Cover image for Brown honey in broomwheat tea
Brown honey in broomwheat tea
Thomas, Joyce Carol.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
[New York] : Spoken Arts, [1993]

Physical Description:
1 audiocassette (8 min.) : analog + 1 book (unpaged : color illustrations ; 22 cm).
A collection of poems exploring the theme of African-American identity.
General Note:
Book illustrated by Floyd Cooper.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.2 0.5 72437.

Reading Counts RC 3-5 4.5 2 Quiz: 01607.
Added Author:
Format :
Sound Cassette

Sound Recording


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3570.H565 B72 1993 BOOK Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3570.H565 B72 1993 TEXT Juvenile Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



An award-winning, beautiful picture book--poetry and art exploring issues of African American identity. A favorite book to share in schools and homes.

Included in's 2017 list of recommended diverse poetry picture books for kids, and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

"A must," according to Kirkus. "Delicately interwoven images. Laden with meaning, the poetry is significant and lovely. Cooper's paintings, with vibrant, unsentimentalized characters in earth tone illumined with gold, are warm, contemplative."

Booklist commented: "Poems rooted in home, family, and the African-American experience. Highly readable and attractive."

Added "Each poem has a unique message and theme and is accompanied by beautiful brown and gold earth-tone illustrations related to broomwheat tea."

Author Notes

Joyce Carol Thomas was born in Ponca City, Oklahoma in May 1938. She received a bachelor's degree in Spanish and a master's degree in education. She was a poet, playwright, and children's book author. Her first young-adult novel, Marked by Fire, was published in 1982 and won the National Book Award for children's fiction in 1983. Her other young adult novels include Bright Shadow and House of Light. Her illustrated poetry collections include The Blacker the Berry and Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea, both of which were honored by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards. In 1987, Marked by Fire was adapted into a gospel musical Abyssinia. She died from cirrhosis of the liver August 13, 2016 at the age of 78.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Ages 5-9. A dozen poems rooted in home, family, and the African American experience combine with a series of warm and evocative watercolors in this highly readable and attractive picture book. Thomas' easily accessible style uses simple images to communicate complicated emotions and issues, and Cooper's watercolors invite the viewer to participate in the family gatherings and ritual tea brewing that take place. The title poem is a jewel. Its opening lines draw you in: "My mother says I am / Brown honey in broomwheat tea / My father calls me the sweetwater / of his days." The tangible sense of place and family found throughout the book, in both the poetry and the illustrations, makes this a strong addition to school and public library collections. (Reviewed Sept. 15, 1993)0060210877Janice Del Negro

Publisher's Weekly Review

National Book Award winner Thomas ( Marked By Fire ) celebrates the beauty and heritage of African Americans in a lyrical collection of poems. Couched in language that is learned yet emotional, the verses focus on family life, love, freedom and dreams. Although some sentiments and topics seem too adult for the sensibility of Thomas's child narrators, many poems memorably describe particular individuals--Mama, who carries broomweed ``like a healing flower / Over and over the rising road / Branching / Like the divining lines / in her / harvest hands''; or Granny, who warns, ``Be careful what you ponder . . . / Over a cup of steaming leaves / for it will surely come to pass.'' Other poems more explicitly address African American problems, as when the narrator's parents warn that ``There are those who / Have brewed a / Bitter potion for / Children kissed long by the sun.'' Cooper's handsome paintings, essentially realistic but enveloped in a haze of light, help emphasize the warmth and love that imbue the book. All ages. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 6‘Ruby Dee's rich, melodious voice does justice to the poems of Joyce Carol Thomas in this performance of her collection (HarperCollins, 1993). As she reads, the camera focuses on Floyd Cooper's glowing paintings with their browns and bronzes caressing soft curves, as gentle, original background music blends into the rhythm of the spoken word. The poems flow into each other with only the titles separating them. Some bounce joyously through summer fields. Others creep questioningly through cold soul winters. Yet others rise like the steam from a hot cup of broomwheat tea, leaving a lingering sweet scent behind.--Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.