Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans

Nelson, Kadir. Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans. 2011. 108pp. Lexile 1050

Magnificent paintings on full pages and double-page spreads fill this overview of African-American history.  Nelson narrates his story, from the role of blacks in Colonial America to the election of President Obama, using the voice of an old woman who recalls her grandfather’s life, that of her parents, and her own.  Slavery, the Civil War, Westward expansion, the Great Migration, the world wars, and the civil rights movements are covered, along with important figures such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, and Martin Luther King, Jr.  Nelson’s talents as artist and writer serve his audience beautifully here.  Back matter includes a timeline, bibliography, and index.

Reading Std #4: Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including technical, connotative, and figurative meanings; analyze role of specific word choices.  Consider the conversational fictional narrator of this otherwise informational text.  Analyze phrases like “touched in the head” and “painted the town red,” and how the informal tone affects the impact of the text.  Specifically note references to Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.