Thursday, July 19, 2018

In Daddy’s Arms I Am Tall (Javaka Steptoe)

Author:  Multiple

Illustrator:  Javaka Steptoe

Target Ages:  3-10

Genre:  Poetry Anthology

Publisher Summary: In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall is a tribute to the influence that Black fathers have on their sons, daughters, and grandchildren.  In this intergenerational collection of poetry by new and established African American writers—who range in age from their 20’s to their 50’s—fatherhood is celebrated with honor, humor, and grace.

Poem Selection:
in daddy’s arms i am tall
& close to the sun and warm
in daddy’s arms

in daddy’s arms
i can see over the fence out back
i can touch the bottom leaves of the big magnolia tree
in Cousin Sukie’s yard
in daddy’s arms 

in daddy’s arms the moon is close
closer at night time when i can almost touch it
when it grins back at me from the wide twinkling skies

in daddy’s arms i am tall
taller than Benny & my friends Ade  & George
taller than Uncle Bill
& best of all
i am eye-ball-even-steven with my big brother Jamal

in daddy’s arms
i am strong & dark like him & laughing
happier than the circus clowns
with red painted grins
when daddy spins me round and round
& the whole world is crazy upside down
I am big and strong & proud like him
in daddy’s arms
my daddy

              --Folami Abiade

I was drawn to this collection because it is a celebration of men as husbands, fathers, providers, and workers.  These roles are so vital and precious to children and to our communities. 

The poems are from diverse perspectives, such as a youngster needing assurance he is still loved after disobeying, a daughter remembering her father’s strong and loving hands, and an adult child reminiscing about his father’s drawing with him.

Men are depicted as leaders—strong, compassionate, present, active.  Others, like a grandfather acting as father, step up when they are needed.  

Javaka Steptoe’s mix media illustrations are bold and stirring.

In Daddy’s Arms I am Tall: African Americans Celebrating Fathers is an all-around beautiful poetry collection for children (and adults)

Ideas for Extension Activities at Home or Lesson Plans for Teachers:
Visit My Juicy Little Universe for Poetry Friday.


  1. I love the poem you've chosen to share from this collection. makes me want to read more of it, and see more of the sumptuous illustrations.

  2. This looks like a wonderful book!


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