An exquisitely rendered depiction of life in a Black community, Dream Street is a joy to read. Written by Tricia Elam Walker with collages by Ekua Holmes, Dream Street introduces readers to the unique and dynamic individuals who make up this community. The book is based on the neighborhood in which Walker and Holmes grew up and the vibrancy of the writing and illustrations make readers feel like a part of the story.
Holmes’ use of found and created papers, fabric, and acrylic paint, contribute so much to this book. Each page of text is paired with a full page illustration. One of my favorites is of Mr. Sidney, sitting on the stoop reading his newspaper dressed “to the nines.” In the image, Mr. Sidney is holding an actual newspaper, and newspaper is also used under acrylic paint for the sidewalk and Mr. Sidney’s body, giving readers the sense that Mr. Sidney is a fountain of knowledge.
Few could match the depth of Holmes’ illustrations, but Walker’s writing meets the challenge. In just a paragraph of text on each page, Walker shows us the passion and dedication of the people she describes. Through her words, we are introduced to the characters’ dreams for themselves and for each other.
I cannot sufficiently express the magic that is Dream Street. It is a book that must be seen to be fully appreciated. It is one that I know many children and adults will treasure.
Learning for Justice Social Justice Standards:
Identity 4: I can feel good about myself without being mean or making other people feel bad.
Identity 5: I see that the way my family and I do things is both the same as and different from how other people do things, and I am interested in both.
Diversity 8: I want to know about other people and how our lives and experiences are the same and different.