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3.94  ·  Rating details ·  467 ratings  ·  134 reviews
Coretta Scott King Award-winning illustrator Bryan Collier discovers the vibrant world of Harlem, New York, as seen through the eyes of a little boy

"Uptown . . .
Harlem, New York.
Chicken and waffles.

Uptown is a rich mix of flavors, colors, sounds, and cultures that come together to create a vibrant community like no other in the world. Seen through the eyes of
Paperback, 32 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Square Fish (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  467 ratings  ·  134 reviews

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L13 Tracy Beling
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this 2001 Coretta Scott King winner. This is a story told by a young boy from Harlem who describes various aspects of the city that make Harlem his home. He points out landmarks, activities, and makes other observations that he loves about his community. The author uses minimal, but beautiful figurative language to enable the reader to feel what it's like to be in Harlem. The pictures are bold and colorful done in a collage style.

This is an excellent book to read
Nov 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a reader, I enjoyed reading this book. The illustrations were very well done. The illustrator used very colorful collages that easily caught the eye. The author also did a good job portraying the true essence of Harlem. Through all of his descriptions, the reader really could feel what it was like to grow up in Harlem when the narrator did.

As a teacher, I would definitely use this book in my classroom if I taught younger grades. The language is very simple and easy to understand. The
Luisa Knight
2.5 stars

Ages: 5 - 9

**Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.
Michelle Matash
I really enjoyed this book. It is about a boy who compares his town to everything around him. Every sentence used in the book is a metaphor. It does a lot of comparing and uses his imagination to describe things. He descibes the brownstone building as "they look like they are made of chocolate". I think through this the reader is able to see how he interprets his town and what his town means to him.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Harlem is home. The young boy takes the reader on a tour.
Illustrations are brilliant.
Nashwa M.
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Uptown is the first of Bryan Collier’s vibrant books to receive the 2001 Coretta Scott King Award. I found this book displayed at my local library and grabbed it along with a few others. The book immediately attracted me because of its urban city feel and setting. It is set in Uptown New York City, Harlem, and it is narrated by a young boy about the age of 12. His name is never mentioned in this book.

I really enjoyed reading and viewing the collage-style illustrations in Uptown because the main,
Michelle Nguyen
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bryan Collier's "Uptown" is a story of a boy describing his home in vibrant and loving terms. In addition to the expressive illustrations, the colors and positioning of the text further contributes to the story's purpose. With every turn of the page, there is a new reason why "Uptown" is home to a young boy growing up in Harlem. From the food, specifically chicken and waffles, to the specific locations, such as the barbershop and the Apollo theater, every single detail of Harlem is important to ...more
Samantha Hale
Oct 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cl-award-winning
Original Summary: The story is told from the point of view of a little boy that lives in Harlem. He tells the readers about what Harlem looks like, sounds like, tastes like, and feels like. He explains that this is his home and his world, and describes the things he feels represent Harlem.

Original Review: I personally enjoyed this book very much. I like that the book portrays this area is being so vibrant and upbeat. I love the illustrations that go with everything that is told in the story
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
A child shows us his hometown of Harlem
Kayla Davis
This book pays homage to the city of Harlem and all of its many wonders. Each page starts with the words “Uptown is” but rather than use adjectives to describe Harlem, author, Bryan Collier, uses nouns, which helps personify Harlem as something that exists and is alive. The illustrations in the book are creative and abstract, and come together in a sort of collage. Some parts are painted, other parts are appear to be real photographs, some appear to be cut outs from magazines or newspapers, and ...more
Shayla Ware
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uptown is a picture book written by Bryan Collier. Bryan Collier won the Coretta Scott King award for illustration and the Ezra Jack Keats award for new talent. The age rang for this book is four to eight it is a easy reader so kindergartners can read it with help and fourth graders will still be into the book. Uptown is about a young African American boy that tells his story about what Harlem is to him. He paints a beautiful picture of his town and makes you want to visit it for yourself. ...more
Marta Buryan
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I really, really, really liked this book. First of all, it impressed me with the very personal, subjective description of Uptown. While reading, I felt as if the Boy took me to his secret, beloved place on Earth to show me what makes it so special. I liked the fact that the Boy presented a variety of things characteristic of Harlem - Jazz, basketball, vibrant market, girls wearing yellow dresses and even the chocolate-like buildings. All these details brought a very vivid image of Harlem to my ...more
Anna Laskownicka
Apr 15, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
'Uptown' amazingly depicts the climate of living in Harlem, the way the streets sound, what they look like, and what is everyday life of people composed of.

I really appreciate the hard work Bryan Collier put into the creation of this book. The collage technique is not as easy as many people think, therefore I can imagine that making all the illustrations by the use of different materials must be time-consuming, especially when one doesn't want it to look randomly.

Nevertheless, what I
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit, 2017
I hope a copy of this is in every public library. Though written a decade and a half ago, Collier's gorgeous collage-driven artwork tells the story of contemporary Harlem through the eyes of a joyful young boy who lives there. "Uptown" does a wonderful job of introducing the reader to one of the most notable black communities in the US, and drives a narrative that is charming, upbeat, and beautiful.

As we continue to struggle with inclusion in this country, books like Collier's do the vital work
Tess Upchurch
Apr 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Uptown follows a young African American boy on a tour through Harlem (or Uptown as the boy calls it). Throughout his tour he explains what Uptown looks, sounds, tastes, and feels like. The boy concludes by explaining that Uptown is Harlem, and Harlem is home.

I loved the illustrations in this book. They were vibrant and colorful; reflecting the joyful and happy
feelings that the young boy associates the city. The illustrations are done through a mixture of watercolors and collage. I felt that
Kathleen Creevy
Uptown is a story about a little boy from Harlem or ‘uptown’ New York City. In the book, the boy describes all the things that he loves about Harlem. He specifically describes the parts of his community that are important to him. For example, he talks about his favorite stores, the local train station, and even tells readers about his favorite foods of his community. Through his description of Duke Ellington music floating through town and the classic barbershop conversations readers experience ...more
Elizabeth Leiner
Oct 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As a reader, I really enjoyed this book. I loved the illustrations. They drew my attention into the book and made me want to keep flipping pages to see what would be next. I also like the simplicity of the story. Each page had very short and concise text, but it let you know exactly what the author thought or felt.
As a teacher, I would definitely have this book in my classroom. This would be good to use in the primary grades when discusses people from different cultures. Being from Alabama, I
L11_Nick Mamula
Mar 02, 2011 rated it liked it
An amazing picture book that sets out to capture the essence of America during the Harlem Renaissance. Focusing on the every day life of a boy and how he experiences the world around him during that time period. The medium of collage art in addition to some powerful illustrations, Collier does an excellent job of capturing the mood within each aspect of the culture.

As a teacher, I will look to use this book as a supplementary tool to help teach the Harlem Renassaince and the importance of the
What a testament to Harlem!

This simple book shows the pride a boy has in his home, Harlem. The language is vibrant, the art is amazing! Collages on top of photographs, I found this a wonderful picture book to read. The reader can easily relate to the different settings the boy shares about uptown, his home.

The barber shop, the basketball courts, chicken and waffles, jazz, The Apollo, etc.

This book works well paired with Walter Dean Myers and Christopher Myers's Harlem.
I was surprised that
RLL22018_ Delashay
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uptown is a reflection of a young boys take on his neighborhood. He discusses the buildings, business and people, along with their importance. The authors tone is easily understood, and the writing has a rhythm feel to it. The illustration is a bit soft, with lots of earth tone colors.

I would use this book as a social study tool. I would have the children create a map of their neighborhood. I could create a lesson plan on this book for grades k-5 , but children grades 2nd-3rd could easily read
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was ok
Uptown is a story about the part of town that a little boy lives in. The story is describing the different places of town as well as the things that happen in the town on different days. Bryan Collier uses the collage style of illustrations. I am not a huge fan of the collage style of illlustrations as I feel it sometimes takes away from the focus of the story. I do not think that the illustrations alone could tell the story of the book which is the definition of a great picture book in my ...more
Deyanira Genao
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
Both written and illustrated by Bryan Collier, Uptown takes audiences on a tour of the northern Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem. Written from a first person point of view, the narrator, a young boy, describes what “Uptown” means to him by visiting the most important locations in his neighborhood. Intertwined with each location is some reference to people socializing and interacting or to important historical background information. Collier’s short, but thoughtful descriptions of each location ...more
Nov 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My five-year-old son picked this book out from the library this week. This was the first book of his library haul that he wanted to read.

I loved this book. The text is electric -- it sparks and vibrates with life, and yet it is at times as comfortable as a hug. But was really makes this book sing is the outstanding artwork, and I'm not just saying that because of the brownstone like chocolate. Although the brownstone like chocolate does help sway my opinion.

This is just an overall brilliant,
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Henry Holt and co.
Date: 2000
Genre: Culture/Music
Strength: Gives a different view of Harlem told by a boy who sees it all and is captivated by all of it. The illustrations are unique because they are a variety of picture collages and painting. This story shows the good of the city and the rough side of the city. It shows what the boy sees every day and beautifully tells how he loves his city.
Interest: The illustrations are unique and colorful. I loved seeing
Dec 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Uptown takes place in Harlem, New York the story of a little boy sharing Harlem through his lens making connections between the Metro North train to a catepillar or the brownstone apartments on the street to a chocoalte bar. The illustration of the book has bold color choices that were brought out by watercolors with amazing pictures of the New York streets. This a would be a good book to read to your students to show them how different parts of the world may look I know when read the book for ...more
Lillian Collier
Bryan Collier's beautiful illustrations combine collage and paintings. This text may inspire students to write about their own cities or homes in narrative or poem form, and illustrate their writing with similar combinations of photographs, collaged pictures or construction paper, and drawings. I love how the poem is written from a fresh perspective, though writing about home, a place known so well. This is a great example of looking at the world through a poetic lense, of oticing the details ...more
John Sullivan
Uptown is a story about a boy living in Harlem. Using the same style as he did in Rosa, Bryan Collier combines watercolor painting with collage techniques to create nice, textured images. Collier uses real pictures, of a basketball court, of photographs, city streets, and other images to go along with his watercolor artwork. I enjoyed this book, but felt the text tried a bit too hard to be artsy and poetic. Despite this, I would still incorporate this into my classroom through a read-aloud, ...more
Klaudia Maniakowska
Apr 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
“Uptown” by Bryan Collier is a brilliantly illustrated picture book narrated by a black boy who introduces the readers into the world of his home: Harlem. The author created amazing collages from some photographs, magazines, wallpapers in order to convey the spirit of New York’s Uptown. Collier did a marvelous job through his composition: the assemblage of different forms and textures gives the readers a sense of place, where one may found the accumulation of different colors, sounds, and ...more
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Kindergarten - Grade 3
Shelves: edes-546
Award Winner: Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award

A young boy shows his love for his home, "Uptown", which is Harlem. He travels through his city, commenting on all that he sees. The highlights of Harlem are mentioned by the young narrator, such as Apollo Theatre, 125th St., and the city's brownstones.

The illustrations in Collier's book are amazingly produced using fabrics, watercolours, and paper pieces. The young boy's love for his community is evident as you read through the story.
Jan 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"Uptown is jazz. My grandfather says, 'Jazz and Harlem are a perfect match - just like chicken and waffles.'"

What a beautiful love song to Harlem. Collier shows his young audiences that Harlem isn't just a cultural treasure for New York City and for our country, but it's also a happening place to live.

I had the privilege of hearing Collier read this book aloud recently and immediately knew I needed to own it.

Read my review on my blog.
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Bryan Collier grew up in Pocomoke City, Maryland where he began painting at the age of 15. He has won numerous awards including the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustration, the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, and the Caldecott Honor. He lives in Harlem, New York.
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