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Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

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To us it is just dirt, the ground we walk on. . . . But to Dave it was clay, the plain and basic stuff upon which he formed a life as a slave nearly 200 years ago. Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a To us it is just dirt, the ground we walk on. . . . But to Dave it was clay, the plain and basic stuff upon which he formed a life as a slave nearly 200 years ago. Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award Finalist Laban Carrick Hill and award-winning artist Bryan Collier tell Dave's remarkable story, one rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.


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To us it is just dirt, the ground we walk on. . . . But to Dave it was clay, the plain and basic stuff upon which he formed a life as a slave nearly 200 years ago. Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a To us it is just dirt, the ground we walk on. . . . But to Dave it was clay, the plain and basic stuff upon which he formed a life as a slave nearly 200 years ago. Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award Finalist Laban Carrick Hill and award-winning artist Bryan Collier tell Dave's remarkable story, one rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.

30 review for Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave

  1. 5 out of 5

    Calista

    Again, this is an amazing story I have never heard before. I don’t know if I would have known this without reading these Caldecott books. Dave was a slave and a potter, which was very very unusual. Slaves usually only did manual type labor and nothing skilled. Dave could also write which was illegal for them to do. There are pictures in the back of the book of pots that survived and all his poems in the back of the book. His pots were beautiful. He had true skill and gift at the art of pottery. In Again, this is an amazing story I have never heard before. I don’t know if I would have known this without reading these Caldecott books. Dave was a slave and a potter, which was very very unusual. Slaves usually only did manual type labor and nothing skilled. Dave could also write which was illegal for them to do. There are pictures in the back of the book of pots that survived and all his poems in the back of the book. His pots were beautiful. He had true skill and gift at the art of pottery. Incredible story. This is based on historical documents. At 35, he lost his leg for some reason and he had to have someone else turn the wheel for him. They think he was born in 1801 or so. This was a true story, but it didn’t have the same emotional impact as some other stories and the nephew thought this was a little slow or boring is his word of the year. He didn’t care for pottery and didn’t see the big idea. He gave this 1 star. The niece felt like she was reading facts and she likes facts. She found the idea of throwing a pot interesting so she gave this 3 stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Bill O'Reilly, professional blowhard and wannabe historian, tells us that the slaves who built the White House were “well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” I sure hope ole Bill doesn't find out about Dave the potter, or he'll undoubtedly try to convince us that some slaves were lucky because they got to learn a trade. That right, Bill. Those were some lucky, lucky slaves! Despite his captive status, Dave did manage to turn dirt into gold. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dav Bill O'Reilly, professional blowhard and wannabe historian, tells us that the slaves who built the White House were “well-fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” I sure hope ole Bill doesn't find out about Dave the potter, or he'll undoubtedly try to convince us that some slaves were lucky because they got to learn a trade. That right, Bill. Those were some lucky, lucky slaves! Despite his captive status, Dave did manage to turn dirt into gold. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_D...) Hill's book mostly glosses over the slavery bits, and concentrates on Dave's skill at the potter's wheel. We learn his techniques from the mixing of the clay to the finished product. Collier's paintings are a nice visual demonstration of Dave creating his art. What truly makes Dave's pottery unique was the poetry he wrote on some of the pots before they clay hardened. I wonder where is all my relation friendship to all - and every nation -- August 16, 1857 I'm somewhat torn about this one. I resent the omission of all the harsh realities that, as a slave, Dave surely must have faced on a daily basis. The fact that all profits made from Dave's efforts went to pad his master's coffers isn't mentioned in this book. Well, this is a children's book, after all, so I suppose a little whitewashing is to be expected. In all, it's a decent, though sanitized, attempt to bring attention to one man's story and art.

  3. 5 out of 5

    David Schaafsma

    "I wonder where is all my relation Friendship to all, and every nation"--Dave "Dave belongs to Mr. Miles Where the oven bake and the pot bile"--Dave This is a non-fiction picture book with some interesting insights about slavery and art. A special exhibition of Dave the potter's pottery (with poetry written by him on some of the pots) was featured several years ago at the Kissick Museum, curated by Jill Koverman, and shared in I Made This Jar: The Life and Works of the Enslaved African American Pott "I wonder where is all my relation Friendship to all, and every nation"--Dave "Dave belongs to Mr. Miles Where the oven bake and the pot bile"--Dave This is a non-fiction picture book with some interesting insights about slavery and art. A special exhibition of Dave the potter's pottery (with poetry written by him on some of the pots) was featured several years ago at the Kissick Museum, curated by Jill Koverman, and shared in I Made This Jar: The Life and Works of the Enslaved African American Potter, Dave. This is a picture book biography, which usually means it contains a certain amount of biographical details of the featured person's life. Instead, Laban Carrick Hill elects to write a poem that mainly focuses on the making of poetry, illustrated award-winningly (and I say deservedly) by Bryan Collier. "To us it was just dirt, the ground we walk on. . . but to Dave it clay, the stuff from which he learned to form a life as a salve"--Hill Dave made functional pots, jars, but he also made art. And was literate, wrote poems. He also lost a leg, we learn in an afterword, and any cruelty he may have suffered we don't read about, to emphasize the rising up of art over the beating down of slavery, I take it. You probably know that slaves reading and writing was considered a crime, attended to by horrific punishment. Gary Paulson's Nightjohn is one terrific middle grades book focusing on the inspiration and brutality of a slave caught teaching literacy. I wish we could have read a bit more about Dave's poetry, which gets tucked into the appendix. Dave the Potter is a good, poetic "biography" (less factual than evocative, through art and poetry) about art in the face of inhumanity. The appendix tells more of the facts and shares resources to explore more.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    I am not capable of dealing with the whole verse non-fiction trend objectively, my dears. I don't get it, I never will! It's a factual book, it's SUPPOSED to give us details and context, not make us guess at meaning with metaphor, simile and generic imagery. I had a much more enjoyable time reading the historical notes at the back of the book and looking at the one photo of Dave the Potter's actual work than I did reading the poem itself. The poem text is mostly about the process ANY potter uses I am not capable of dealing with the whole verse non-fiction trend objectively, my dears. I don't get it, I never will! It's a factual book, it's SUPPOSED to give us details and context, not make us guess at meaning with metaphor, simile and generic imagery. I had a much more enjoyable time reading the historical notes at the back of the book and looking at the one photo of Dave the Potter's actual work than I did reading the poem itself. The poem text is mostly about the process ANY potter uses to throw a jar...it barely mentions that Dave was a slave or that he wrote poems on his work. This is a fascinating, important artist and we don't really learn enough about him to appreciate that until the notes? If I were in charge, the historical notes would be the book and the poem would be the note at the back. AFTER we've learned about him, THEN we can maybe appreciate the poetic homage, understanding more of what's between the lines. (Although even as a poem I'm not that excited about it...why compare Dave to a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat? That's so lazy. Give me a simile that would have made sense to Dave himself, please. Besides, a magician is all about trickery and deception; an artist is about truth.) Collier's collages carry the book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Manybooks

    So yes, although I have certainly enjoyed reading in Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave how Dave is imagined by author Laban Carrick Hill creating and forming his distinctive pottery, and indeed how he, how Dave, is clearly and sweetly lyrically shown to obviously also achieve and receive very much personal fulfilment, pleasure and even joy from his art, I am sorry, but there is nevertheless just a certain something about Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave and in particular regarding Laban C So yes, although I have certainly enjoyed reading in Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave how Dave is imagined by author Laban Carrick Hill creating and forming his distinctive pottery, and indeed how he, how Dave, is clearly and sweetly lyrically shown to obviously also achieve and receive very much personal fulfilment, pleasure and even joy from his art, I am sorry, but there is nevertheless just a certain something about Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave and in particular regarding Laban Carrick Hill's presented text which really does tend to make me more than a bit personally uncomfortable. For albeit that Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave certainly does once or twice within the text proper mention Dave's status as a slave, I for one do not think that Laban Carrick Hill focussing with his lyrical verses almost entirely on Dave the artist and really almost never on Dave the slave is (and especially in a book published in 2010) the politically correct way to proceed. Because yes, it certainly does seem (to and for me) as though Laban Carrick Hill is rather whitewashing the realities and horrors of slavery when he with Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave focusses so exclusively on Dave's pottery and his artistic talents that one does kind of feel as though the author, as though Hill is (even if likely inadvertently) saying that Dave the Potter's slavery is not really so much of an issue, that the ONLY thing really of actual and real bona fide significance is that Dave was a talented artist, potter and poet. And while Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave is certainly and definitely a lyrical celebration of Dave's artistry and of his attitudes towards his pottery being very much his life, with Bryan Collier's Caldecott Honour winning accompanying artwork totally visually and aesthetically reflecting and mirroring Laban Carrick Hill's poetry, for me, the decided lack of focus in Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave on Dave's life as a slave and that Hill (and by extension also Collier) really are for the most part only concentrating on Dave's pottery and how he artistically sees himself and the world, this has certainly rather lessened my reading pleasure, and thus, only a rather grudging three star rating for Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave (because I really also desire to know about Dave’s life and his limitations as a slave, and yes, within Laban Carrick Hill’s actual poetry and not just in the supplemental information section).

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Vegan

    I’m blown away by the man, even with the many gaps in what is known about him, and this book is a fine tribute to him; I think the book does Dave justice, and so I am pleased. Powerful true story, and I think I liked all the background information ever better than the story proper. I enjoyed the story, but the writing style might not have appealed to me when I was a child; I’m not certain. The illustrations are absolutely riveting. I love how what’s going on in the background is shown. I love the I’m blown away by the man, even with the many gaps in what is known about him, and this book is a fine tribute to him; I think the book does Dave justice, and so I am pleased. Powerful true story, and I think I liked all the background information ever better than the story proper. I enjoyed the story, but the writing style might not have appealed to me when I was a child; I’m not certain. The illustrations are absolutely riveting. I love how what’s going on in the background is shown. I love the fold out page of Dave’s hands in the process of making a pot. The illustrations are as powerful as Dave’s story. The pictures are done in watercolor and collage and those are often my favorite art mediums. I really appreciate all the additional inclusions, especially the photograph of some of the pots known to have been made by Dave. Some of the poetry Dave wrote on his pots is included too. There are short but superb author’s and illustrator’s notes, and a short bibliography, and a list of websites I’m eager to explore. I am now very interested in Dave. I’m also interested in reading other books by this illustrator, and this author. The illustrator, according to the bio on the inside back cover of the book, directs mural programs throughout NYC for any child who wants to paint. I’m a bit in love. I am ambivalent about giving it 5 stars because there was something about the writing style I thought might be difficult for some to enjoy, but I did love the book, so 5 stars it is.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Most amazing of the Caldecott contenders for 2011. Biography, history, could also be used in art classes for pottery and for painting. How could this be the first I've heard of this?! It's not even as somber, relatively speaking, as most historical fiction; we can see by Dave's life that there is a way to achieve a feeling of satisfaction even in the midst of misery. The paintings are beautiful, and the book design works to highlight all the wonder of the story and images. I really like that th Most amazing of the Caldecott contenders for 2011. Biography, history, could also be used in art classes for pottery and for painting. How could this be the first I've heard of this?! It's not even as somber, relatively speaking, as most historical fiction; we can see by Dave's life that there is a way to achieve a feeling of satisfaction even in the midst of misery. The paintings are beautiful, and the book design works to highlight all the wonder of the story and images. I really like that the font is white, but on backgrounds just dark enough to make it shine and be easy to read (even with my old eyes).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I can understand why Laban Carrick Hill garnered the Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in this book. The rich, warm, earthy tones of the watercolor painting mixed with the depth achieved by the technique of collage make for effective and inviting pictures. I felt not that I was watching this man from a remote outside place, but rather that I was there, watching him work his magic with the clay. As if I were watching the reenactment of what the everyday life might have been like for I can understand why Laban Carrick Hill garnered the Coretta Scott King Award for his illustrations in this book. The rich, warm, earthy tones of the watercolor painting mixed with the depth achieved by the technique of collage make for effective and inviting pictures. I felt not that I was watching this man from a remote outside place, but rather that I was there, watching him work his magic with the clay. As if I were watching the reenactment of what the everyday life might have been like for this mysterious potter, simply known to the world as, “Dave.” I would definitely recommend this award winning book. This would be a great book to include in a classroom discussion of African-American life in the time of slavery. There are so many remarkable elements to the story of this man. We know very little about him, but what can be discerned from the few pots of his that remain is that he knew how to read, write, and was allowed to have a skilled job—a profession—all of which were largely inaccessible to slaves.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

    Dave the Potter was an outstanding artist, poet and potter whose influence is still evident in South Carolina pottery. He lived in the 1800s and created his pottery with amazing skill, building enormous pots that could up to 40 gallons. He was one of only two potters known to have the strength and skill to create such large pieces. Dave was also a poet, inscribing his verse on his pottery, offering two lines of poetry and then a date. His poems have the beauty and simplicity of Haiku and offer a Dave the Potter was an outstanding artist, poet and potter whose influence is still evident in South Carolina pottery. He lived in the 1800s and created his pottery with amazing skill, building enormous pots that could up to 40 gallons. He was one of only two potters known to have the strength and skill to create such large pieces. Dave was also a poet, inscribing his verse on his pottery, offering two lines of poetry and then a date. His poems have the beauty and simplicity of Haiku and offer a unique perspective of a poet surviving in slavery. This is a picture book that makes an important figure in history come alive, revealing his art and poetry for children. Hill has created a free verse of his own to tell the story of the life of Dave. Hill’s verse is simple and striking, drawing together the connections between the simple ingredients of the clay and what it can become and the simple life of a slave and the wonder of what Dave created. The poem leads children through the stages of making a pot from the gathering of the clay to the magic and work of creating pottery. The book ends with more of Dave’s poetry as well as an author’s note and an illustrator’s note. All of them speaking to the influence and importance of Dave the Potter. Collier’s art work here is stunningly beautiful. His watercolor and collage art speaks to the strength of Dave, the skill of his hands and the glory of his work. The colors are rich and deep, filled with a warm earthiness that evokes pottery and clay. A radiant tribute to an artist, this picture book echoes the transcendent artist that Dave was. Appropriate for ages 5-8.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Peg

    Beautifully simple, simply beautiful. Little known artist, poet, slave, brought to life through Hill's words and Collier's paintings. Hill's words, like Dave's are poetic, starting with his repetitive "To us . . . But for Dave. . . " to his use of one of Dave's poems to close. A fold-over page using a larger font size, announces our first few of the magic coming from Dave's hands. The creamy color of clay on Dave's dark hands make the hands, and their magic, stand out. There are few details of D Beautifully simple, simply beautiful. Little known artist, poet, slave, brought to life through Hill's words and Collier's paintings. Hill's words, like Dave's are poetic, starting with his repetitive "To us . . . But for Dave. . . " to his use of one of Dave's poems to close. A fold-over page using a larger font size, announces our first few of the magic coming from Dave's hands. The creamy color of clay on Dave's dark hands make the hands, and their magic, stand out. There are few details of Dave's life known, and even fewer in the text. Hill's words are about the artist, and it is in the afterword that he informs the reader more about Dave. Collier has chosen warm earthen tones for his paintings, which draw the viewer into Dave's simple yet beautiful world. Components of collage add depth and background. The well-designed book uses a solid or slightly textured colored page as background for the text, complementing Collier's paintings. Both an author's and illustrator's note complete this remarkable book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Karen Witzler

    Dave was a real person, an enslaved person, who escaped the annals of the anonymous by signing his name and sometimes lines of poetry to his balanced and beautiful glazed clay jars. Laban Carrick Hill's words and Bryan Collier's illustrations are lovely and bring to life the world of this famous folk potter and craftsman who lived his life as a slave in Edgefield , South Carolina.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alysia

    This is a really interesting story. I love the artwork and the poems are nice and easy for a young reader. Dave is a skilled slave and this is a beautiful story that celebrates his artistry and talent.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    This book is one of the 2011 Caldecott Honor books and a Coretta Scott King Award winner for its illustrations. Dave, for whom we have no last name, was a slave and a potter in South Carolina. We know of him primarily from his pots, upon which he inscribed short poems from time to time. What a clever way to immortalize oneself! Laban Carrick Hill takes us through the process Dave must have used to create his pots, while Bryan Collier illustrates it. We don't even know what Dave really looked lik This book is one of the 2011 Caldecott Honor books and a Coretta Scott King Award winner for its illustrations. Dave, for whom we have no last name, was a slave and a potter in South Carolina. We know of him primarily from his pots, upon which he inscribed short poems from time to time. What a clever way to immortalize oneself! Laban Carrick Hill takes us through the process Dave must have used to create his pots, while Bryan Collier illustrates it. We don't even know what Dave really looked like, so Collier has taken his best guess. Notes at the back of the book show a photograph of some of Dave's surviving pots and lists some of the poems he wrote on them. I was interested to learn, in the author's note, that Hill discovered Dave from watching an episode of the PBS television series "Antiques Roadshow." Just goes to show you never know where the inspiration for a book will be found. Guess I'd better watch "Antiques Roadshow" more often! Read this book for a glimpse of something and someone truly unique.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ch13_megan Carlisle

    Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill is a Caldecott Honor Book. The book centers on Dave, a potter, poet and slave. It describes in great detail the steps that Dave went through to create his pots. At the end of the book the author gives a greater set of details regarding the life of Dave. He also includes many of the inscriptions that were found on Dave's pottery pieces. The piece I most enjoyed about the book was the illustrations. The illustrator pastes images on a page in a fashion similar Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill is a Caldecott Honor Book. The book centers on Dave, a potter, poet and slave. It describes in great detail the steps that Dave went through to create his pots. At the end of the book the author gives a greater set of details regarding the life of Dave. He also includes many of the inscriptions that were found on Dave's pottery pieces. The piece I most enjoyed about the book was the illustrations. The illustrator pastes images on a page in a fashion similar to a collage. The results are beautiful. The images gave more insight into Dave's life than the text. We are able to see other slaves workign on the farm as well as the details of the shed where he created his works of art. The text is listed as grades K-3, most likely due to the simplicity of the story and the text. I would also recommend the book for middle grades as a part of Social Science classes about slavery in the U.S. It's an important text,allowing students to see the diversity of experiences for slaves in the U.S.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    Audience:K-2 Those interested in learning more about slavery or pottery. Appeal:Great information about pottery. Beautiful pictures. As you examine the pictures you can see small details about slavery included in some pictures. Through a four-panel extended page you can see how a pot becomes a pot. In the back of the book you find biographical information about Dave and his poems as well as the Author's Note and Illustrator's Note. 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ms. B

    Beautiful illustrations! This is the true story of Dave who was a poet, artist and slave in South Carolina in the 1800s. Am I the only one who feel Bryan Collier deserves a Caldecott Award for his amazing watercolor/collage images?

  17. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This is a children's nonfiction picture book about a potter and poet who lived in South Carolina during the 1800s. This touched upon themes of slavery, pottery and poetry. I felt that the actual, shared research at the back of the was helpful to have a greater understanding for this book.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    A poetic picture-book examination of the life and work of Dave, a potter, poet and slave in nineteenth-century South Carolina, Dave the Potter follows the story of the clay itself, from clouds of dust on the ground (?), through Dave's skilled hands, to its final form as a pot. A strong man who could throw sixty-pound pots, Dave was an artist and a writer, occasionally inscribing short poems - "I wonder where is all my relation / friendship to all - and, every nation" - on his creations, before t A poetic picture-book examination of the life and work of Dave, a potter, poet and slave in nineteenth-century South Carolina, Dave the Potter follows the story of the clay itself, from clouds of dust on the ground (?), through Dave's skilled hands, to its final form as a pot. A strong man who could throw sixty-pound pots, Dave was an artist and a writer, occasionally inscribing short poems - "I wonder where is all my relation / friendship to all - and, every nation" - on his creations, before they hardened. Chosen as a Caldecott Honor Book this year, and given the Coretta Scott King Award for Illustrators as well, this visually intense picture-book brings to light a little-known but fascinating artist, and for that I am glad. That said, I think I agree with the reviewer who stated that the afterword, in which more information about Dave and his life is given, was my favorite part of the book. I wanted to know more, and while I understand that there is limited information available about Dave, I wasn't entirely satisfied with the way the narrative focused on his process, rather than on him, leaving out even those few details that are known. I enjoyed Bryan Collier's earth-toned illustrations, and can definitely see why they were honored with so many awards, but I also would have liked to see more photographs, in the rear, of Dave's actual work. Still, despite these quibbles, Dave the Potter is a book I would recommend, to young readers interested in pottery and poetry, or in the institution of slavery in American history.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arretta Johnson

    As I hold up a glazed piece of pottery shaped into a pitcher, I will ask the class, "Can anyone can tell me what this is and what it is made of?" After several answers are given, I will explain that I have a pitcher that was handed down to me from my grandmother to my mother and then to me. This pitcher was hand made and painted (not by my grandmother) many, many years ago and I was told my grandmother used it to hold hot chocolate. Then I would ask, "Who would like to explain to me your idea of As I hold up a glazed piece of pottery shaped into a pitcher, I will ask the class, "Can anyone can tell me what this is and what it is made of?" After several answers are given, I will explain that I have a pitcher that was handed down to me from my grandmother to my mother and then to me. This pitcher was hand made and painted (not by my grandmother) many, many years ago and I was told my grandmother used it to hold hot chocolate. Then I would ask, "Who would like to explain to me your idea of what slavery was like in the United States in the 1800s?" After an answer or two, I will say, "Today we will learn about a man named Dave who lived as a slave and he had a very special talent. What do you think it might be?" After a few guesses I'll show them the cover of this book. "Today's book is Dave the Potter by Laban C. Hill and illustrated by Bryan Collier. He was an exceptional man because he was allowed to create pottery and add something very special to it when he was finished forming the vessels of different shapes and sizes. Now listen and look at the illustrations carefully as I read about Dave so we get to know a real slave who lived so long ago and discover what was it that he added to all his pottery creations that made them so special!" I have used the opening move of laying groundwork for students to understand what pottery is and how it is used. I also asked them about slavery which would further enhance their understanding of what time frame the book is about. I then invite them to listen and watch carefully as I read so they are able to make a discovery about Dave and this is to keep them captivated and actively engaged. I chose this beautifully written and illustrated book because I personally had never heard of Dave and I would want to share the knowledge I gained from reading it with others. Dave's story is true, inspiring and leaves me wondering who taught him how to throw clay and most importantly, to read and write? The author's and illustrator's notes at the end of the book informs us as how they came to know about Dave and why they created this book. This is a must read...it will touch your heart. (2010, August 1). School Library Journal. http://www.booksinprint2.com.leo.lib....#

  20. 4 out of 5

    Joanna Marple

    Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living as a slave in South Carolina in the 1800s. A potter and a poet. This is story of strength (both spiritually and physically, for it is difficult to throw clay pots of the size and scope Dave made – 20 to 40 gallons) and creativity. It also présents the reader with a mystery, for so little is really know about Dave . . . how was he trained when so few slaves were? How did he learn to read? The artwork is beautiful, but the foldout picture o Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter living as a slave in South Carolina in the 1800s. A potter and a poet. This is story of strength (both spiritually and physically, for it is difficult to throw clay pots of the size and scope Dave made – 20 to 40 gallons) and creativity. It also présents the reader with a mystery, for so little is really know about Dave . . . how was he trained when so few slaves were? How did he learn to read? The artwork is beautiful, but the foldout picture of Dave's strong hands pulling the jar out of the clay on the potters wheel is truly remarkable. The text is short and lyrical and evocative of Dave's own poems. One example, "I wonder where is all my relation friendship to all -- and, every nation." The free verse focuses on the stages of creating a pot, from gathering the clay to finishing the pot. Dave’s visonary and compassionate spirit emerge through his pots and his poems. The text is sweet, yet strong and lyrical and I believe draws even a young reader into the creative energies of being a poetic potter. The artwork is sublime, and for younger children, maybe you will stop at the storyline and pictures, which invite them alongside Dave and his potter’s wheel, in his creative process. The watercolor and collage illustrations are beautiful, detailed and powerful. The earth tones used are perfect for the subject and the various perspectives used will captivate older children and adults. This is a deserving award winner. Older children will additionally enjoy the wealth of non-fictional information at the back of the book.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Adriana Villagomez

    Have you ever had the passion to do something but had some obstacles put in front of you? In a time that didn't allow a person of color to learn special skills, Dave the Potter was one of the few slaves that were able to learn this special skill, however, none were quite as good as he. Dave the Potter is a Biography and Poem about a slave from South Carolina. He was one of the few slaves who knew how to make pottery. It is set in the point of view of the author. This story details how Dave made Have you ever had the passion to do something but had some obstacles put in front of you? In a time that didn't allow a person of color to learn special skills, Dave the Potter was one of the few slaves that were able to learn this special skill, however, none were quite as good as he. Dave the Potter is a Biography and Poem about a slave from South Carolina. He was one of the few slaves who knew how to make pottery. It is set in the point of view of the author. This story details how Dave made his pottery and the process it took. Dave engraved some quotes into his pottery that made his work identifiable in comparison to other potters’ work. It was in question how he was even able to read and write since slaves weren't allowed to do either. The author depicted Dave as an artist because of how skillful he was in creating pottery that was difficult to the average potter. This was an enjoyable book because Dave was a real person that created real pottery. His story is not widely known among all people and I think it is worth taking a more in depth look into his pottery and life. His pottery is currently on display at a museum in South Carolina. The theme that this book can correspond to is celebrating the lives of minority artists who had obstacles put in front of them or also when talking about history, slavery, or art. Read this story if you want to learn about a man who was told he could not learn how to read or write and yet he learned, about a man who was able to learn how to make pottery and excelled in it, a story that is hardly heard of but very inspiring.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    This book, by Laban Carrick Hill, is narrative poem about a man named Dave who, for most of his life, was a slave. However, Dave has become more well-known recently for his contribution to American art. The pots he created were magnificent in their own right. However, the words he put onto the side of his pottery are what he is remembered for. Occasionally, he would put a short poem on a piece of pottery. For example, "Dave belongs to Mr. Miles/wher the oven bakes & the bot biles/// July 31, 184 This book, by Laban Carrick Hill, is narrative poem about a man named Dave who, for most of his life, was a slave. However, Dave has become more well-known recently for his contribution to American art. The pots he created were magnificent in their own right. However, the words he put onto the side of his pottery are what he is remembered for. Occasionally, he would put a short poem on a piece of pottery. For example, "Dave belongs to Mr. Miles/wher the oven bakes & the bot biles/// July 31, 1840). The book is a non-fiction picture book about his creation. I thought this book was just beautifully done. The Caldecott organization clearly agrees as they awarded this book the 2011 illustrator award winner. There is such depth and texture on each page! The two-page spreads are meant to be a giant painting with a piece of torn fabric with printed words placed over a part of it. Often, Bryan Collier, the illustrator, allows Dave's pots and his hand to fill the spread- focusing in on his work. I would use this book as part of a unit on slavery with intermediate grade students. There are a lot of literary devices used (hyperbole, metaphor, simile, personification, imagery) that add to the magic of creating beauty from dried dirt. I would use this text to possibly compare and contrast the lives of field hands versus slaves who were trained in a different skill.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Text-to-self: In high school, I took several pottery classes and enjoyed making pottery like Dave in the book. I know how difficult it can be to create well constructed pieces of pottery with modern technology. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been back then. He must have been a very skilled artist. Remembering: Name two things Dave did in the process of making his pottery. Understanding:What do you think the author meant when they said "Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Text-to-self: In high school, I took several pottery classes and enjoyed making pottery like Dave in the book. I know how difficult it can be to create well constructed pieces of pottery with modern technology. I can only imagine how difficult it would have been back then. He must have been a very skilled artist. Remembering: Name two things Dave did in the process of making his pottery. Understanding:What do you think the author meant when they said "Like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat, Dave's hands, buried in the mounded mud, pulled out the share of a jar."? Applying: What examples can you find in the text or illustrations that tell or show us Dave was a slave? Analyzing: How would you contrast Dave's life to the life of other slaves we have learned about? Evaluating: Would you recommend this book to someone wanting to learn about slavery? why or why not? Creating: What inferences can you make about Dave's life as a slave, potter, and poet? (2010, August 01). School Library Journal. http://www.booksinprint.com.leo.lib.u...#

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Kotkin

    Text: 3 stars Illustrations: 5 stars There is not a single fact about Dave's life (other than his being a slave), or the time period, until the supplemental information at the back of the book. I realize there is a movement towards very sparse text in picture books, but that can't really apply to nonfiction and biography, because we really need some information within the text for those books to work. In this case, how did Dave learn to read and write (since that was illegal for slaves and often p Text: 3 stars Illustrations: 5 stars There is not a single fact about Dave's life (other than his being a slave), or the time period, until the supplemental information at the back of the book. I realize there is a movement towards very sparse text in picture books, but that can't really apply to nonfiction and biography, because we really need some information within the text for those books to work. In this case, how did Dave learn to read and write (since that was illegal for slaves and often punished by death)? What were his owners like and how did they treat him? Clearly Dave had natural ability, but how and when did he learn his skills? So I don't think this picture book works well as a biography, but Bryan Collier's illustrations are an artistic triumph. And the text illuminates the pottery-making process in the 1800s. So I think this book can be used as an example of making art, whatever your circumstances. In that respect, this book is successful and inspiring. Bibliography included in the back of the book.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    What a fascinating book. I recently watched an episode of "History Detectives" on PBS where one of the mysteries surrounded a face jar (also called an "ugly jar") from a pre-Civil War pottery in South Carolina. Although the researchers weren't able to discover who the potter was, they were able to find another piece that was obviously made by the same person. The jars were made to hold personal possessions, and as protection against evil spirits. What I found so touching is that the jars were of What a fascinating book. I recently watched an episode of "History Detectives" on PBS where one of the mysteries surrounded a face jar (also called an "ugly jar") from a pre-Civil War pottery in South Carolina. Although the researchers weren't able to discover who the potter was, they were able to find another piece that was obviously made by the same person. The jars were made to hold personal possessions, and as protection against evil spirits. What I found so touching is that the jars were often used as grave markers, since slaves weren't allowed to erect their own. They might be made to resemble the person buried their and to hold objects that were dear to him or her in life. So this imagining of the life of one of these remarkable artists is so beautifully rendered. So little really is known about him except the works he left behind, with fragments of poetry baked in the clay. History hasn't even recorded if his last name, if he had one. Very interesting book.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    This book is a sweet remembrance to an important artist and poet in American history. The book takes children step by step through the process of making a piece of pottery with Dave. The words truly make the potter come to life as they describe his hands, motions and artistry used in creating each piece. This book would appeal to boys and girls from K-3rd grade. The words are challenging yet perfectly inviting for beginning readers. I would encourage teachers to share the story of Dave the Potte This book is a sweet remembrance to an important artist and poet in American history. The book takes children step by step through the process of making a piece of pottery with Dave. The words truly make the potter come to life as they describe his hands, motions and artistry used in creating each piece. This book would appeal to boys and girls from K-3rd grade. The words are challenging yet perfectly inviting for beginning readers. I would encourage teachers to share the story of Dave the Potter, artist, poet, slave--open the door of an artist for a unique view, while teaching multicultural history. Awards: 2011 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award; 2011 Caldecott Honor Book; 2011 NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended; Children's Book Committee Bank Street College of Education Children's Choices - Best Books of 2011, Special Interests, Biography Carrick Hill, L. (2010). Dave the Potter Artist, Poet, Slave. NY: Hachette Book Group, LLC.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Laban Carrick Hill, author, and Bryan Collier, illustrator teamed up to produce a book beautiful, Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. This story tells of the life and amazing pottery of Dave, a 19th century slave from South Carolina. There are several classroom applications for this wonderful story. Not only is the text itself worth focusing on, but the informational pages in the back of the book as well as the author and illustrator notes are a MUST read! This book creates many avenues to spar Laban Carrick Hill, author, and Bryan Collier, illustrator teamed up to produce a book beautiful, Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave. This story tells of the life and amazing pottery of Dave, a 19th century slave from South Carolina. There are several classroom applications for this wonderful story. Not only is the text itself worth focusing on, but the informational pages in the back of the book as well as the author and illustrator notes are a MUST read! This book creates many avenues to spark an interesting classroom discussion, such as how one might communicate ideas with others without the ability to read or write. The focus on art and poetry lends itself naturally to extension activities like creating pinch pots inscribed with simple rhyming verses about their pot’s purpose, something Dave often did.

  28. 5 out of 5

    paula

    You are going to want this book. This is a rare story, beautifully told, illustrated with power, and it has ties to things that children can touch and do. What, you want more? Heh, just kidding. Of course you do. How about you want a story that will help educate children about the time when slavery was legal in the United States, that does not flinch from the tragic inequities of that period, but which nonetheless is not unremittingly bleak? A story that celebrates a person whose skill and artistry You are going to want this book. This is a rare story, beautifully told, illustrated with power, and it has ties to things that children can touch and do. What, you want more? Heh, just kidding. Of course you do. How about you want a story that will help educate children about the time when slavery was legal in the United States, that does not flinch from the tragic inequities of that period, but which nonetheless is not unremittingly bleak? A story that celebrates a person whose skill and artistry transcended status and transcends time? Now you know. You want this book. I knew you would. Full review on Pink Me: http://pinkme.typepad.com/pink-me/201...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I really enjoyed this book. The part that I liked the best was the end of the book where some of his original poems and messages were depicted, analyzed and explained. It was very interesting to know the reasoning behind some of his messages and what he was trying to tell people. I also really liked how the book explained how hard Dave had to work to create his pots. In this day and age, not a lot of younger children know that people had to make pots by hand and the amount of effort it took to p I really enjoyed this book. The part that I liked the best was the end of the book where some of his original poems and messages were depicted, analyzed and explained. It was very interesting to know the reasoning behind some of his messages and what he was trying to tell people. I also really liked how the book explained how hard Dave had to work to create his pots. In this day and age, not a lot of younger children know that people had to make pots by hand and the amount of effort it took to produce one pot. I think this book would be great for students in grades 2nd and up. This is from the Coretta Scott King Book Award Recipients in 2011 for the Illustrator Award.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Miao

    I found this book on A Coretta Scott King Award. This poem portrays the history of a man named Dave in South Carolina as well as how he discovers his talent of potter skill. The story provides different perspective of how Dave sees dirt, mud, and pot as hope and friendship to all. The watercolor on every page shows the landscape and architecture of a South Carolina farm. Dave does not show much facial expression at the beginning of the story which allow students to implement their higher order t I found this book on A Coretta Scott King Award. This poem portrays the history of a man named Dave in South Carolina as well as how he discovers his talent of potter skill. The story provides different perspective of how Dave sees dirt, mud, and pot as hope and friendship to all. The watercolor on every page shows the landscape and architecture of a South Carolina farm. Dave does not show much facial expression at the beginning of the story which allow students to implement their higher order thinking skill. There is a page that has Dave opening his hands and closing his eyes which create an image of hope. It is recommended for kindergarten to 4th grade.

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