He's Got the Whole World in His Hands
NYPL's 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing
What began as a spiritual has developed into one of America’s best-known songs, and now for the first time it appears as a picture book, masterfully created by award-winning artist Kadir Nelson.Through sublime landscapes and warm images of a boy and his family, Kadir has created a dazzling, intimate interpretation, one that rejoices in the connectedness of people and nature.
Inspired by the song’s simple message, Kadir sought to capture the joy of living in and engaging with the world. Most importantly, he wished to portray the world as a child might see it—vast and beautiful.
-Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Nelson’s vibrant signature illustrations rendered in pencil, oil, and watercolor breathe new meaning and life into this favorite Sunday school spiritual in which families, communities, and forces of nature are celebrated with lively images and inspiring scenes. The cover painting of an African-American boy against a colorful landscape beckons readers inside to discover the wonders of creation. With each page turn and line of verse, Nelson gives fresh, thought-provoking interpretations to the lyrics that will stir the imagination and spark discussion. For example, “He’s got my brothers and my sisters in His hands” depicts the boy, present throughout the book, holding a childlike drawing of people of different races and skin tones, suggesting the notion that all humanity should be viewed as “brothers and sisters.” The simple, repetitious flow of the words and the refrain make this an excellent read-aloud choice as well as a sing-along favorite. A moving, artistic celebration of our world and the people who share in its splendors."
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