Before I share with you our featured book for today, I would like to invite all of you to join our 2014 Reading Challenge. The Check Off your Reading List Challenge 2014 (CORL 2014) will run from January until December 2014. The main goal of this challenge is for you to finally be able to work on the pile of books you’ve been wanting to read for the longest time. The guidelines and sign-up page are included in the link above. Join us for another year of bookish adventure as we check off our reading lists. =)
Anyway, as we celebrate the beginning of another fruitful year, I am delighted to share with you this beautiful picturebook collaboration by writer Katharine Boling and artist Daniel Minter. Published in 2002, New Year Be Coming! – A Gullah Year – is a collection of charming, lyrical poems for each month of the year, and then some.
It’s always a wonderful thing to learn about different cultures. It was noted in the book that the Gullahs are African-Americans who live mainly in the South Carolina and Georgia coasts and sea islands. They are descended from slaves brought from West Africa as early as seventeenth century.
Even after they were freed from slavery, the Gullahs stayed in the coastal islands and kept their African heritage. They developed speech that is different from African-Americans who lived elsewhere and heard more English.
In January month,
the sky the color of first dark
and the trees all nakedy in the wood.
Deer cock’e head for listen
for the chop-tongue hound,
and bittle berry scarceful.
The Gullah language became a blend of English and African pronunciation, grammar, and vocabulary. It is hard for outsiders to understand, especially when spoken quickly. Here’s a short video of Sista’ Gal talking about the Gullah and Geechee dialect.
Katharine Boling’s poetry celebrates the rich and vibrant Gullah language in her first book for children. A native of South Carolina, Katharine Boling shares her love for the Gullah culture with verses written for each month of the year. She believes that “Gullah’s musical cadence and colorful expressions make poetry of everyday speech.”
August month like yesterday dinner.
For truth, us think us through with ‘um,
but ‘e stick around
and dew the grass and mold the corn
and heavy the air so much
the lightning bugs be panting.
It’s already been a little over four months since I moved to South Carolina. I know little about the place but it’s nice to learn something new about it each day. The book mentioned hush puppies frying in the pan, and it was only when I moved here that I found out (and tasted!) what hush puppies are. (Hush puppies taste good!)
It’s not only the language that makes this picturebook beautiful. Readers will learn a lot about the Gullah culture with its picturesque verses. For those who are part of said culture, the native storytelling of Boling’s poetry brings them closer to home.
Now the sky the color of first dark.
“Bittle poor that day,
rest of the year be rich.”
So us stir up the hopping John.
New Year be coming!
Daniel Minter’s artworks are as powerful as Boling’s lyrical verses. In his website, it was noted that memories serve as inspiration for his paintings and sculpture. Daniel Minter’s artwork is a study of memory. The many ways in which memory is embedded into our past, present and future. It is the interconnection of time that contains the essence of what memory has left behind. If you’re the kind of reader who also appreciates book illustrations, Daniel Minter is an artist you might want to check out.
Below is a video featuring Gullah storyteller, Carolyn White. It’s quite a long video—17 minutes!—but Carolyn White is so animated that you would not even notice!
I hope you enjoyed Gathering Books’ first post of the year! Looking forward to another beautiful year. In this regard, Myra, Iphigene, and I would like to greet you all a blessed, colorful, and
Happy New Year!!!*
*Radiant orchid is the color for 2014.