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Writers Against Racism: HEART AND SOUL by Kadir Nelson

Our fabulous librarian just handed me Kadir Nelson’s, Heart and Soul The Story of America and African Americans (Harper Collins, 2011).  At first, the weight of the book struck me, as did the heartening illustrations on every page of the book.  That’s how deep and heavy the pictures are. If you want to take a trip back in time, through the story and the life like images in HEART AND SOUL, buy this book!!! It could easily be incorporated into a history class, as it tells the story of America and African Americans from colonial days through to the civil rights movement.  Kadir tells ‘our’ story which ironically inspires me.  In school, the story of Blacks in America always made me feel like I was from an inferior class. As I grew up, and read more, I knew that wasn’t the case.  Thank you, Kadir, for inspiring me. I will be purchasing your books as gifts to my children to uplift and to inspire them.  Just the fact that our ancestors helped to build this beautiful country should be at the heart of any American history class.

WE ARE THE SHIP  The Story of Negro League Baseball is next on my list from Kadir, who is both the illustrator and author.

Heart & Soul: The Story of America and African Americans Kadir Nelson

Here’s how he did it.


  1. On Monday, the ALA at its midwinter meeting, awarded Kadir Nelson the Coretta Scott King AUTHOR award for “Heart and Soul” AND he also received an Coretta Scott King Honor for his illustration for “Heart and Soul.” He’s just a super talent. I’m always stunned by his work. His body of work is so remarkable. Among many things, he also did artwork for the movie “Amistad” (Spielberg).

  2. B Herrera says:

    This is an author I want to get to know better through his writing and his illustrations. Thanks for bringing him to my attention. Often, great authors get lost in the sea of better publicized/less talented authors. Kadir Nelson is an engaging speaker and his method of ensuring accuracy in his painting definitely caught my attention. He sounds like a person worth listening to and learning from.

  3. Hi Amy. Yes, it’s quite wonderful and deserved. I’m a fan of Kadir Nelson’s work – difficult not to be. You look beautiful, btw. Things are pretty good, thank you. Trying to get things done on home/personal front and carve out writing time (one of my happiest things to do). I’m really thrilled about what’s going on with CAZUELA (Rafael won an illustration honor award on Monday. Btw, I was just thinking – both Kadir and Rafael have created stamps for the USPS.) Very exciting and also surreal. Rosamaria says my guardian angel Mom is looking down and helping out here and I love that image. I hope to return to New York. LOVE to see you then. xooxo

  4. B Herrera says:

    I’m doing pretty well. But books always make me feel better. Wish I had more time to read them, but I make time. Read The Last Lecture the other day while I was at the hospital getting fluids to fight my asthma. My daughter said that was a strange choice to read while I was in the hospital, but I enjoyed it. Perhaps I have a perverse sense of humor, but it took my mind off my pains and made me realize how lucky I really am. My philosophy is that there is no bad book to read anywhere. Anyway, made it home and am going strong again, full of fluids and steroids (they say these don’t put on weight, but don’t believe them because I’ve gained twenty-five pounds). I have Rafael’s book – bought it because of the drawings and the pleasant feeling I got when I looked at it. Hope he continues his success.