Title: Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
Author: Laban Carrick Hill
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Concepts: slavery, social justice, human resources, racial inequality
Review: Enslaved potter Dave produced thousands of beautiful pieces of pottery over the course of his life, a true accomplishment given that the institution of slavery denied most African Americans access to skilled trades. Dave’s pottery is even more extraordinary given that a number of pieces were inscribed with poems he wrote himself at a time when southern states prohibited the education of slaves.
This thoughtful, creative picture book pays tribute to Dave the potter. Rhythmic verse and expressive watercolor/collage images harmonously present the story of how Dave would have created one of his lovely jars, from transforming the earth into clay and spinning the clay on the wheel, to finishing the piece with an inscription and glaze. Together with the afterword, the prose and illustrations provide a useful resource for teaching young learners about slavery and different ways in which African Americans resisted this oppressive system.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children