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Deidre's Book Reviews

My Favorite Joyce Carol Thomas Books
True Believer
The Tale of Despereaux
The Giver
The First Part Last
A Single Shard
How Angel Peterson Got His Name
SHAKA: King of the Zulus
The Gold Cadillac
Freedman's Voice that Challenged A Nation
Messages in the Mailbox
Seymour's Stars
Author Study: Joyce Carol Thomas
My Favorite Joyce Carol Thomas Books
Suggested Response Activity
Review of Thomas's Hush Songs
Review of Thomas's Gingerbread Days
Ride a Purple Pelican
My Momma Likes to Say
My Man Blue
Beast Feast
The Stinky Cheese Man
Once Upon A Time
My Friend Rabbit
Caring for Your Pets
Two Bad Ants


“Joyce Carol Thomas’ books are enchanted kites, which her playful soul flies. Genuine human instinct and intuition are the sky through which they imaginatively glide.”

— Professor Stan Brown, University of Nebraska, Lincoln


------------. 2004. The Gospel of Cinderella. Ill. by David Diaz. New Haven: Amistad.

This book was chosen because it is a fresh, ethical variant of the famous tale, Cinderella.  It focuses on the gospel music tradition of African Americans, and adds a whole new spin to the tale.


------------. 2002. Crowning Glory. Ill. by Brenda Joysmith. New YorkJoanna Cotler.

Of course, I like this book because it describes the beauty of African American hair.  It talks about how it can be combed and styled in so many unique ways.


------------. 2001. A mother’s heart, a daughter’s love: poems for us to share.New York: Joanna Cotler.

The poems in this book make me think of how much I cherish my mother and the time we spend together.  There is a peaceful aroma received when reading these bonding poems.


------------. 2000. The bowlegged rooster: and other tales that signify. New York: HarperCollins.

I chose this book because it reminds me of how important it is to celebrate life.  It touches on the important events in life: birth, death, baptism, marriage, and rejoicing.   


------------. 1999. Marked by Fire. New York: HarperTempest.

This is one of her first novels. So it is a good starting point for reading Thomas's writing.  Even in this novel, you can follow the rhythm of Abyssinia's words and see how they resonate.


------------. 1998. Cherish me. Ill. by Nneka Bennett. New York:


I love this book because it celebrates uniqueness, love, and self-awareness on a very young level that is easy to understand by even preschool aged children.


------------. 1998. I have heard of a land. Ill. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Joanna Cotler.

This book serves as a tribute to the African-American pioneer spirit.  It focuses on family history, and explains how newly freed slaves raced to Oklahoma for a hopeful future.  I especially like this book because it talks about the rich culture and shows the determination of African American slaves.


-------------. 1995. Gingerbread Days. Ill. by Floyd Cooper. New York: Joanna Cotler Books.  

 This book demonstrates how a family read, worship, and play together in a year’s time span. I like it because it talks about God how we are all blessed.


-------------. 1993. Brown honey in broomwheat tea. Ill

                by Floyd Cooper. New York: HarperCollins.

I like this particular book because its lyrical poems celebrate the beauty of the African American culture.


-------------. 1990. A Gathering of flowers: stories about being

                young in America. New York: HarperCollins.

This particular book is a great tool to teach about life & its hardships – regardless of ethnic background. 




Readers' comments.......

"…Your poems reminded me of when I do my hair every morning, and it is hard choosing because there are so m any hair styles…”

— 6th grade student


“We adopted a new baby, and when we sang Hush Songs our baby’s eyes lit up. Reading and listening have become a habit. Our little one reaches for Joyce’s books and other books several times a day.

— New Parents

* These comments and many more can be found on the author's website:
Last updated: March 3, 2005