This lyrical tribute to the pioneer spirit* from an acclaimed author-artist team is a powerful tribute to the African-American pioneers who participated in the Oklahoma land runs** and was recognized as a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.
In the late 1880s, signs went up all around America: land was free in the Oklahoma territory. And it was free to everyone: Whites, Blacks, men and women alike. All one needed to stake a claim was hope and courage, strength and perseverance. Thousands of pioneers, many of them African-Americans newly freed from being enslaved, headed west to carve out a new life in the Oklahoma soil.
Drawing on her own family history, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Thomas has crafted an unforgettable anthem to these brave and determned people. Richly illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award honoree Floyd Cooper, I Have Heard of a Land is a glorious tribute to the Afrian-American pioneer spirit.
Thomas and Cooper both have their roots in Oklahoma, where this book is set. Thomas' wonderful author's note tells the story of her great-grandparents, who ran for land in the Oklahoma Territory, and illuminates the experience of African Americans 'surviving and thriving' in a place where freedom was more than a word.*
This picture book is perfect for shared family history projects at home or in the classroom, as well as units on pioneers, life in post-Civil War America, Oklahoma history, and lesser-known aspects of the expansion west in the United States.
I have heard of a land / Where the imagination has no fences...
*Booklist starred review; **School Library Journal