I felt that Harlem: a poem is a wonderful poem that celebrates the people and places of the city. However, I thought it was more of a middle school to adult poem. I found that there were lots of names and places in the poem that I had to Google while reading. I wish I had found the link to the Scholastic site that had background information for numerous lines in the poem.
The illustrations in this story are done by Walter Dean Myers son, Christopher Myers. They are created from torn paper and add a vibrant energy to to the poem. They reflect that even people in one race come in many different colors and shapes. Myers' art work does a beautiful job representing the people of Harlem.
I enjoyed reading this poem and I found it moving and powerful. However, when I read it to my second graders, they completely didn't understand it. Many of them had never heard of Harlem or of the many artists that had once lived there. It was a little sad, but I still think it is a wonderful poem.