“Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave” by Hill and Collier

I finally got around to taking a look at some of the Caldecott finalists for this year.  I truly enjoyed the lively Interrupting Chicken, but Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave has really captured me. Laban Carrick Hill’s spare prose captures the mysterious character of Dave, his art, and his circumstances.  A slave in South Carolina in the 19th century, Dave spends his time making clay containers and inscribing small poems on the side of some of them.  Bryan Collier’s award winning art combines painting and collage to give life to Dave’s world.  As we read along, we discover that pottery is his balm and escape from his cruel circumstances.  Perhaps Dave best expresses his pain and hope in this simple poem he etches into the side of a jar in 1857: “I wonder where is all  my relation/  friendship to all—and, every nation.”  This book gave me goosebumps.

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