From Angeli Rasbury, the Bed-Stuy author that brought us “My Grandfather Had One Coat,” now comes her latest book of prose and poetry written by children, entitled, “I Am.”
“I Am” is a collection of writing by ten aspiring young scribes from Brooklyn, ages 8-14, who have been working alongside Rasbury over the past year towards expressing themselves while honing their writing skills.
Rasbury, a former criminal defense lawyer, works as a volunteer workshop coordinator, teaching poetry to children at libraries, schools and also out her home.
“They talk about everything, from historical figures like Harriet Tubman, to Harlem, slavery, nature and spirituality,” Rasbury said. “Although it’s children’s poetry, the book is for all ages, because it celebrates young people sharing their creativity. Everybody will be inspired.”
Rasbury also is a visual artist, so she tried something a little different for the development of her latest book: She shared with her young writers a handful of her paintings and photos, and asked them to write about what they saw and felt in each photo.
“I Am” is the result of these mini marriages of Rasbury’s art and the children’s prose, in which the reader is able to see through a child’s eyes how they interpret what is in front of them.
“Giving tools to young black writers is critical, because there are few opportunities for black writers to get published,” said Rasbury, who pointed out that less than five percent of books published are written by or about African-Americans. “So I felt that it would be important to give the writers an opportunity to develop their writing skills, while also empower them by publishing their work.”
“I Am” is self-funded and self-published on Revolution Begins with Me Press. The book is $10. For a copy of “I Am,” contact Angeli Rasbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Excerpt from "I Am"
In The Night They Came
by Ardelle Stowe, 12, P.S. 202, East New York
In the dead of night they came came
and asked for clothes and food
and to spend the night.
I don't know the people,
but I sure do know
It is Harriet Tubman
standing before me in flesh and blood.
She's all everybody’s been talking about.
She says I could join her
if I want
Like anybody else who looked up to her
I am like any other slave.
I want to be free
so I join her.
We sleep all day and
travel by night.
It takes forever but finally
Harriet says we left the
boundaries of the south.
We give a silent
cheer and continue our journey.
Most people lose track of time
simply because they just
stop counting the sunrises.
But I know it took
many frightful nights to reach
I’m ready to begin my
new life as a