Sunday, October 26, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 190


Picture Book: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

Author: Laban Carrick Hill

Illustrator: Bryan Collier

Summary: This is a beautiful story of an actual American slave, known only because of his beautiful poetry carved onto his equally exquisite pottery which is now prized and in art museums. The text details Dave’s artistry with clay and wheel, pots and words.  His poetry is brief but striking, like Haiku. Within this book are also stunning depictions of the phases of throwing a pot on a wheel. The book ends with more information about Dave, a photograph of 5 of his pots, and his poems as they appear on the pots. An Author’s Note, Illustrator’s Note, Bibliography, and list of websites are also included.

Hanna’s Comments: This is a very moving book because of the oppression Dave endured and the artistry he shared despite his circumstances. It’s a powerful book for it demonstrates the creative drive of this man who, unlike so many slaves who had comparable creative drive, is able to receive some credit for his highly skilled work. Too many slaves did inspired work that was never attributed to them. I use the word “inspired” purposely for I believe all humans are called by God to be artists and creators. Perhaps this creative instinct is an aspect of the “Image of God” we hear of in Genesis 1:27.

Publisher & Date of Publication: Little, Brown, & Co., 2010

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 40

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: Audio download, There is a short informative video on Youtube.com about Dave the Potter.

PBT Category: Biography, Award Winner, Post 2K

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: abilities, abuse/abuse of power, America, art, artifacts, beauty, call/calling/vocation, communication, creativity/imagination/ingenuity, freedom, gifts/talents, heritage, identity/names, individuality/uniqueness, labor/work, land/mountains/soil, language/literacy/reading, mystery, North America, power, preparation, purpose, race relations/racism, slavery/slaves, social justice, strength/strength in God, time/timing/over time, treasure, wisdom

Scripture Connections: Made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27); blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they will be filled (Matthew 5:6)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book in a homeschool, private school, or church arts camp where you can talk about being made in God’s image and inspired to create even under difficult circumstances. Use this also in a lesson on American slavery or African-American artistry/history.