Synopses & Reviews
A 2012 Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
This gorgeous picture book by Newbery Honor winner Patricia C. McKissack and two-time Caldecott Medal-winning husband-and-wife team Leo and Diane Dillon is sure to become a treasured keepsake for African American families. Set in West Africa, this a lyrical story-in-verse is about a young black boy who is kidnapped and sold into slavery, and his father who is left behind to mourn the loss of his son. Here's a beautiful, powerful, truly unforgettable story about family, memory, and freedom.
"Forceful and iconic," raves Publishers Weekly in a starred review.
"McKissack's (The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll) story about a Malian boy abducted and sold into slavery has frightening moments, but carries dignity and even triumph away from them. Forceful and iconic, the Dillons' (The Secret River) woodcut-style paintings use gentle colors and strong lines to telegraph scary sequences, but do not dwell on them. McKissack's free verse incorporates a Greek chorus of the elements Earth, Fire, Water, and Wind, who watch over the infant Musafa and assist his father, Dinga, in his blacksmith's work, but cannot save Musafa after he is brought to the New World. He surfaces in South Carolina, a gifted blacksmith like his father, and Wind, which has made itself into a hurricane to cross the ocean, is at last able to bring word to Dinga of his beloved son: 'Though a slave, he lives!' Readers learn Musafa's owner may free him, but 'In my mind,' Wind hears Musafa say, 'I have always been free,/ As free as Wind.' The willingness to turn the dark history of the past into literature takes not just talent but courage. McKissack has both. All ages. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
PATRICIA MCKISSACK is one of the
most acclaimed authors writing for children today. She has written many award-winning books, including Never Forgotten
, a Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book; Porch Lies
, an ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book; The Dark Thirty,
a Newbery Honor Book; Let My People Go
, recipient of the NAACP Image Award; and Mirandy and Brother Wind
, a Caldecott Honor Book. Her other books include The All-I'll-Ever-Want Christmas Doll, Goin' Someplace Special
, and Precious and the Boo Hag
. Patricia and her husband, Frederick McKissack, are the recipients of the Coretta Scott King–Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement.
LEO and DIANE DILLON have illustrated over 60 books for children and have received just about every honor and award imaginable. They are the winners of two Caldecott Medals (Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears and Ashanti to Zulu), five New York Times Best Illustrated Awards (including one for the Knopf book, The People Could Fly), and numerous Coretta Scott King Awards.