African American Classics Edited By Tom Pomplun & Lance Tooks.

The Diverse Reader African American Classics Edited By Tom Pomplun & Lance Tooks Book Review

Title: African American Classics

Author: Edited By Tom Pomplun & Lance Tooks

Genre: African American Graphic Novel

Published: 2011

Publisher: Eureka

Total Pages: 144 pages

Amazon Synopsis: African-American Classics presents great stories and poems from America's earliest Black writers, illustrated by contemporary African-American artists. Featured are "Two Americans" by Florence Lewis Bentley, "The Goophered Grapevine" by Charles W. Chesnutt, "Becky" by Jean Toomer, two short plays by Zora Neale Hurston, and six more tales of humor and tragedy. Also featured are eleven poems, including Langston Hughes' "Danse Africaine" and "The Negro", plus Paul Laurence Dunbar's "Sympathy" ('I know why the caged bird sings...').

I usually don’t go for graphic novels anymore because my reading style has changed over the past year. I used to read comics, novels, graphic novels, poetry books — let’s just say I would read everything I could get my hands on. But, then I took a huge break from comics and graphic novels. Lately I had been gravitating back towards graphic novels because of the content that I have came across. African-American Classics is one of the reasons why I leaned back into graphic novels. I noticed this book at the library (my go-to place for books) and realized that this book needs to be read because my mind will not stop being curious about what this book has to offer. I am curious about the stories, lessons and illustrations. Black writers like Langston Hughes, Zora Hurston and W.E.B. Du Bois are just some of the authors used in this book.

My thoughts:

This book gave me a mixed of emotions while reading it and made me realize that books are supposed to make me feel a rollercoaster of emotions. There were stories about racism, politics in the black community, murder, science fiction tones, and lessons to be learned. There are two stories that I will not forget: the story of the black chemist that turned his enemy black and the story at the end of the novel where a black male ends up meeting five different people desire, wealth, peace, self denial, and passion — in which he learns a lesson from each.

Each story that the editors chose were chosen for a reason and they chose classics that could be remembered for a lifetime. Some of the authors I was familiar with but others I will be checking out more of their works.

The stories that I read made me either laugh, become shocked or think twice about life. The imaginary along with the stories or poetry made the stories even more intense because someone was giving you a vivid image of what is really happening in the moment of this story or poem. I think the illustrations helped the stories more than hurt them. The editors Tom Pomplun and Lance Tooks chose great stories and I think anyone could be affected by them like I was. The images were detailed and intense so that the reader could feel more of the story.

I think that illustrators did a great job in conveying the story because they related. I don’t think anyone would want a graphic novel were the imagery does not have any connection to the story — do we? The context of the stories, I think were chosen to make people laugh, think, give a piece of history or gain a lesson from.

The editors stayed within their topics and focused on important black classics. I was able to feel connected to most of the stories and poetry. Some of the stories I did not connect to because of the story itself but overall it was a good graphic novel and made me want to find other black graphic novels in the future.

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