, art, or writing. The book goes through the process that Dave went through when he made his jars so if a child has ever made pottery before they could connect it to a time when they used clay and the process they followed to make a jar or piece of pottery. I would connect this ...more
Araceli Aispuro
Dave the Potter is a story about an artist, poet, and slave. Dave was a very talented man who made pots for a living. This story takes place approximately two hundred years ago. He made pots for different uses such as storing grain, meat, and even memories. The story describes the process of how Dave made pots as he mixed water and clay, pinched and squeezed, kicking the potter's wheel, forming the shape of the pot and let it sit to dry. At the end before the pot dried, Dave wrote a quote left f ...more
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Riley Hoffart 1 5 Dec 07, 2011 03:39PM  
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