Gwendolyn Brooks published Bronzeville Boys and Girls in 1956.
Best known for poems such as "The Mother," "The Bean Eaters," and "We Real Cool," Gwendolyn Brooks published Bronzeville Boys and Girls in 1956. Brooks dedicated the collection of 34 poems to her two children, Henry and Nora, who grew up in the same neighborhood on Chicago's South Side as the children in the book. A new edition of Bronzeville Boys and Girls features illustrations by Faith Ringgold.
Bronzeville Boys and Girls is a collection of poems that celebrates the joy and imagination of a community of children. Obtain a copy of the book and share several poems and illustrations with your students. Point out that some of the poems focus on a single child ("Narcissa," "DeKoven"); some on pairs of children ("Timmy and Tawanda"); and still others on children in specific situations ("Rudolph is Tired of the City," "Mirthine at the Party").
After students have read and discussed several poems from the collection, ask them to create a poetry anthology for their own family, neighborhood, or classroom. Students can use the Stapleless Book to create a collection themselves, or they can each contribute one poem to a class collection. Be sure to have students include illustrations to accompany the poems they compose.
This Academy of American Poets biography of Brooks includes links to five of her poems and an audio file of Brooks reading her famous "We Real Cool."
This site is a collection of web resources related to Brooks, who was the 29th Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. Resources include links to interviews, audio files, criticism, and lesson plans.
On her official site you can find more work by and information about Faith Ringgold, the illustrator of the new edition of Bronzeville Boys and Girls.