Peyton's Reviews > Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson
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's review
Jan 20, 12

bookshelves: history, juvenile, nonfiction
Read from January 19 to 20, 2012

A gorgeously rendered history of our nation, its scars, and many of its heroes, Heart and Soul belongs on every child's bookshelf. Nelson's Rockwell-esque paintings are a delight to study (my favorite is the cover illustration, which captures the full strength and delicacy of the book's title). The decision to adopt a fictional, grandmotherly voice for the book's narration may rattle some non-fiction purists, but the prose feels like it is being read to you by a loved one.

My only complaint of any substance is that the books ends with the Voting Rights Act and then the epilogue skips ahead almost fifty years to Barack Obama. There is a lot of African American history in the intervening years that would have been wonderful to include. However, Nelson addresses this fact in his author's note, stating that he chose the Civil Rights movement as an end-point out of length restraints. Perhaps we can expect a Heart and Soul, volume two to tell the stories between 1965 and 2008. I would gladly read it.

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