Laban Carrick Hill

Dave the Potter: Artist Poet Slave

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New York Times Bestseller
2011 Caldecott Honor
2011 Coretta Scott King Gold Award for Illustrations
New York Public Library's Top 50 Children's Books of All Time
Chicago Public Library's 2010 Best of the Best List
New York Public Library's 2010 Best 100 Books of the Year
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People 2011
2010 Junior Library Guild Selection
Arkansas Diamond Primary Award Reading List
Georgia Children’s Storybook Award 2012-13
NCCBA NC 2012
Louisiana Young Readers Choice 2013
Black-Eyed Susan Award (MD) 2010
Diamond Primary Book Award (AK) 2010
Picture Storybook (GA) 2012
Goldfinch Award (IA) 2012
Prairie Bud Award (SD) 2012
Page Ahead’s 2011 Best Books for Kids Award

“An inspiring story, perfectly presented....Outstanding in every way.” School Library Journal, Starred Review


To us
it is just dirt,
the ground we walk on...

But to Dave
it was clay,
the plain and basic stuff
upon which he formed a life
as a slave nearly 200 years ago.


Dave was an extraordinary artist, poet, and potter who lived in South Carolina in the 1800s. He combined his superb artistry with deeply observant poetry, carved onto his pots, transcending the limitations he faced as a slave. In this inspiring and lyrical portrayal, National Book Award Finalist Laban Carrick Hill and award-winning artist Bryan Collier tell Dave's remarkable story, one rich in history, hope, and long-lasting beauty.

Dave's words:

I, made this Jar, all of across
If, you dont repent, you will be, lost==

Selected Works

1. Nonfiction
"Completely awesome"--Time "Hill tells the story of the birth of hip-hop with his own catchy rhythm, and Taylor’s illustrations bring out the enthusiasm and sense of community at the heart of this trend-setting sound."--New York Times Book Review
"Phenomenal."–Howard Zinn "Excellent."–New York Times Book Review
Harlem Stomp! is a wonderous new book: it celebrates a time, a place, an energy, and a people who refused to be held back and so they created a culture the entire world is still reeling from.”
--George C. Wolfe, writer, director, and producer of the Public Theater, NYC
3. Poetry
A picturebook poem describing the life of the slave potter Dave. Illustrated by Bryan Collier.
“Contemporary Poetry of New England offers a vivid portrait of a region, its colors and smells, its physical and emotional textures, and the people…. It presents a range of poets, few of whom would call themselves a “region poet,” although each has taken to heart in a private way Frost’s haunting dictum: ‘Locality gives art.’”
--from the Introduction
2. Fiction
A seventeen-year-old is plucked out of the Grande Armee to sit in place of Napoleon for a portrait of the Emperor by the artist David.
"I felt like a kid reading every word on the page! I liked the strains of "magic realism" coming through in Frida's house! Children will relate to this very much! The story is charming and reads like a thriller." –Margarita Aguilar, Assisant Curator, El Museo del Barrio
4. Middle Grade Series
These kids love extreme sports--snowboarding, skateboarding, rock climbing, wake boarding--and are ready to fight when the right to do their sport is threatened.