BOOK PARTY LAUNCH at City College Center for the Arts for Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright, by Nina Crews
Celebrated author, Richard Wright, wrote 4,000+ haiku? Yes. And, what's more: He wrote them in the final 18 months of his life! Turns out, the man who is among the world's most celebrated 20th-century writers, the man we know for BLACK BOY and NATIVE SON, was also a poet. And, it took a children's book illustrator and writer -- Nina Crews -- to introduce me to Wright, the poet, in her latest book SEEING INTO TOMORROW: HAIKU BY RICHARD WRIGHT.
As you know, I've always believed that children's books are books for adults, as well. Last month, I witnessed the joy of many people, exploring SEEING INTO TOMORROW and Richard Wright's haiku at the book party launch, held at City College Center for the Arts, in Aaron Davis Hall. Gregory Shanck, who heads CCCA and hosted the book launch, agrees. He has stated that, “It's not just a children's book. It can be enjoyed by the entire family.”
Children enjoying making collages at the book launch event at City College for Seeing Into Tomorrow by Nina Crews. Photo Credit: Luvon Roberson
Indeed, at a fun-filled event, children, adults, and families created haiku and collages – working at tables stocked with tools to experiment with and to create. Young children, their parents, and other caregivers danced together, learning the rhythms and history of African drumming. And, Nina Crews read her book, whose memorable photo-collage illustrations were projected on a large screen. Each page seems to break out from the book, as if leaping into reality featuring the images of 12 young black and brown boys in nature and in-conversation, or so it seemed, with 12 haiku written by Richard Wright. My favorite:
“A spring sky so clear
That you feel you are seeing
With SEEING INTO TOMORROW, her 14th book, Nina Crews has created a gorgeous, powerful, affirming book for all of us. My only regret? That my son is no longer a little boy who can see his image in a book that celebrates Richard Wright and haiku. Or, in reality, a book that celebrates creation, the act of creation in ordinary realities of life, which we can see every day in nature, in our world, all around us. Helping us, perhaps, to see little brown and black boys in our world, too.
When my son was a child, he loved books about transportation. FREIGHT TRAIN, by Donald Crews, was a favorite. I was able to meet award-winning children's book author and illustrator Donald Crews at the book party launch. He is Nina Crews's father. Her mother, Ann Jonas, also was a children’s book illustrator and writer. For more on FREIGHT TRAIN, visit Amazon for more details.
Check out Amazon for more details about SEEING INTO TOMORROW,
Of the 4,000+ haiku Wright wrote, 817 are published in HAIKU: THIS OTHER WORLD (1998).
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