Books by Angela Shelf Medearis

SEVEN SPOOLS OF THREAD by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: Nov. 1, 2000

"A fine choice for a Kwanzaa gift, and a first choice for most school and public-library collections. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Any family with seven sons must hear plenty of bickering, but the seven Ashanti brothers in this family quarrel from dawn to dusk and into the night. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

"Facts and names come fast, without extensive context; this is not the author's best biography, but it perfectly illustrates the power of the written word to make changes in a society. (index, not seen, b&w photos, chronology, notes, further reading) (Biography. 7-10)"
This entry in the Rainbow Biography series tells the story of Ida B. Wells, born in 1862, who was the oldest of seven children, and took over the responsibility of her family at age 14, when her parents died of yellow fever. Read full book review >
RUM-A-TUM-TUM by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: April 15, 1997

"Exhilarating. (Picture book. 5-9)"
As captivated by African-American street calls as Alan Schroeder was in Carolina Shout! (1995), Medearis (Haunts, 1996, etc.) offers readers an eye-filling, ear-filling tour of Market Street in New Orleans. Read full book review >
HAUNTS by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: Dec. 15, 1996

"Warn all but intrepid readers not to start on this collection after sundown. (Short stories. 10-12)"
Medearis (Treemonisha, 1995, etc.) makes careful additions to five goosebump-raising tales, which are all either set in rural Texas or have a Southern flavor: A widow's moldering husband rises again for one "Last Dance at the Dew Drop Inn"; with the help of a mysterious dog, Lilly rescues her brother Freeson from the weirdly compelling "Fiddler Man"; an encounter with a headless horseman leaves two sisters "Scared Silly"; and a drought-stricken small town gets more water than it bargains for from "The Rainmaker." Read full book review >
TOO MUCH TALK by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Laugh with it or laugh at it—it's a great little book. (Picture book. 3+)"
A West African tale, carefully sourced, about a farmer whose yam and then dog talk to him. Read full book review >
THE FREEDOM RIDDLE by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"The large, heavy oil paintings have a subdued palette, featuring mainly Jim and others on the plantation; the different postures in which the characters are depicted contribute to the expressiveness of the narration, as if they were actors in a theatrical piece. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Medearis (Skin Deep, p. 860, etc.) offers an upbeat retelling of a story that first appeared in William J. Faulkner's The Days When the Animals Talked, about a slave who wins his freedom by offering his master a riddle he can't solve. Read full book review >
TREEMONISHA by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"Lively; the long text is a pleasure to read out loud. (Picture book. 7-11)"
A wonderful prose retelling of Scott Joplin's opera, set in Arkansas in the 1880s, in three acts brimming with dancing, preaching, and hustling. Read full book review >
Released: June 1, 1995

"The accessibility of the plainspoken style coupled with the volume's topicality may engage those who normally avoid this genre. (Poetry. 10+)"
In a slim volume of 40 short poems, all but two written in the first person, Medearis speaks directly and unpretentiously to young people's everyday concerns: school life, appearance, family tensions, dating, peer pressure, the puzzle of one's future. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 11, 1994

"A multicultural mess."
Children's book author Medear°s has bitten off more than she can chew in trying to cover Africa and the Caribbean as well as early and modern African-American cooking. Read full book review >
OUR PEOPLE by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: March 1, 1994

"Bryant debuts with realistic watercolors; he uses inset vignettes with mixed success (some of his compositions are overbusy), but the subtlety with which he captures some of his characters' expressions is appealing. (Picture book. 5-8)"
Another excursion through African-American history, lightly veiled as interaction between parent and child. ``Daddy says our people built the pyramids,'' confides the narrator, wishing—as she builds a precarious-looking structure of blocks—that she'd been there to ``help[ed] them with the plans.'' Similarly, she imagines exploring with Columbus, leading people to freedom like Sojourner Truth (as she pulls a wagonload of dolls), and farming out West (she rides on Daddy's back). Read full book review >
Released: March 31, 1992

"Music included. (Music/Picture book. 5-10)"
A rollicking cowboy ballad tells the story of a stranger who the other cowboys suppose is a greenhorn: ``Such an educated fellow, his thoughts just came in herds;/ He astonished all the cowboys with jaw-breaking words.'' Thinking to show him up, they put him on the ``Zebra Dun,'' an unridable outlaw, but though ``We could see the tops of mountains under Dunny's every jump,/ ...the stranger seemed to grow there, just like a camel's hump.'' The lively watercolor illustrations depict an assortment of cowboys—African-American (notably, the stranger, whose striped trousers slyly suggest a reason for the manner of his hazing), Latino (including the boss), and white (the cook and a guitarist). Read full book review >
DANCING WITH THE INDIANS by Angela Shelf Medearis
Released: Oct. 15, 1991

"A fine addition to the multicultural scene. (Picture book. 4-10)"
Traveling with their parents in a horse-drawn wagon to pay their annual visit to the Oklahoma Seminoles, a boy and girl recall the origins of this family tradition: their grandfather, an escaped slave, was given refuge by the Seminoles and considered a blood brother. Read full book review >