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

Recommended Grades: 4-6

Tracing the history of the role of African Americans in America back to the Revolutionary times, Kadir Nelson weaves a tale of inspiration and injustice.  Written from the view point of an elderly African American woman, you get the feeling that you are having a conversation with her in your living room.  It provides a more personal outlook on the history of African Americans in America. As always, Kadir Nelson’s artwork is dramatically beautiful. 

Lesson Idea:

Historical Fiction:


Mentor Texts: Read aloud all or part of Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans to provide a personal perspective on African Americans through a historical context.  As you study the Revolutionary War, discuss how African Americans really felt when fighting for a new country.  Pair it with Henry’s Freedom Box or Freedom Song when discussing slavery or civil rights.  Do the perspectives of the characters in the two books reflect what is believed to be the perspective in Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans?  I love to find books that provide a different perspective of historical events for students.  Heart and Soul: The Story of America and African Americans is one of those books.     

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