7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #483:
Featuring Jeffery Boston Weatherford

h1 May 15th, 2016 by jules

” … Of more than 400,000 pilots trained / by the CPTP, only 2,000 are black; / less than half of a percent. / Yet 2,000 dreams of flight / are finally off the ground.”


Today I’ve got a bit of art from Carole Boston Weatherford’s newest book, You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen, illustrated by Jeffery Boston Weatherford and released by Atheneum this month. This is a series of poems, aimed at middle-school readers, about the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II.

The poems are powerful, Weatherford bringing to life with vivid language the voices of these aviators, the first African-American military pilots of the war. She writes in a second-person voice—“You see the posters: Uncle Sam Wants You. / If only that meant in the cockpit.”—which brings the reader into the poems with an immediacy. It’s a very effective technique, as it gives space for the reader to imagine him or herself in the events Weatherford’s precise poetry conjures. The poems cover a wide range of tones, as Weatherford notes the pilots’ struggles, as well as their accomplishments. “[Weatherford’s] skill with language,” notes the Kirkus review, “provides clear voices for the trainees, and cultural specifics provide additional texture and deepen understanding of the young men.” The review closes: It’s a “masterful, inspiring evocation of an era.”

Weatherford’s writing here is also very accessible, inviting readers into the historical events of this time with an expert pacing. It reads so smoothly and quickly that you’ll find you’re done with the book in no time — and are ready to start again or at least share it with another reader. It makes a particularly great title for school and public libraries.

I’ve got some of the book’s scratchboard illustrations here today, created by Carole’s son, Jeffery. He studied art at Winston-Salem State University, as well as at Howard University.


(Title page illustration)


” … The sky’s no limit if you’ve flown / on your own power in countless dreams; /
not if you’ve raised homing pigeons / on Harlem rooftops; / or watched crop dusters / buzzing over rows of cotton; / not if you’ve gazed at stars /
and known God meant for you to soar.”


“Ain’t much to do in tiny Tuskegee, / And most night spots / in neighboring towns
don’t allow blacks. / You try not to go stir crazy. …”


“You are in the mess hall, / when the news hits you like a tank. / Japanese bombs rained / on Pearl Harbor’s Battleship Row, / pummeling vessels in port …”


” … At the ceremony, / your mother wears / her Sunday best and pins / hard-earned silver wings / on your dress uniform. / You have never stood so tall /
or seen her smile as long. / Second lieutenant.”


YOU CAN FLY: THE TUSKEGEE AIRMEN. Copyright © 2016 by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrations © 2016 by Jeffery Boston Weatherford. Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, New York. Illustrations used by permission of Jeffery Boston Weatherford.


Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) The girls and I are reading Lauren Wolk’s Wolf Hollow, and thus far, it’s remarkably good.

2) Getting all sorts of exciting F&Gs this week, picture books that will be released in the Fall.

3) Picking up a ginormous stack of framed art and prints from my framer. Can’t hang them till we move (the goal is to FINALLY move this summer), but at least I have them.

4) I really love being with my daughters. (That’s a given every week, but it’s still one of my kicks this week.)

5) I listened to this CD multiple times this week. I like a lot of things about it — but especially the storytelling.

6) Last week, my family and I heard Kate DiCamillo speak at Nashville Public Library. She was very entertaining.

7) Knoxville’s 2016 Children’s Festival Reading is nigh. Check out the great line-up! I’ll be there soon.

What are YOUR kicks this week?

10 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #483:
Featuring Jeffery Boston Weatherford”

  1. The scratchboard art is stunning! Can’t wait to get my hands on this one.

  2. So glad you featured this book today.I am looking forward to putting it in the collection. Love the art.
    Jules, Wolf Hollow is on my TBR list.
    Rebekah, I agree with you.
    My kicks:
    1. Finished listening to Some Kind of Courage. Terrific story set in WA.
    2. Finished Go Set a Watchman. It’s our book club choice for this month. We read To Kill a Mockingbird last month. So glad to have read these.
    3. Submitted three poems to VoiceCatcher, a NW journal.
    4. Seeing the play, Honk!, with grandgirl.
    5. The ripple effects of poetry.
    6. Sunshine.
    7. Scouter’s Mountain Nature Trail.
    Have a great week.

  3. Fly by on the way to something! HI EVERYONE! I will post kicks later! 🙂

  4. Hi Rebekah. Hope you enjoy it!

    Jone: I still want to read Watchman. Good luck with your poem submissions! THANK YOU again for my poetry postcard!

    Hi, LW!

  5. And thanks to the student who wrote the poem, too, Jone.

  6. Hi Imps! Hello weekend! Where did you go?

    My kicks:
    1) Filming
    2) Meeting
    3) Laughing
    4) Planning
    5) Pursuing
    6) Preparing
    7) Solidifying

  7. LW, it was definitely too short. Sounds like it was a good week for you, though, which I’m always happy to hear.

  8. Oh wow, love the artwork, especially the title page and the little boy dreaming/looking up at the clouds. What a powerful looking book.

    Jules – Wolf Hollow looks good, hooray for framed artwork, and enjoying time with your girls is such a lovely kick.

    Jone – Good luck on the poetry submissions! How was Go Set A Watchman?

    LW – Hooray for filming! I also love laughing and preparing.

    My late kicks this week:
    1) My poetry postcard! I forgot to mention it last week, but its on my fridge & I love it!
    2) Busy, tough, but rewarding work week.
    3) Reading all the think pieces on The Good Wife’s finale, including 1 Jone shared with me. Its nice when tv can be thought-provoking & discussion provoking, especially with a range of differing opinions.
    4) My garden is coming along, I think I may even get raspberries this summer.
    5) HH at The Woodsman Tavern on Friday. Oysters, yum!
    6) Daisy making new friends on our walks.
    7) Win-win bets.

    Have a wonderful week everyone!

  9. In my to-read pile right now 🙂

  10. Rachel: Raspberries rule. And, one day, I gotta watch The Good Wife already. I’ve had friends recommend it. … Glad you had a good week!

    Maria: Hope you enjoy it.

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