written by 
Joyce Carol Thomas, illustrated by Floyd Cooper

HarperCollins, 1998
ISBN 0-0602-5378-9

HarperTrophy, 2000
ISBN 0-0644-3617-9

Order from Amazon.com

Order from B&N.com

"I have heard of a land
Where the imagination has no fences
Where what is dreamed one night
Is accomplished the next day."

In the late 1880s, signs went up all around Americaland was free in the Oklahoma territory. And it was free to everyone: Whites, Blacks, men and women alike.... Drawing upon her own family history, National Book Award winner Joyce Carol Thomas has crafted an unforgettable anthem to these brave and determined people from America's past. Richly illustrated by Coretta Scott King Award honoree Floyd Cooper, I Have Heard of a Land is a glorious tribute to the Afrian-American pioneer spirit.

"I have heard of a land
Where a pioneer only has to lift up her feet
To cast her eyes on the rocks
The fertile earth, the laughing creek
Lift up her feet running for the land
As though running for her life
And in the running claim it
The stake is life and the work that goes into it."

Publishers Weekly:

Inspired by her own family's history, Thomas's stirring picture book explores the little-known experiences of African American pioneers who settled in Oklahoma during the late 1800s.... Cooper (Brown Honey in Broomwheat Tea, Gingerbread Days), an Oklahoma native, completes the mood with his signature grainy, dreamy oil-wash portraits.... The book stands alone as a pleasant slice of historical fiction, but will also hold much appeal for teachers and students.


Thomas' mastery with words evokes both the feelings as well as the practicalities that came with the hard journey West. This is a place where a woman can sleep in a sod hut, dreaming of the three-room log cabin she will someday build. Where she plants her crops and all she eats comes from her labor.... The evocative artwork by Floyd Cooper shows both how important and how small one person can seem in the vastness of the prairie.

1999 Teachers Choice Award, International Reading Association

1999 ALA Notable Book Award for Author and Illustrator

1999 Notable Children's Trade Book in Social Studies
Award for Author and Illustrator

1999 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book Award

Sequoyah Children's Book Award Masterlist

Back to Books for Children

Copyright 2004-2007 Joyce Carol Thomas. All rights reserved.
If you would like permission to use any of the text or images on this website, please contact the author.