Synopses & Reviews
Based on a true story from Archbishop Desmond Tutus childhood in South Africa, Desmond and the Very Mean Word reveals the power of words and the secret of forgiveness.
When Desmond takes his new bicycle out for a ride through his neighborhood, his pride and joy turn to hurt and anger when a group of boys shout a very mean word at him. He first responds by shouting an insult, but soon discovers that fighting back with mean words doesnt make him feel any better. With the help of kindly Father Trevor, Desmond comes to understand his conflicted feelings and see that all people deserve compassion, whether or not they say they are sorry. Brought to vivid life in A. G. Fords energetic illustrations, this heartfelt, relatable story conveys timeless wisdom about how to handle bullying and angry feelings, while seeing the good in everyone.
"When a group of white boys hurl racial epithets at young Desmond, he turns to his mentor, Father Trevor. But the priest's advice forgiveness instead of retribution isn't what Desmond wants to hear. 'Let me tell you a secret, Desmond,' Father Trevor advises him. 'When you forgive someone, you free yourself from what they have said or done. It's like magic.' This morality tale from Archbishop Tutu and Abrams, who previously collaborated on God's Dream, does indeed end with forgiveness and a quiet reconciliation between Desmond and one of his tormentors. However, no historical context is provided within the framework of the story (a brief intro alludes to apartheid); without more clues as to what life was like in a society that institutionalized racism, readers may be puzzled why Father Trevor doesn't assert his moral authority on behalf of Desmond. Yes, forgiveness is important, but what about justice? Ford's oil illustrations do a fine job of capturing the dusty days of township life, as well as Desmond's dark nights of the soul. Ages 6 10. Agent: Lynn Franklin, Lynn Franklin Associates. Illustrator's agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his lifelong struggle to bring equality, justice, and peace to his native South Africa. He continues to play an important role as a spokesperson worldwide. The co-author of God’s Dream
, Archbishop Tutu lives in South Africa.
Douglas Carlton Abrams is the co-author with Archbishop Tutu of God’s Dream. His many books have been translated into more than two dozen languages. He lives inCalifornia.
A. G. Ford is the illustrator of the New York Times bestseller Barack by Jonah Winter and Michelle by Deborah Hopkinson. He also illustrated Goal! by Mina Javaherbin. He lives in Dallas, Texas.