Audie Award Nominee, Children's Titles for Ages Up to 8, 2013
What is it to be an American? In lyrical, soul-searching free verse, the father-son team who presented Jazz, delivers a heartfelt and thought-provoking homage to this country. Reflective and non-judgmental, stretching across a tumultuous history and following dreams of and struggles for freedom, this masterful and stunning presentation of patriotism through poetry, quotations, and depictions of myriad Americans - from Tecumseh to Abraham Lincoln to Jimi Hendrix - celebrates the heart and soul of this land.
©2013 Walter Dean Myers (P)2013 Live Oak Media
"The sweeping scope of Myers's free verse poems is captured beautifully and interpreted dramatically on this CD by a diverse cast of narrators. This eminently patriotic book celebrates free expression and attempts to paint with word pictures the depth and breadth of the varied American experience...the chorus of voices, music, and sounds tell the unique story of America and its people in 33 breathless minutes. Truly inspirational." (School Library Journal)
"A chorus of voices welcomes listeners to Walter Dean Myers's and Christopher Myers's meditation on what it is to be American. Poems and quotes are delivered by a talented cast of narrators that reflect the diversity of the United States. Taken together, the words, thoughtful performances, snippets of music and sound effects, and illustrations form a moving and inspiring whole, painting an authentic and inclusive picture of a complex, ever-changing nation. This is an important audio program, and one that's ideal for hearing and reading together - as a family or in the classroom - and for inspiring discussion and sharing personal experiences. A foreword, read in the author's own deep voice, explains his impetus for writing We Are America ("No words here have been penned lightly, no flag waved mindlessly. This is simply my truest feelings for my country, my tribute to America."), and appendices at the end, also narrated, put the quotes in historical context and identify the people and events in Christopher Myers's evocative, mural-like illustrations." (AudioFile Magazine)
"The events of 9/11 left America reeling, with people reacting in horror, grief, anger, and despair. Myers turned to America's founding documents, and the result is this collection of 14 free-verse poems that pay tribute to America and its people. A dozen narrators, including Walter Dean Myers and illustrator Christopher Myers, along with Andrews, Jenny Alogna, Kelley Rose Alogna, Olivia DuFord, Dion Graham, Kim Meijer, Lizann Mitchell, Johanna Parker, Adriana Sananes, and Kaipo Schwab, perform the moving selections that go forward in time to show America's growth and changes. Listeners can follow along with the included hardcover book featuring Myers' colorful paintings in two-page spreads. Poems covering such topics as the discovery of America's "endless land" offer a sweeping overview of the country and provide an inspirational look at who Americans are and how they came to the New World. Some selections, such as an excerpt from the Declaration of Independence, are delivered in unison, while others find narrators reading alternate lines. All the deliveries are crisp, clear, and filled with heartfelt emotion. Stirring music and sound effects relating to the poetic descriptions of American life (animal, train, ship, and factory sounds, among others) heighten the realism. This poignant and powerful production concludes with readings of the book's supplementary materials. Perfect for both family listening and classroom use." (Pam Spencer Holley, Booklist)
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