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The People Could Fly: The Picture Book

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“THE PEOPLE COULD FLY,” the title story in Virginia Hamilton’s prize-winning American Black folktale collection, is a fantasy tale of the slaves who possessed the ancient magic words that enabled them to literally fly away to freedom. And it is a moving tale of those who did not have the opportunity to “fly” away, who remained slaves with only their imaginations to set them free as they told and retold this tale.

Leo and Diane Dillon have created powerful new illustrations in full color for every page of this picture book presentation of Virginia Hamilton’s most beloved tale. The author’s original historical note as well as her previously unpublished notes are included.

Awards for The People Could Fly

A Coretta Scott King Award

A Booklist Children’s Editors’ Choice

A School Library Journal Best Books of the Year

A Horn Book Fanfare

An ALA Notable Book

An NCTE Teachers’ Choice

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books of the Year

32 pages, Hardcover

First published November 9, 2004

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About the author

Virginia Hamilton

93 books225 followers
Virginia Esther Hamilton was the author of forty-one works of fiction and nonfiction. She was the first Black writer awarded the Newbery Medal and the first children's writer to be named a MacArthur Fellow (the "Genius" grant). She also received the National Book Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal.

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5 stars
423 (55%)
4 stars
232 (30%)
3 stars
81 (10%)
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22 (2%)
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8 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 182 reviews
Profile Image for Michael.
815 reviews88 followers
August 6, 2016
Wow. Inspiring, heartbreaking, poetic, and intense. This is an amazing tale that by some act of neglect I had never heard before. It is beautifully told and illustrated in this edition. The references to eye-witnesses and how the story may or may not be true made it quite magical as a story/mythos.

The beauty of this story is that flying is being used as an analogy for many things: of escape from slavery, of hope, of the lost African traditions and culture, of second chances. The story manages to convey hope, resourcefulness, and pride - possibly the only things allowing enslaved people to survive - while at the same time acknowledging the unforgivable losses, and the heartbreak experienced even in the midst of victory. Truly poignant.

I didn't realize it beforehand, but the content is a bit much for a 5 year old - I'm thinking maybe 8 would be the youngest I would have wanted to read it. There are a lot of mentions of whipping slaves, and pictures of the whip, and of people who can barely stand up due to the hardships of slavery. I am not sure whether it was implied that some of them were dying as they were called up to fly, but it was definitely that intense.
Profile Image for Sara the Librarian.
774 reviews367 followers
January 22, 2021
Since the dawn of time I imagine every single parent who has ever lived has probably said at one time or another,

"There has never been a more difficult time to raise children in."

What are we meant to tell our children when they come to us with questions about police shooting unarmed black men and women in the streets, at their front doors or in their beds? When they want to understand something as huge and important as the Black Lives Matter movement? How do you take a topic like slavery that has reached its rotted roots so far down into the foundations of our country it infects practically every single part of its daily life and turn into something they can even begin to understand?

If you live in my house you usually begin the conversation with a book. First because its something tangible that you can hold in your hand and show them. Second because the right books find the words for you, guide you toward truths that you have in your heart but can't articulate. If you're very lucky the right words are married to images so profound in their beauty and execution that they elevate what you're reading to even greater heights of understanding for both you and your kids.

That's what this book does. It opened a door for my family last night when we read it at bedtime. By the time I was done reading I was almost singing the words, something that inspired my youngest to ask "why are you reading in an accent?"

Never say I don't use my Theater and Dramatic Literature degree folks.

This story is the title story in a book of African American folktales written by Virginia Hamilton in 1985. The original collection was showered in very much deserved awards and accolades and this particular story has acquired an almost mythic quality all on its own.

Its very, very easy to see why. It feels like something from the beginning of time. An ancient legend about Africans once gifted with the magic of flight who soared through the skies on beautiful black wings. Africans who lost those wings when they were packed into slave ships, sold and forced into lives of abject misery and oppression, but found them again in time to rise up and fly away from their masters to become beacons of hope for those without wings of their own.

You can imagine this story being told in whispers around cooking fires and in the desolate bunks in slave quarters, traded back and forth like a prayer. Something to dream of and for.

Leo and Diane Dillon who provided the original black and white illustrations that appeared in the collection have created simply epic paintings to accompany this edition. They're so rich and vibrant you just want to grab them up in your hands. There's an elegance to everything that really does suggest a kind of ancient nobility or even religious iconography. We stayed on each page even after I was done reading just to take it all in. They capture the joy of the flight from oppression and the horror of a life in slavery perfectly. There's an especially harrowing image of slaves trapped inside the hold of a ship where the fear and despair is so strong you almost have to force yourself not to look away.

The real gift here is the talk we had afterwards. We talked about what slavery has done to our country, how important stories like this are for everyone, why its important to learn the whole truth about our countries history, how important it is to recognize our privilege as white people, and maybe the most important thing, the need for us to take responsibility for the times when we engage in racist actions. That's a tough one to explain to kids and obviously it'll be an ongoing conversation since its something the husband and I are working on too and it never stops.

Its still hard. I struggle every day to balance telling my children how proud they make me, what good men I think they're growing up to be with the harder realities of what it means to be a white man in America. But books like this make it a little easier.

Gorgeous and powerful. A true literary treasure.

4 reviews
November 16, 2015
"The people could fly" is a folktale because it has all four parts it needs for it to be one. Its past from generation to generation:Yes because on "(page 67, lines 122-123) it clearly says:"They say who could not fly told about the people that could fly to their children."People cant fly so that is another part of a folktale which is super natural powers are icludeded.On (page 65, line 62) she is flying on the air with her wings. Thats not normal that people fly. Thirdly for it to be a folktale it has to iclude a lesson, what he wants the reader to learn is that theres always hope.On page(65, lines 58-59) it is showed. At last there has to be icluded traditions and culture.On (page 63) it says:"Says that long in Africa."That means the protagonists are from Africa. Also were it says:"Many of the people were captured for slavery."On (page 63, line 6) it is stated.This means they are Africans during slavery time in the U.S. For me it was a well made book that tried to tell to the people that everything is possible. I do recommend this book for those who enjoy reading folktales.

A Wolf and Little Daughter

1st Draft:
"A Wolf and Little Daughter" to ok place in Little Daughters house and the forestal. Papa, who lives with Little Daughter, told her not to go outside in the forest alone because there was a Wolf that could kill her, bit Little Daughter didnt followed Papa's instructions. When Little Daughter was picking un flowers in the forest she san the Wolf who was getting closer and closer. The Wolf asked Little Daughter to sing the song she was singing before while she was picking up the flowers. He told her to sing the song again and again and then when Little Daughter Pit-a-pat away from the Wolf she shut the door when the wolf was comino behind her.

The folktale that I got is "A Wolf and Little Daughter" and it is a folktale because it has all the four elements for it to be one. First of all it has supernatural powers, when the wolf says:"sing that sweetest song," he is talking and that is supernatural. Also folktales are past from generation to generation. In the first page were it says Authors Study the author says that these story's were just told and that she found them in old manuscripts. Thirdly it tells a lesson. Yes it does when it says :"Papa
didn’t want Little Daughter to run in the forest," where there were wolves.
on the first paragraph of the first page. The lesson is that you can never be alone and have to obey orders. At last it includes culture and traditions but you can only infer that from the illustrations because it is not stated in the text.

August 19, 2016
This is a picture book edition of a single story from Virginia Hamilton’s collection The People Could Fly: American Black Folk Tales. The narrative of this folktale is in the tradition of oral storytelling, lyrical and moving. Prior to capture into slavery, some Africans had the magical power of flight. During the grim trip to America, and under the harsh conditions of slavery, many Africans had forgotten the magic. Toby and Sarah still knew the magic, and as their treatment worsens, they attempt to recapture the magic of flight.

Scholastic.com lists this book as grade-level equivalent 3.5. An audio cd version is available for Hamiltons’ larger story collection. There are numerous opportunities for classroom use. For example, students can explore the transformation of characters in a story. Initially, flight was a magical and joyous power that some Africans held. Students examine how and why they lost the magic, cause and effect, and how the ability to fly takes on a different kind of importance. This text would also serve to introduce the topic of slavery. A genre study of folktales, and cross-cultural comparisons are examples for other classroom use.

Similar texts exploring African folktales include Nelson Mandela's Favorite African Folktales (ISBN: 0393329909) and Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions (ISBN: 0140546049).

This reviewer did not detect objectionable material. Culturally, this story is a based upon a common African folktale theme of the ability to fly. The author notes that flight might be a ‘wish-fullfilment motif’ (n. pag.) based upon the desire to escape cruel circumstances.
Profile Image for Amanda.
840 reviews343 followers
July 5, 2020
I loved the illustrations, which fleshed out the narrative. The story itself was so heartbreaking, but also perhaps a great way to introduce children to the concept of slavery. I’d be interested in reading the rest of Hamilton’s folk tales, especially since they, too, are illustrated by the Dillons.
Profile Image for Maria Garcia.
6 reviews
October 30, 2015
I really recommend this book, it is really interesting and it keeps you wanting more and more. “The People Could Fly” is a folktale about Africans knowing about magic and being able to fly. This folktale tells how Africans were brought to America and mistreated to the point where they died because of the hard work or escaped from their misery. It also talks about how the slave forgot how to “fly” when they were brought to America. The people that could fly now slaves that could fly were able to fly away from their misery thanks to Toby’s magic word, but the slaves that couldn't fly had to stay.
A folktale is a story that has no author and has passed from generation to generation. A folktale also has to have a lesson or explain how or why something happened, it has to have something super natural, and come from an specific culture. On “The People Could Fly” we can find evidence of this story being passed from generation to generation on page 67 line 122-123, “They say the children of the once who could not fly told their children. And now, me, I have told you.” We can find evidence of this folktale being from the African American slave culture in page 64 line 6 and lines 10-11, “Then many people were capture for slavery.” “The folks were full of misery, then got sick with the up and down of the sea.” This. gives us evidence because we know Africans were brought to America to be slaves. On page 64 line 23-30 there is also evidence of African American slave culture, “The slaves labored in the filed from sunup to sundown…” with prayer knowledge we know that Africans Americans slave had to work a lot. This story has a lot of super natural things but one of them is people flying. The evidence of the people flying is on page 63 line 1, “They say people could fly.” Also there is evidence in page 65 line 61, “The young women lifted one foot in the air then the other.” In page 66 line 108-109 and line 106 there is also evidence of African American slave culture, “The old and young who were called slaves and could fly joined hands.” “And the old man, old Toby flew behind him”. So the last part of a folktale that we are missing is the lesson or explanation. This folktale doesn’t have a lesson but it has an explication of how African Americans slaves escaped and or died, the evidence is in the whole book. In pages 64,65 and 66, it explains how slaves were mistreated which caused them to escape, or caused them the death.
6 reviews
November 14, 2015
"People could Fly" is a folktale, because it has the 4 things that makes it up; no author, having super powers, had a lesson or a message, and is based on a culture. No author; you may get confused in this one, because in the book it says folktale by.... but the thing is that she re-wrote the story as an folktale. Having super powers; the title itself says is. The super power was flying which was stated on pg. 65 line 21. Had a lesson/ message; if you believe in yourself anything can be possible; they had hope that they could fly and had their freedom. Based on a culture; in the first page it says that is written of african-american culture, which we know because on pg. 1, line 10 talks about africans as slaves. My opinion about this book, is that if you like tough story and super natural powers you may like the book, but I don't like neither of them, that why a rated it as 3 stars. In the other hand I liked the story because of the lesson; believe in yourself.

-Maria Carolina Prida 7A
Profile Image for Ivonne Rovira.
1,942 reviews200 followers
July 26, 2021
This spellbinding picture began with one of the tales in the late, great Virginia Hamilton’s 1985 collection of American Black folktales. This picture book was intended as a memorial to Hamilton, winner of both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, and what a fine one it is! Illustrator Janet Schulman breathes life into this story, in which one old man enchants slave after slave so that they can fly to freedom, leaving the enslaver and his overseer sputtering. A delight for children and adults alike.
Profile Image for Ms. Nina.
67 reviews3 followers
November 16, 2015
"The People Could Fly" is, hands down, my favorite folktale. Virginia Hamilton did a wonderful job recording such an important story and in the African American dialect. Even though Hamilton is the author, "The People Could Fly" is actually a folktale, because it meets the four requirements of a folktale. Firstly, folktales don’t have one specific author, because they have been passed down from generation to generation through storytelling. We know The People Could Fly is a folktale, because the background states: “[T]hese people nurtured a strong sense of tradition, passing stories from generation to generation” (p. 63). Secondly, folktales focus on the traditions or beliefs of one specific culture. This folktale focuses on the African-American culture during slavery in the United States. This is evident in the exposition when the narrator says, “Then, many of the people were captured for Slavery” (p. 63, line 6). Thirdly, folktales feature supernatural powers in some way. In The People Could Fly, some of the slaves could, in fact, fly once Toby spoke the magic words. For example, the narrator describes Sarah flying: “The young woman lifted one foot on the air. Then the other. She flew clumsily at first…” (p. 65, line 61). Finally, folktales teach a lesson or explain why the world is the way it is. The People Could Fly is a sad story that offered hope to slaves and reminded them not to forget that they were special and human, even though they were being treated brutally. It explained a sad reality, but it taught the lesson of hope. I highly recommend this story to everyone!
Profile Image for Guille.
4 reviews1 follower
Want to read
October 30, 2015
For me, I really loved this story. Why? Well, after I read this folktale, it taught a lesson that means a lot. It taught that even though you are going through the worst conditions, always have hope.
As we have seen, the story “The People Could Fly” is a folktale, due to the fact that it meets all the requirements it must contain to be a folktale. First of all, a folktale needs to be passed from generation to generation, like your grandparents told it to your parents and your parents told it to you. In this story it clearly states it when the story mentions: “They say that the children that could not fly told their children.” (pg. 67, lines 122-123). A well developed folktale must always include supernatural powers. A useful example would be as the story follows: “And they flew like blackbirds over the fields.” (pg. 63, lines 3-4). A folktale should have a theme, or it could also explain why things are the way they are. In the story, it says: “Then, many people were captured for slavery.” (pg. 63, line 6). It explains that black people were forced to slavery. Last, but not least, a good folktale must always focus on one specific culture. In this story, it’s Africa: “Say that long ago in Africa, where some of the people knew magic.” (pg. 63, lines 2-3). After reviewing the story “The People Could Fly”, it is definitely a folktale.
I would definitely recommend this book so that other people can learn what I learned.

Guillermo Alba
7 reviews
October 29, 2015
I really liked "The People Could fly" because it teaches you a great lesson about equality and slavery. It is my favorite folktale yet! “The People Could fly” is a folktale because it has the four requirements that are needed in order for it to be a folktale.“The People Could Fly” is a story passed on from generation to generation. “They say that the children of the ones who could not fly told their children’s. And now I have told you” (pg.67, lines 22-23). This sentence shows us that it has been passed down and is retelling a story that happened a long time ago. “The People could fly” is based on a specific culture, African American. “Many of the people were captured for slavery" (pg.63, line 6). This book also includes supernatural features. “She flew clumsily at first, with the child now held tightly in her arms (pg.65, line 62). This is supernatural because in real life people cannot fly. Most importantly, this story teaches you a lesson. The whole story teaches you “Why some slaves escaped” (pg.64, 65, and 66). In these pages it explains that the people were mistreated and hurt, so they escaped. This folktale is just amazing! Even though it is very sad, it gave slaves hope and confidence to fight, and to not forget that they were still humans and had the right to be treated the same as everybody else. I recommend this story to everybody!
4 reviews1 follower
November 20, 2015
"A Wolf and Little Daughter" is an African-American folktale. The story is about a little girl who lived with her father on a forest. Her father told her to stay inside the fence that sorrounded the house because there were wolves outside.One day her father went out and little daughter went out the gate to pick some flowers, and she saw a big wolf. The wolf made the little girl sing for him because he liked the way it sounded. Everytime little daughter moved, the wolf followed her. Everytime the big wolf came he told her to sing again and again. So finally little daughter slips in the fence and shuts the gate, and then she was safe from the big bad wolf.

This story is a folktale because it shows all 4 requitements. It has supernatural powers.In this story it is the ability of animals to talk; for example "The wolf said to her in a low, gruff voice,said "Sing that sweetest, goodest song again"pg 61. It has an African-American culture "In this tale African sayings, words, or patter phrases survive"pg 64. It has no specific author: "The child-and-animal combination goes back to times when the slave was made the story teller to the slave owner's children"pg 64. You have to listen to what you're parents say is the evidence of the theme of this story.
8 reviews
October 30, 2015
I really think this folktale was awesome! In The People could Fly, you can tell is a folktale because… Firstly, humans could fly, they show supernatural powers. ”’Yes, Daughter, the time is come’ Toby answered. ‘Go, as you know how to go!’ He raised his arms, holding them out to her. ‘Kum… yali, kum buba tambe.” (pg. 65, lines 56-59). Secondly, the folktale has had been told through generations. “They say that the children of the ones who could not fly told their children. And now, me, I have told it to you.” (Pg. 67, lines 122-123). Thirdly is originally a folktale from Africa, which makes it original from one culture. “They say the people could fly. Say that long ago in Africa, some of the people knew magic.”(Pg. 63, lines 1-2). Finally, it teaches us a lesson. About the important thing in life, what you can do in your life when you have hope. “And the old man, old Toby, flew behind them, takin’ care of them. He wasn’t cryin’. He wasn’t laughin’. He was the seer.” (Pg. 66, lines 106-107). The People could Fly is a folktale, because it has all elements in a story. I recommended this folktale to all of the people that like stories and folktales like this one.
7 reviews
October 29, 2015
“The People Could Fly” is a folktale because it has all four elements of a folktale. It includes super natural abilities,like for example in the story it says “ Sarah flew clumsily at first” meaning that a person could fly which is unrealistic (pg.65 line 62). It has a theme or a lesson learned that is that “People who believe or have magic can fly” meaning that if you believe in yourself you can accomplish anything in life (mainly the whole story). Another element of a folktale is an specific culture. This story has a specific one which is the African American culture ( Shown on pg.63 on the background) It says “Between the 1600s and 1800s, millions of Africans were taken forcibly to the Americas as enslaved people”. The last element of a folktale is that is has no author. Mainly in the book it says it is written by a certain person, but she just re wrote the story (pg.63). I would recommend this story to people, because they should think about themselves as these african american people. They showed that if they believed on anything they could fly, and that is what people should do,fly.
Profile Image for Christen.
479 reviews
August 11, 2011
My spine tingles every time I read the title. Tales of humans who can fly appear in many cultures and has an instant effect on the human psyche. In Virginia Hamilton’s most anthologized folktale based on a black lore motif, she tells of Africans who knew magic – who could fly. But they were enslaved and forgot their magic when they were brought to America. When the slaves begin to fall under their oppressors, old Toby whispers the magic words and they soar away. With a power, musical voice Hamilton tells the story as a “perhaps” with the refrain of “say she could….” Each sentence weighs a ton, with strong images that make the story visible even without the stunning, stylized illustrations provided by the Dillons. The artwork, however, cannot be overlooked. It emotes strongly through color, shadow and lines. Vertical lines uplift, while horizontal reveal suffering, anger and stasis. As a Coretta Scott King Honor Book and the winner of the New York Times Book Review for best illustrations, this folktale is a must for library collections.
5 reviews
October 29, 2015
The People Could Fly is a folktale because it has a specific culture, a lesson, it has supernatural powers and it is passed from generation to generation. This four things are all the requirements a folktale needs. The People Could Fly's culture is African American "The slaves labored in the field from sunup to sundown..." (p.63, line 6,10-11). The lesson is hope because the slaves believed that they will save themselves with the magic words that says Toby "Kum . . . yali, kum buba tambe" (p.75, line 78-79). This folktale is all about supernatural powers even the title says it "The People Could Fly." Last but not least this folktale is passed from generation to generation "They say that the children of the ones who couldn't fly told their children and now, me, I have told it to you" (p.67, line 122-123). For me this folktale is a very sad one because in part is true, what happened in this folktale happened when in the USA there was slavery. The way that Ms.Nina read it (dramatical reading) was a fun way and creative one, I really liked it. 100% I recommend this story or folktale.
6 reviews
October 30, 2015
The folktale “The people could fly” was an interesting yet exiting story of having hope even in the hardest situations, because there is always someone that can help you out of a difficult situation. I would totally recommend this emotive folktale of hope beyond struggles. As I read through this story I realized it was a folktale as I found that it has the four elements of a folktale. First it does not have a specific author because it says “They say that the children of the ones who could not fly told their children. And now, me, I’m telling you (Page 67, lines 122 &123). We can also see that it’s based on the traditions and beliefs of African American slaves in the United States as it states that “African Americans were taken forcibly to the Americas as enslaved people” (Page 63, Background). Next we can clearly see how it includes a super natural power, it says that “They flew like blackbirds over the fields” (Page 63, line 3). Finally we can identify the theme of “Having hope in the most difficult situations” (Page 67, Collaborative Discussion).
6 reviews
November 3, 2015
The People Could Fly is a very good folktale. It included every need for it to be a folktale. In page 64 (line 22) we can see that it proves to have a lesson: "She trembled to be so hard worker and scorned." Folktales are important to have a lesson, by passing it from generation to generation, we need to have a lesson or a moral that will give something to the child receiving the story. By the other hand, including supernatural powers
is an optional matter in my opinion. This story includes it anyways. You can look right at the evidence in page 63 (lines 3-4): "And they flew like black birds on the fields." It is somehow important to have something supernatural going on... little kids find it interesting, and I think that kids won't get information from a story fulfilled with just words. Last but not least, the focus on a specific culture, in this case, Africa. For evidence, we can look at page 63 (lines 1-2) where it clearly states: "Say that long ago in AFRICA, where some of the people knew magic..."
Profile Image for Jennifer (JenIsNotaBookSnob).
982 reviews12 followers
September 17, 2016
This was one of the stories from the list "1001 children's book to read before you grow up". If you are accustomed to more traditional sentence structure, you're going to find this book difficult to read correctly. A lot of sentences in the book start with the word "Say" and just feel awkward to read.

If you try it and find it awkward, I would suggest listening to the performance of the book by James Earl Jones instead while following along with the book. I just couldn't read it without correcting the grammar and then it loses all of the magic. Seriously, just listen to James Earl Jones read it.

Most books you can just read. But, just reading this one takes away a lot from it. This one needs to be performed. I'm not saying that because it is African Folk tales either. There are several things like that. Some of Mark Twain's short stories also really are better performed rather than just read.

My rating is 4.5 stars listening to James Earl Jones read it and 3 stars trying to read it out loud yourself. So glad this came with the recording.
6 reviews
October 29, 2015
There are four characteristics that are needed for a story to be a folktale. People could fly has them all. The first one is that it has no specific author in page 63 the background information it specified that the story or Folktale has been passed from generation to generation and then written down by Virginia Hamilton. The second characteristic is that it needs to be based on beliefs and traditions of a culture in this case it is based on beliefs and traditions of African-Americans you can prove this on page 63, background.

The third characteristic is that the story or folktale has to have a supernatural thing going on. Some of the slaves have supernatural powers because they can fly and what made them fly was magic coming from an old man. The fourth characteristic is that it needs to explain the world or show lesson. People could fly explains slavery and how the slaves escaped. In conclusion the people could fly is not only a story it is a folktale amazing Folktale in my opinion.
7 reviews
October 29, 2015
The People Could Fly is a folktale because it has the four elements a folktale needs to be a folktale. It has no specific author: this story has been passed from generation to generation in African culture (Page 67, lines 122-123). Its based on beliefs and traditions of a specific culture: this folktale is based on the beliefs of African American people during slavery time (Page 63, lines 1-2). It includes a supernatural power: Toby has a supernatural power that can make people fly with his magic words (Page 65, lines 58-59; Page 66, lines 78-90). And finally, it includes a theme which is: Even though you are in a harsh situation, there would always be a way for you to get out from it (Page 66, lines 104-105). I liked this folktale because it captured my attention and made me feel as if I was actually in the folktale. I totally recommend you to read this folktale; for me, the idea that people could fly is awesome!!!
October 30, 2015
The folkatale people could fly has the 4 elements for a folktale to be a real complete folktale. At first It doesn't have a specific author because in page 63 in the background it says that she heard it from African American. Then the next element in a folktale is that the folktale needs to have a Supernatural Power and the Supernatural power in this folktale is that the people could fly it says it on page 65 in line 61. Afterwards the third element is that the folktale needs to have a theme and the theme in this folktale is that there is always a time for everything and you just need to wait for the right time. Hope. I found this evidence in page 64 in line 43-44. At last the final element is that it needed to teach a lesson and the lesson of this folktale is that it told you how were african american people were treated as slaves I found this information in page 63 background.
3 reviews
October 30, 2015
The story The People Could Fly written by Virginia Hamilton was passed down from generation to generation, as said on page 63 of the book Collections. This folktale taught me that there is always hope to be had. It talks about African American history because the story explains how Africans came to be in America. This folktale said that apparently in Africa people had magic and they even brought magic with them to colonial land. This magic allowed them to fly or grow wings. This story was mean to teach African Americans about their history and slaves about hope. It did a great job of entertaining, perhaps not a 5/5 but a 4/5. You should buy this book if you like supernatural stories and folktales.
5 reviews1 follower
October 30, 2015
The story: “People Can Fly” is a folktale because, it has supernatural actions and characters. In pg. 65 and in the line 62 of the text it says, “She flew clumsily in the air,” which states that the story has supernatural stuff. Also in pg. 67 and in lines 122-123 it says: “They say…. it to you,” which proves the text was passed from generation to generation. In pg. 4 it has a lesson to be learned and is the reason why some slaves escaped hope. In pg.63 and in line 6 it says: “Many of the people were captured for slavery” and that proves that the story had a specific culture which is African American slaves. All of that are the elements a folktale should have. It has a great imaginary factors and a great message!
3 reviews
November 1, 2015
"The People Could Fly" was an interesting story of african culture. This story is a folktale. We can differ this story from other stories to be a folktale because it has the four basic elements a story needs to be a folktale. Folktales are identified because they have no specific author, they are passed from generation to generation, has involved supernatural features and needs to have a lesson or a theme. For example in the story … in page 63 in background it says “… strong sense of tradition passing it to generation to generation.” In the same story there is an example of culture where in page 63, line in background it states “ African-American slaves in U.S…” and it's theme, which can be identified, is that there is a time for everything you need to jut be patient.
November 16, 2015
Applying the elements of a folktale to The People Could Fly

The first element that I will put is: it is passed from generation to generation.It is passed from generation to generation
Because it doesn't have a specific author, and also it is passed from family to family. 2nd to last element is: it is from a specific culture. It is only from Africa and it is not from another country. To my 3rd element it is: it teaches a lesson, in my opinion it teaches that no one have the right to punish another people (or make them slaves). The last element is that it have supernatural powers, there are supernatural powers, because people can not fly; and in the folktale when the african people are slaves they started to fly to freedom.

4 reviews
October 30, 2015
Why The People Could Fly is a folktale

The People Could fly is a folktale, because 1 it doesn't have an specific author like it states on page 67 last paragraph they say that the children of the ones who could not fly told their children. And now, me, I have told it to you, 2 Supernatural features in page 65 3 paragraph it says the young woman lifted one foot on the air. Then the other. She flew clumsily at first,
3 theme theres time for everything, fourth and last reason is culture it comes from african culture which is african because on page 63 first sentence it says say that long ago in africa.
April 16, 2009
Really interesting book. The forward said in the original stories the people within were not given names so the author gave them names. In Of Mice and Men Curley’s wife was also without a name and if I remember correctly it was so she could be any person and not having a name also demeaned her because she was not worthy of having a even name.

I think this story was supposed to be uplifting but it made me sad.

(In Saudi Arabia there are also stories of people that can fly.)

2 reviews1 follower
November 1, 2015
"People Could Fly" is a folktale becouse
of 4 elements: has no author(biography),
has magic(the tittle of the book, "People could fly"), is based on a culture(in this
case is African), and last has a lesson or message, which is "Always have hope in everything you do" and "Always believe".

"People Could Fly" is a really inspiring
folktale, at least to me becouse it shows
that no matter how many obstacles life
puts you with hope you can achieve
anything you just got to believe in
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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