Read Around Ohio: The People Could Fly: The Picture Book

Virginia Hamilton


The People Could Fly: The Picture Book (2004) illustrates the title story from Virginia Hamilton’s collection The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales (1985).

The People Could Fly tells the story of how some people in Africa knew magic and were able to fly with black wings. They were unable to take their wings with them on the slave ships to America.

Suffering as slaves on a plantation, the people are reminded of their ability to fly and so fly away: “They went so high. Way above the plantation, way over the slavery land. Say they flew away to Free-dom.”

Hamilton wrote dozens of books for children and young adults. She received a National Book Award, a Newbury Medal, and MacArthur Fellowship, the first author of children’s books to do so.

The Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award is awarded annually by the American Library Association as part of the Coretta Scott King Awards.

Hamilton died in 2002.

If you enjoyed The People Could Fly: The Picture Book, we suggest these Ohio side trips: